Timing Is Everything
Give a compliment, ask a question, ask for a favor, ask for advice, or ask for an introduction soon after you’ve had a basic interaction with one of your first-, second- or third-degree connections. Conversations can lead to phone calls, ongoing dialogue and potentially even in-person meetings!
Visit an event RSVP page, determine who’s attending and reach out to one or two of those individuals. You can either send a message (if you have a first-degree or group connection) or an InMailTM (if second or third degree, or no group connection) letting them know that you’ll also be in attendance and that you look forward to the opportunity to meet them in person. This is a very nonthreatening way to get face-to-face and go deeper with your connections of every degree. Find events in your area and reach out to connections that you can potentially meet in person
Sync Geography With Travel
Contact connections to let them know you’re going to be in their area soon and ask them if they’d like to meet for coffee or lunch so you can spend a few minutes learning more about their business. Or contact several connections who have complimentary businesses and live in the same area and invite them to a small-group networking dinner!
Ask for Advice
For example: “Hi John, we connected recently here on LinkedIn and I noticed that you commented about the upcoming technology event taking place next month in Seattle. It appears that you’ve attended in the past and you really seem to have a grasp on the subject matter. I’d like to ask whether you think it’s a good fit for a marketing team to attend, as I am thinking about taking my company. Thanks so much in advance for sharing your thoughts!
Be a Resource
Look for opportunities to reply to connections’ status updates, questions or discussion topics publicly, and then send a more detailed message to them privately with additional tips and resources that can help accomplish their goals.