Recently someone asked me to connect on LinkedIn. After we connected, I got the following email:
From: [name] via LinkedIn.
Subj: Thanks for the connection, let's have coffee!
I am reaching out to you to say hello and learn more about you.
I have looked at your profile and would like to know more about you and your professional background.
I do a lot of networking and referring business. Are you open to a phone call or cup of coffee?
It may seem fairly innocuous. It's not how I would connect with someone but that's another story.
First off, no "Dear Maggie," so right there I know it's a form email.
From his statement: "I would like to know more about you and your professional background", he's assuming I don't know him.
However we already met at a networking meeting about two years ago. And not just a one-off casual meeting. It was a weekly meeting that we both attended regularly for at least a year.
In fact, we had talked at length over a period of weeks of the possibility of my helping him with some marketing for his business. In the end that did not pan out, but we had many conversations about it.
Am I (and my business) so un-memorable!!
The least he could have done was to check out my website and find a more personal way to connect. My site is listed right there on LinkedIn.
What went through my head when I realized what happened, was that I was simply another name to him, one of a crowd that he was sending out a standard email to without any attempt to connect in any way.
And the statement: "I do a lot of networking and referring business" to me is a subtle way to say: "If we meet I can refer business to you." We went to the same networking meeting weekly for about a year, and he never gave me one referral.
The whole message came across as distant and self-serving.
You never know when people will cycle back into your life. And what they will remember about you.
It's probably a good idea to check your records before you suggest concrete steps to someone. You never know where they may have popped up in your life previously. You can't remember everyone, but you can keep records that'll prevent the kind of action above that makes you look like an opportunist rather than someone interested in building a relationship.
Copyright 2016 Maggie Dennison