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LinkedIn’s Ambitious Introduction Feature and Six Degrees of Separation

LI Doublel IntroductionA few weeks ago I sounded a false alarm over the demise of LinkedIn’s Connection Strength feature.  It turns out that LinkedIn simply moved this valuable relationship-ranking feature from the obvious “How You’re Connected” section to the less intuitive hidden drop-down arrow on the main profile section.

Recently, introduction requests from two of my Level 1 Connections prompted further investigation into the Introductions feature.  I was surprised by the requests because I did not recognize the name of the target. After looking up the target’s LinkedIn profile, I discovered that I was being asked to introduce my Level 1 requestor to someone in my Level 2 (their Level 3).

Despite the popular “six degrees of separation” concept, I don’t think this is an effective social networking practice.  It’s success centers on someone introducing a stranger to one of their Level 1 connections. Who is going to risk their relationship with someone they know by introducing a stranger? Here is what I wrote one of the requestors:

I applaud you for using LinkedIn to get introductions. It is one of the best ways to initiate a dialog with someone. However, I cannot help in this situation because __________ is a Level 2 Connection to me. I do not know him. He is connected to someone that I am connected to (my Level 1) but connecting you would require a double-introduction. I’ve tried it a few times and it has never worked because it requires someone referring someone else that they do not know. It is too much a risk for most people.

Here are some other options for reaching _________:

1. Try someone else who might be a shared Connection between you and ____________. (single-level introduction).

2. If you have a Premium account, you can message him directly via InMails.

3. If you are in a LinkedIn group he is also in, you can direct message him unless he has disabled that feature (which most people don’t even know about).

Otherwise, I’d be glad to help where I can.  Review my Level 1 connections. I would be happy to give you an intro to any of these. 


You can try it yourself by going to the profile of a Level 3 Connection and selecting the “Get Introduced” hyperlink from the drop-down arrow. You see all the people (L1) who could introduce you to people (L2) who could introduce you to your target.

What do you think?

Is a double -introduction crazy or has it worked for you?

By Kurt Shaver

Kurt Shaver is a co-founder and Chief Sales Officer of Vengreso. Kurt is an expert at getting sales teams to adopt new sales tools and techniques. Through a successful career in technology sales, Kurt learned what it takes to reach B2B decision makers. As a VP of Sales for a global software company, Kurt was the executive sponsor of a rollout. That’s how he learned what it takes to get salespeople to adopt new tools and techniques. That knowledge led to him launch his own Salesforce consulting business in 2008. When LinkedIn went public in 2011, Kurt recognized that LinkedIn would be the next great sales technology and that it would require expert training. He pivoted his business and now has over 10,000 hours of experience training corporate sales teams like CenturyLink, Ericsson, and TelePacific Communications. Kurt is the creator of the Social Selling Boot Camp and is a member of the National Speakers Association. He frequently speaks at corporate sales meetings and conferences like Dreamforce, Sales 2.0, and LinkedIn’s Sales Connect.

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