Inviting to Connect on LinkedIn? Give Context. Please.

Update: This post has been updated.

Here are some familiar words for users of LinkedIn.com…

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

Nine times out of ten, the LinkedIn connection invitations I receive come with the default text above. Granted, it is the fastest way of sending invitations. And when you and I know each other well, perhaps no more is needed.

For everyone else - loose connections, a person I met once long ago, or strangers, it will not do.

Give me some context, please, with your LinkedIn connection request.
  • Why would you like to connect?
  • What can I expect from our connection?
There are two really important reasons to give some context with LinkedIn invitations. The first is obvious. You will increase the likelihood that I, or whomever you hope to connect with, will say yes. Here are some LinkedIn invitation examples:

You may recall that we met last week at the ______ Conference during the break-out session. I enjoyed our conversation about ______. I thought it would be a good idea to follow-up with a LinkedIn connection so that we can stay in touch periodically.

We haven’t met, but I wanted to introduce myself because I am fan of your brand and have done similar work in the industry.

I am a long-time reader of your blog, and have commented on a couple of posts. I would love to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

These are reasonable asks and will increase the likelihood that I accept your connection request.

The second reason is more subtle but powerful. What I have experienced when I invite or accept a new LinkedIn connection is that after the “transaction,” there is silence. Nothing happens.

Isn’t there a space to trigger something? Certainly, we may not want to trigger an action in each case, but it could be a wonderful opportunity and excuse to make some sort of follow-up happen.

Let’s connect our networks so that we can help each other. Are you available next week for lunch to talk about some specific ideas? 

Is there anyone in my network that you’d like an introduction to?

I was thinking about you today because I met someone who I think would be an interesting contact for you. Let’s connect and I will make an introduction. 

I would like to connect you to my professional network. And specifically, I was wondering whether you’d be able to introduce me to X. We work in the same industry and know some of the same people. I was hoping to make a connection as I am exploring opportunities in this field. May I forward a connection request to you? 

Of course, this isn’t just about using LinkedIn well. There is a subtle art to developing and managing a professional network. How we ask is an important part of being a successful networker.

If you have suggestions to add or don’t agree, chime in on the blog. It would be great to hear from you.
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