Every day, you hear “build relationships“. It’s intimidating isn’t?
That phrase suggests that you have to build something. The only thing I’ve ever built is this Blog, and even that was hard.
I prefer to say, “develop a rapport“.
The difference between “developing a rapport” and “building a relationship” is that the former is much more attainable than the later. Furthermore, “rapport” can be all you need to get that job.
What kind of relationship can you build over a few comments and instant messaging on LinkedIn anyway?
Lose the generic introductions.
“Hi, Mr. XXXXX, my name is XXXXX, and I’m earning a degree in XXXXX, and in line to graduate in 20XX. I would like to connect and network with you.”
First of all, you’re calling him “Mr”. That could be annoying.
Secondly, they don’t care what your degree is or when you’re graduating. They never asked you for any of that information.
Thirdly, your name is at the top of the message anyhow. Plus your degree and graduation date is just one click away on your profile. It’s all redundant information.
Lastly, you don’t have to tell them that you want to network. It’s not a declaration or marriage proposal that needs explicit permission.
I get those all the time, and I’m left unimpressed every single time.
Start building a rapport.
Instead of asking to network, you should actually start networking. You don’t need anyone’s explicit permission for that.
DO NOT SEND A DIRECT MESSAGE…yet.
Start in the comment section of your targets post. Comments are more effective than likes. Because if this person gets a lot of likes, you might not get noticed. In the comment section, you can stand out if you make the right comments.
Engage them there. Respond to a post. Have a back and forth with them.
Or, if they are not engaging much, still comment and or like the posts. If this person takes the time to write and or share something on LinkedIn, best believe that they appreciate the likes and comments.
Your name will pop up in their notifications so much, they’ll know of you.
The direct message.
Now that this person knows or can recognize your name, it’s time for the direct message.
If you’ve had previous encounters with them in the comment section, there’ll be no need to add the “Mr or Ms.” because you’re already cordial with this person. This gives you a higher level of familiarity, and thus leaves for a more receptive response.
Get in there and just be cool.
Tell them how you feel about something they wrote or shared. You could even comment on their company, job title, or something in the news about their industry.
Strick up a genuine but casual conversation.
Now continue liking & commenting outside Direct-Message.
The average person will ultimately ask you about yourself. That’s when you talk about what you’re currently doing and what you hope to achieve.
…and if they are in a position to help, it will become apparent.
I had someone on LinkedIn do exactly what I just described above. She got “rapport” down to a science. Ultimately, she told me she was looking for an internship in an area outside of my expertise, and I told her that I didn’t know anyone in that field. She continued to engage – like, comment and the occasional hello.
Then at an event, just a month later, I meet someone who tells me they are looking for an intern in her field, and I immediately think of her.
Thanks to our brief but meaningful encounters, I knew her name and could vouch for her attitude. I ultimately put her in touch with this new acquaintance.
She got that internship – a much better opportunity than she envisaged.
Why? Because she built a rapport with me and didn’t give me the middle finger (like 95% of the people that message me) when I couldn’t help her immediately.
Take the time to build a rapport, but take your time in building it. – Darryl Ucheya