If you’re on LinkedIn, you know that it has value. It’s a powerful and professional networking tool. But what happens when you keep receiving the same, unoriginal request to connect: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Does this have value? And do you feel valued when receiving it? And should you accept the request? Whether you are connecting with people that you know or people who are complete strangers, using this standard and boring line will communicate laziness to your potential connections and must be replaced by a request that is personal, unique and valuable.
“So, what should I say?” you might ask. “What will make me stand out?” After all, it’s important to make sure the connections you build start off on the right foot. This means doing away with the standard, “I’d like to add you...” line and starting to make introductions that are personal, unique and that show value.
Perhaps you met someone at a networking event. Be personal and follow up with an introduction that communicates you had a personal connection with that person. “It was great meeting you this morning and learning about what you do. Feel free to visit our online portfolio to see some of the work we most recently did for XYZ Company. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Let us know if there is anything we can help you with. Hopefully LinkedIn will help us keep in touch!”
Maybe you’ve come across someone that you used to work with and want to now reconnect. Don’t lazily send the generic request, but say something more unique. “It’s been awhile since our time at XYZ Company. Just wanted to reconnect and see how business is going for you these days. I see you’ve been keeping busy! What’s been your greatest business accomplishment since leaving XYZ Company?”
Maybe you’re wanting to connect with a complete stranger. Be compelling and reach out to them with something of value, so that they will actually want to connect with you. “I was searching for business connections within my field and found that you and I share a lot of the same professional interests. I noticed you’ll be at the XYZ Conference in a few weeks. Let’s plan to meet up for lunch while we’re there.”
As you use LinkedIn, get in the habit of practicing this discipline. As you connect, you will build an awareness of how other people are connecting with you. You’ll also come to find that being personal, unique and value-focused with your LinkedIn connection requests will make you stand out as a leader within your professional network.
How are you connecting with people on LinkedIn?
Is it done as personal, unique and with value?