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networking on LinkedInIf you are someone who waits to be introduced, hesitates to say hello first or just prefers anonymity LinkedIn, and for that matter all social media, will be a tad uncomfortable for you, at least, at first.

That’s okay, just know and understand it. Social media is based on sharing, transparency and being willing to jump in. A friend of mine mentioned there was nothing going on in her LinkedIn activity feed. I asked her if she was answering questions, posting anything interesting or connecting with any degree of frequency. Her answer to all three were not really. Enough said.

Just like going to an in-person networking event, it’s often more incumbent on you to meet others than others to meet you. That is even more important for sales and marketing professionals.

Even if your first inclination is to keep to yourself, don’t. Where is the fun in that? Try to lean in to the thrill of meeting someone new, hearing about them, making a connection. What’s the worse that can happen, they excuse themselves from the conversation? And, if they are doing all the talking, chances are they won’t.

Once you meet one person by taking a chance, the next one won’t be so hard. Practice. Actually practice in the grocery store, at the cleaners, in the gym wherever you can initiate random short-lived conversations that allow you to be more comfortable talking to strangers.

I don’t really regard anyone as a stranger but another person to meet and learn something from. In fact, my youngest daughter told me several years ago that, as a parent, I failed the lesson on teaching children not to talk to strangers. I think she was right. I laughed when she said it and attempted to not talk to anyone at the grocery store that day and failed miserably. I claimed people talked to me first, ahh nevertheless, I rarely go anywhere without talking to someone. My daughters are used to it by now.

Back to LinkedIn, it’s the same thing. Reach out and touch someone, a colleague, a prospect, a client, a professional friend or acquaintance. Ask them a question, posit how you can help them, recommend them without suggestion, introduce them to someone who you think may be good for them to know. Do it generously and do it without regard for renumeration.

How about a LinkedIn challenge? For the next ten days take one action per day from the above suggestions…reach out and touch base with someone, most especially prospects and clients. Just say hello if you can not come up with anything more compelling.

A ten day challenge, not so hard, right? Focus on it just like you would any other challenge, diet or project, break it down and do it. If you fall short one day just pick it up the next, no worries. Just do it.

What’s the challenge? For the next ten days, reach out and touch someone through LinkedIn:

  • Ask them a question.
  • Ask how you can help them.
  • Recommend them without suggestion.
  • Introduce them to someone who you think may be good for them to know.
  • Post an interesting article from LinkedIn Today.

There are five suggestions…do one, everyday for five days and repeat for the next five. Let me know how it goes.