While discussing marketing ideas with Cindy, my business partner, she asked me how important I thought LinkedIn was. Personally, for business to business marketing, I think it can be an important marketing tool.

In my class on Workplace Psychology at the University of Washington I frequently tell my students the best personal marketing they can do is to simply go up to someone they would like to meet, offer their hand to shake, look the other person straight in the eye and say, “Hi, Mr. or Ms. ”, my name is ” and I’m very happy to meet you”.

On LinkedIn I have a number of contacts, but the majority are from people who have extended the invitation to connect to me. When someone asks me to connect on LinkedIn, and I know them, I feel flattered and typically accept. But interestingly, I’m uncomfortable asking others to connect to me. After thinking about why I might feel this way, I realized it was because of the same uncomfortable feeling I had when I was a young man introducing myself to and shaking hands with someone I wanted to meet. Is there a reason I should feel uncomfortable when reaching out on LinkedIn to business people I know? Absolutely not!

It is far easier to give advice than to take it, even if it’s your own. I constantly have to remind myself, “Joe, take your own advice!”