You’ve built your LinkedIn profile, started using some of its advanced features to beef up your profile, and added the connections you knew – and maybe some connections they know. You’ve got a few recommendations, and you’re participating in groups. Now, how can you start leveraging the professional networking site to go beyond the Web and start meeting prospects, clients, and peers in person?
Seek out others at events
One of the best ways to do this is by checking out LinkedIn events to see if your connections are showing up in the RSVP – you can do this by logging in, and on the LinkedIn home page, hovering over the “More” menu in the top toolbar and selecting “Events.” Here, you can browse any events that your connections organizing, view the most popular events in your industry, find an event based on keyword or location, and add your own events. To see if your connections are planning to attend the same event as you, or attending an event in your area, click on the name of the event and select the “RSVPs” tab at the top of the event page, under the event name. Your connections will be the ones with a blue “1st” indicator next to their name, meaning they’re a first-degree connection.
If you have a mutual connection with somebody you’d like to meet, you can similarly see if they’re attending by looking for the blue “2nd” indicator next to their name. Want to get introduced? Ask your mutual connection if they can provide an introduction before the event, or if they’re going.
Multitask on business trips
Another great way to meet up with your connections: Before traveling, make a list of your connections in the area where you’ll be. Hover over the “Contacts” menu on the top toolbar and select “My Connections.”
To find the locations that make up your connection list, select “locations” on the lefthand side to drop down a list. If your list displays 19 connections in the greater New York City area and you know you’ll be there for a business trip, for example, you can click on “Greater New York City Area” and see a list of your contacts there. Send a message to one or several by ticking the boxes next to their names, or send a message to all the contacts in that area. This works best if you already have an established business relationship with those you’re messaging, but even if you don’t, you can still reach out to gauge their interest in meeting face to face. You can meet with them one-on-one, or organize a small group to meet for a brunch-time networking event, for example.