So you’re checking your inbox and there it is, that old familiar line from someone you may have recently met or conversed with briefly: I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. The standard message LinkedIn offers its users to contact possible connections, this expression of disinterest has become truly ubiquitous. Yet, if you resort to this option when you want to connect to someone, what you may be saying to the recipient is: “Hey, here’s the effort I’m willing to exert in the pursuit of a business relationship with you, 11 words of banality that were written by someone else.” Gee, do you really want to connect with me, cuz I’m not feeling the love here.
When you call a prospect, do you use a recorded introduction? When you meet someone during the course of your day, do you choose from a list of pre-written greetings, or do you say something genuine? So why hide behind a scripted salutation simply because you’re online and not conversing in real time?
Sure, you’re busy and it’s so much easier to just click a few boxes and voila! Another task completed. But imagine for a moment that the person to whom you just sent that request will become a very lucrative relationship for you – would have anyway, except they found your request as interesting as 100 others and ignored it.
If you truly consider valuable every connection you make on LinkedIn, consider doing the following when sending a connection request:
1) If you’ve already met the person, make reference to how or where you met and an aspect of your discussion that they will remember.
2) If you haven’t met the person before, briefly detail why you believe connecting with them would be mutually beneficial (i.e. common associations, shared connections or interests).
3) Be sure to thank the person for considering your request.
Likewise, if you’re the recipient of a request from someone that’s impersonal, a questionable connection or you simply don’t know them:
1) You can click “ignore” and wait to see if the person sends a second, more personal request.
2) You can check out their profile, and if they seem interesting, reply to their request (without accepting the invitation) saying something like “Forgive me, but I don’t recall where we met.” or “I’m curious as to why you feel I may be a good connection for you?”
Granted, if you’re sending multiple requests to many people at once, crafting personal messages becomes more ambitious, but not impossible. Of course, this practice is not for people who always send multiple requests, since to them one person is as valuable as the next – meaning not at all.
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