LinkedIn Leap of Faith

Turn inspiration into valuable connections

Danae Paparis
Apr 26, 2018 · 4 min read

Ever felt really inspired by something you just read? Ever in awe at the work you saw in someone’s portfolio? Wondered how some incredible accomplishments were made? That moment of inspiration feels great until you realize that you have no idea where to actually start yourself. Well, I’d say take a leap of faith, send an invitation request to connect on LinkedIn with the people who inspire you, and make sure not to forget the most important piece of the invitation. Let me explain.

I’m not about to say that I’m an expert, nor am I trying to sell you a magical process/ eBook/ help guide/ webinar about how to match successful people’s achievements. Nope. What I do have is some simple advice that might help build some confidence in making meaningful connections that can get you pointed in the right direction.

Now, I’m a self-proclaimed professional conversation starter and ice-breaker. My super energetic mama taught me how to be so, and my boyfriend tells me that I am so. My hack? Find something that genuinely interests you about someone, or someone’s work, journal about it, sprinkle fairy dust on it, sleep with it under your pillow, gargle turmeric tea 3 times and — nah, I’m just kidding.

Quite literally, just tell them about *the thing* that interests you, and compliment them on it. That’s it.

For example, like most people tend to be at times, I can be intimidated by really cool people’s success. A little while ago, I read an interesting interview with Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. on Medium for international women’s day. Her experience, background, publications and work in psychology, human behavior and technology are incredible– all fields that really interest me. It was overwhelming to think about how many accomplishments she racked up over time, and I forgot to put things into perspective about the fact that I’m still just in the beginning of my own journey. I think it’s helpful to remind yourself that you’re not alone, and if someone inspires you, tell them! Or ask for advice! Especially if you’re just starting out in your career, like I am.

I went on to LinkedIn, found Dr. Weinschenk, and went down a rabbit hole to discover her company, The Team W. They share a wealth of knowledge in behavioral psychology and its connection to technology and user experience. It’s beyond fascinating. On a whim, and not expecting anything out of it, I decided to send her a request to connect. The key here is that I added a note.

In my note, I briefly said how I discovered her and her work, that I was really inspired by her, and that I’m excited to read her books and articles. I thanked her for sharing her knowledge, and let her know that I looked forward to learning more from her work.

The next day, she not only accepted my request, but she sent me a personal note thanking me for my kind words. It felt awesome!

Now, I have a connection that is an expert in an incredible field that was born out of an authentic and genuine interest. I also have a newly found, incredible resource that I can look to for research, industry trends, and education. In my humble opinion, I think that connections, whether they be on-line or “on-life”, should be authentic and genuine themselves. Real human to human connection, even in a digital space, is the most valuable to success.

I’ve since taken this experience and created a little formula. I’ve used it to connect with other industry experts, with principal designers and directors of agencies that I love, and with authors who share insights and expertise in their feeds every day. The formula is pretty simple:

  1. Find a company, agency, article, person, or event that really interests you, and do some research on *it*.
  2. If you find that the person, event or work really resonates with you, do a quick search on LinkedIn to find the root sources.
  3. Let the people who are responsible know that you are inspired by *it* in the “Add a Note” field of the connection request.
  4. If it’s applicable, also mention that you would love to learn more about whatever *it is* that you want to explore.
  5. End the note by saying you’d be (genuinely) happy to connect!

This method will at the very least brighten’s someone else’s day. At most, it can hopefully expand the breadth of expertise within your network. Then, tap into that network by asking questions, and continuing your own education within the spaces that inspire you.

Who knows, maybe a small little compliment or a quick question for more information can land you your next job, or a new collaborative partner. If I were you, I’d take that LinkedIn suggestion to add a note, to heart.

Danae Paparis

Written by

I’m a UX researcher with a passion for photography, social behaviors, and dogs. Currently based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade