I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn

Anyone who has been on LinkedIn will know this phrase very well, either through receiving it or sending it out.  For those of you who don’t know, this is the standard message you are given when sending a request to connect with someone on the site.

This is the easy get out, the non-thinking way of doing things that, until you are told otherwise, you will do for everyone you want to connect with. I myself have been guilty of sending out this message but not anymore I’m glad to say.

Why would you send out a connection message?

LinkedIn is very much like normal networking.  The aim is to not only strengthen existing relationships by inviting them to connect but also to meet new people.  You do this when you see someone of interest in a group, has posted a discussion on something interesting or is in a field you are working in.  Some people will accept all request (called LIONS – LinkedIn Open Networkers), other you have to input their email address to connect but most people you just need to show how you know them (friend, colleague, group member) and send them a message to ask them to connect.

Why is it a no-no?

 If you are like me, on LinkedIn most days and run a group or two.  You will receive your fair share of connection requests with the title phrase attached and to be honest it gets annoying!

If this is mixed with the person adding that they are a friend or worked with you at a certain company, which they obviously haven’t, then it is one of the ways in which to get yourself blacklisted, ignored and/or rebuffed.

How should you be doing it?

 It is not difficult to get accepted by 99% of the people you send a request to. It is more of a matter of courtesy and politeness than any fancy tricks.  Here are my top tips to connecting with new people;

  1. Don’t say you are a friend unless really have to.  The ideal is to be a member of the same group and use this as your ‘how I know them’.
  2. State how you found their profile
  3. Say why you would like to connect with them
  4. What the benefit would be in connecting with you
  5. Be polite and honest
  6. Don’t try and sell them anything – it’s an instant turn off and big no-no

It is not a hard thing to do.  Yes, it takes up a little more time as you have to put some thought into your request.  If you come across as an honest, interesting person that can be of benefit to the person you want to connect with then great, you will be a great addition to their network.  A good example of an invite would be;

Hi David

I came across your discussion on social media in the UK Sports Network group and was really interested in what you had to say.  It is a subject I’m starting to look into for my club and would like to connect with you and discuss your ideas.

Kindest regards,

Daniel

It doesn’t have to be a long article on why you want to connect but something short, relevant and to the point is all you need. 

Now, the next time you connect with someone follow these basic rules and you will see the benefits almost straight away.  Your network will grow and you can talk to them, meet them in real life and start a relationship that may help you start or expand your business.

LinkedIn is a great platform on which to expand your network beyond your expectations, meet some great people and build up your personal brand.  If you have questions on LinkedIn or want to connect (you now know what to write to me!), I’m always happy to have a chat.

About author

Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 820 posts

Dan is the Founder & CEO of Digital Sport. Can be found at sports industry events and heard every week on the Digital Sport Insider podcast. @DanielMcLaren

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