Our September meeting was a great success!

Last Thursday evening the Jersey Shore Networking Group met in Manalpan NJ. It was a great networking event with excellent sharing of valuable information!

Below is the schedule of upcoming JSNG meetings which are free and open to the public. They will be conducted from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM on,
Tuesday October 21st in Toms River,
Thursday November 20th in Manalapan, and
Tuesday December 16th in Toms River.
Meeting dates for 2009 have yet to be established yet.

Below is just a sample of the unsolicited testimonials we've received!

Yesterday was the first meeting that I have attended, and I must commend you (and the rest of the group) on a very enjoyable and worthwhile meeting. Having others to support you (and to interact with at a professional level), whether you are "in between assignments" (as I like to call it), or "currently working at", is wonderful since it gives the individuals a new perspective on alternatives possibly available to them , by hearing what others are going through in their lives.
Stated by Batsheva Salberg Ph.D., Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Thanks very much for arranging everything. You did a fantastic job.
Stated by Michael Procopio, Web Services Developer.

What a powerful group, and a great first meeting for me at JSNG. Thank you Rod and Tom for caring and giving so much energy and enthusiasm -- it is contagious.
To everyone: If you all have not read through Tom's LinkedIn FAQs, you probably should. Although I have been in LinkedIn for 3 or 4 years, mostly as a passive user, I have been using LinkedIn heavily the past two weeks since my position was eliminated. It is pretty intuitive, yet can be complex. For example, do you all know that you can simply ask your network a question? I did not until reading Tom's FAQs. ...
In my first meeting with ETP, I learned how to suggest ways I can help others while giving my introduction. I will have a more interesting intro for the group in October.
Stated by Bob Zimel, OD and Learning Executive.

Invitations will be sent in a week or two for our next meeting in Toms River. If you have not received invitations in the past but wish to receive them for future meetings. Please send a request to be added to the invitation list via E-mail to JerseyShoreNetworkingGroup@gmail.com

Beware of LinkedIn's "I Don't Know"

LinkedIn wants to assure they keep the spammers out of their system. Thus they put in place many safe guards. One of them being the "I Don't Know" you button in response to receiving an invite. It only takes 5 people to click this button to get your account locked. To get your account unlocked you'll need to click the link at the button of a LinkedIn page for Customer Service and submit a question to plead your case. Realize that once you are this situation you are at LinkedIn's mercy and it will take a while, probably days, to get a response.

Once you do get unlocked you're going to need to be extremely careful as they may not unlock you a second time. Once unlocked, you may even want to withdraw old invitations to reduce the risk of getting locked out of LinkedIn a second time.

When you wish to establish a connection on LinkedIn. It would be best to contact the person outside of LinkedIn (in person, telephone, email) and ask if they are open to receiving a LinkedIn invite. However, if you've lost touch and don't have any way of contacting the person outside of LinkedIn you should customized the text of the invitation. Realize that you may remember the person better then they remember you. Thus it is best to send a personalized message reminding the person how you know each other. You certainly shouldn't write a book, but you should mention not only the company, school or organization, but also some details to help refresh their memory. For example, I once worked on many different projects in a company with over 100K employees. Somebody saying they know me from that company might not help me recall them!

Another best practice is to never use the default canned invite message. Doing such seems to indicate an impersonal attempt to establish a connection, that might not to develop into a warm trusted relationship. Considering that you did not take the time to personalized your invitation.

LinkedIn makes it easy to import your E-mail address book from many different sources. Once LinkedIn has your address book you can broadcast invites to all or a selection of the imported list. This is how people often get their accounts locked, because they don't realize the number of people they have in their address book that are just acquaintances that will likely press the "I Don't Know" you button. Although this is import feature may be a quick and easy way to build your network on LinkedIn it is very dangerous due to the risk of getting your account locked, but in addition you're blasting a generic impersonal message to everybody as well.

It may be time consuming, but connecting with one individual at a time in a personalized custom manner is always a best practice of professional networking. The investment in time is well worth the rewards you'll receive in the future, from your warm trusted network.

You may also wish to review a blog post on this topic by my friend Jason Alba at "I Don't Know You (OUCH!)".