If you conduct a Web search on “Shrinking Your LinkedIn Network” you’ll come up with zero results. So, yes, this post might be a bit contrarian.

My LinkedIn network has 1,507 first connections, and I’ve spoken to or met every one of them. That makes my network exceptionally valuable as I can reach out to most of them and receive a quick response back. That’s good for you as well, so if you reach out to me looking for an introduction to someone in my network, I’ll be able to tell you something about that individual and arrange an introduction.

Most people on LinkedIn accept invitations from people they don’t personally know, to build their network. Problem with that is in most cases that person will be of little or no value to you. If that person does not know you, the chances of them being willing to meet you or introduce you to someone in their network is slim. Translation = no value.

If you are willing to spring for a LinkedIn premium subscription, it’s easy to identify 2nd or 3rd+ connections, so you aren’t limited an longer by the size of your network.

If you want to strengthen your LinkedIn network, I encourage you to prune your network of connections. There is a LinkedIn feature to export your connections. Print them out, review them and consider removing those that you don’t know (they won’t see that you have removed them). Your network will be stronger and more valuable to you and others.

Here are my rules for accepting, initiating or maintaining LinkedIn connections:

  1. I must have spoken to or met the individual, either in a professional or personal setting.
  2. As long as I’ve spoken to or met them, I will accept your invitation. It doesn’t matter if you are CXO, administrative assistant, mail room clerk, or the owner of the local dry cleaner.
  3. I don’t accept invitations before we meet. I regularly get connection requests before a meeting. I don’t accept till after the meeting. See rule #1.
  4. I don’t accept recruiter invitations. I know, most people want to keep their options open. Don’t worry; recruiters can find and contact you if they need to. They want to connect with you to get introductions to your connections. Again, see rule #1.
  5. I regularly prune my connections. I’ve been a member of LinkedIn since 2004 and it’s not uncommon to find people in my network that I don’t remember or are no longer active in the workforce.

I invite your feedback.

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