Dale Carnegie and Modern Social Networking
Social Media is often touted as the new way of doing business and while many of the tools like LinkedIn and Facebook are new, they are built on fundamental principles of human communication and relationships. No one captured those fundamentals better than Dale Carnegie in his 1936 book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Despite being written 76 years ago, this book about interpersonal skills is still popular today.
One section is called “Six Ways to Make People Like You”. Here are the six principles and how they apply to business networking with LinkedIn:
Become Genuinely Interested in Other People.
This is primarily an internal or attitudinal perspective. It is reflected in how you approach LinkedIn. Do you see it as a way to increase your network and your value to others or do you view it only as a database to hunt for prospects?
This visual cue of openness is best displayed via your LinkedIn photo. Your photo is popping up in more places on LI these days so make a good impression with a business-appropriate headshot. Your face should fill the frame so you are recognizable in that tiny image… and don’t forget to show some teeth.
Remember That A Person’s Name Is To That Person The Sweetest And Most Important Sound In Any Language.
Remember this when you are writing an Invitation, Introduction, Recommendation, InMail, or any other direct message in LinkedIn. Got it, Sally?Be A Good Listener. Encourage Others To Talk About Themselves. In the case of LinkedIn, it is more a case of “be a good Reader”. Scroll down to read everything in a person’s profile – Recommendations, Interests, Groups,… Ask them about an interesting tidbit you read. Don’t feel you are being intrusive. They posted it on the World Wide Web, after all.
Talk In Terms Of The Other Person’s Interest.
Finding out another person’s interest is easier to do in the age where people publicly post volumes of personal information about themselves. You can also search for their company and see if the company has posted any information. The final step is to incorporate the knowledge into your conversations. It is the digital equivalent of the rapport-building comment about the fish mounted on the prospect’s office wall.
Make The Other Person Feel Important – And Do It Sincerely.
This circles back to Principle No. 1 and the words “genuine interest”. Everyone values different things in life (family, career, religion, health, hobbies, relationships, service,…). One area to practice this is the LinkedIn Invitation. Here is an example of replacing the default, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” with something more customized like, “Hi Jerry, it was good to meet you at the conference. I see that you are a former President of the local chapter. I’d like to find out more about your work with the association. Let’s connect on LinkedIn.”
Keep these fundamental principles in mind as you Win Friends and Influence People in your 21st century business network.