By Will Kintish, Business Networking Skills And LinkedIn Authority

After you have connected with contacts these are the potential benefits:

1) You can look at their network i.e. their level 1, your level 2 contacts. For me these level 2 contacts are the key to business development. Say your level 1 contact is Usain who you have known for many years and you note he is linked to Jessica. This lady is someone you might wish to start a business relationship with but you don’t know her. You can take one of two actions. Contact Jessica ‘cold’ and say you both know Usain or the far better way ask Usain to introduce you. The former method is fraught with danger as you don’t know how well, if at all, Usain knows Jessica. Just because they are level 1 contacts often means nothing because so many people link and have never met. When you do spot a level 2 you’d like to meet always email or call your level 1 to ascertain the strength of their relationship. If it is reasonably strong your level 1 should recommend the best way to broker the introduction.

2) Even if you don’t know them but want to start a business relationship invite them courteously to link. If they accept pick the phone up and ask to meet. Yes old fashioned face-to-face networking; you never know what might happen next.

3) You have their email address shown half way down in the right hand column of their profile. On many occasions you may it anyway but lots of people often use their private address. When people move jobs having this address can be very useful.

4) You can send your level 1 contacts a message. Just like an email but I have found you get a better response overall sending a message rather than an email.

5) On your home page, left hand column, you see ‘All Updates’. This shows what your network is doing. If you happen to be on your home page within the time scale they have posted something, their update may be useful to you. It maybe they have joined a group you might be interested in or connected with someone you also know or want to know. They may be updating their status box with some useful information.

6) Likewise when you are posting something they may notice your news too.

7) The first principle of networking is helping others. You can send anyone’s profile whether or not they are in your network, to your level 1 connections with a view to maybe brokering an introduction.

8) You can recommend the work done by your level 1 contacts and vice-versa.

9) The more level 1 contacts you have the more level 2’s there will be!

Will Kintish is a leading UK authority on effective and confident networking both offline and online. If you’d like Will to speak at your conference or training workshops, call him on 0161 773 3727. Visit www.kintish.co.uk and www.linkedintraining.co.uk for further free and valuable information on all aspects of networking.