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5 Strategic Etiquette in Online Environment & Connection

                                                                 -Nimai Majumdar

Wondering, how it becomes strategic? Does etiquette really matters in online?


Yes. Maintaining etiquette is important in any professional, social or formal situation. It is even more important in any online environment. Many times, we approach people or group online without knowing them in person or in real.


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However, while building an effective online network, following etiquette is critical. Below are 5 key etiquette that can help in maintaining a productive network. All these are applicable for both sides of connections i.e. host (invite sender) and guest (invitee).

1. Sense of purpose

2. Exploring common threads

3. Presenting the true self

4. Connecting back the connection and

5. Thinking rationally & not emotionally


Sense of purpose: When we click on 'Connect' button on LinkedIn (LI), a text box appears with default message, “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”


How many times do we customize that message before clicking the 'send invitation' button? Does that message really inspire or trigger the invitee to accept the invite instantly, especially if the host is unknown (or not so closely known) and not having an impressive profile header?  Do we accept a Facebook friend request instantly, from a stranger?


However, scenario changes a lot, when we put a concise message with a clear sense of purpose. It helps the invitee to accept the invite quickly.


Recently I sent an invite to the CEO of a tier one IT MNC, whom I never met or spoke. I sent a personalized message, expressing my interest to gain more from him & his network. Also I appreciated his blog that inspired me. Invite got accepted in 3 calendar days. Similarly, if someone sends an invite to the chief coach of an organization, the message has to include that the person loves coaching & wants to benefit more from him.


Context and purpose differs for each introduction, depending on person-priority-and-place of connect. This is true for any social media channel, especially for LinkedIn. In the context of blogging, a reader will get more attracted towards a blog, if the purpose of the blog is articulated well in the beginning with a meaningful title. Apply this strategy & it works like a magic.


Exploring common threads: Immediate question comes, how to customize and personalize message for each invite? Process is easy, but one needs to invest a little time in understanding and studying the profile of potential connect first, before the invite is sent.


In most cases, there will be one or more number of common threads between the sender and invitee. May be, both have studied in an institute (may not be same batch or class) located at same native place or they share a common area of interest (say artificial intelligence or mural art) or their children studied in the same school (more contextual for FB).


Common threads generates a sense of eagerness to get connected & taking the relationship forward.


Presenting the true self: Presenting oneself authentically in an online environment is very critical. Profile of a person represents his image & identity in an online environment. A fancy position and inflated profile may attract a stranger quickly. But, oversell may sound false when the truth is out. Integrity gets challenged to the new acquaintance. Undersell also not a workable option. People should not be allowed to under estimate your worth because of a low profile presentation.


Connecting back the connection: Many online invites never gets accepted, without assigning a reason for deletion or rejection. If the invite from a stranger looks strange, why not to ask him the reason for his invite? Why to judge someone's intent, based on only assumption & unknown reason? Connection to a new person can bring a great opportunity.


I make it a point to refresh new invites and make sure to ask unknown senders the purpose of invite, before I move it to trash. Many times we never correspond or speak further to an online connection, after we get connected. Know your connection better. Go through their blogs. Seek advice from them and also support others to grow.


Contacting and talking to the new connection, opens channel for information flow and additional network. Taking the connection gradually, from an online introduction to a face to face meeting is not only rewarding, but generates awesome results & returns.  


Think rationally & not emotionally: Be logical in thought andrational in action, instead of being emotional.

(i) Don't get upset, because one of your old friends or old colleagues has never responded your invite for connection.

(ii) Don't blame or curse that high profile executive, who has ignored your invite, despite he knows you personally.

(iii) Don't delete an invite, just because it has come from an opposite gender and your spouse can doubt. 


Before concluding on anything, always check through alternate medium of communication. (i) It is possible that because of busy schedule, he has not seen your message at all. He might not checked in LI for a long time. (ii) What's wrong in following up repeatedly with the high profile executive, if connecting to him really matters to you? Each one us surrounded with our own limitations and difficulties in personal,social and-organizational contexts. (iii) The unknown person may need some advice for his/her children's career or may want to get support for an NGO she runs...there can be multiple scenarios.


I am sure many people follow these. Let me hear back your experience & tips, how you maintain online network productively.