In the last week, I have received 20 LinkedIn invitations to connect with the generic message, “[name] wants to connect with you on LinkedIn.” If you are too lazy to customize this message, I ignore your request. Don’t get ignored, follow these steps to get connected. A great LinkedIn invitation typically has one or more of the following:

  • linkedin-invitationA personalized message. A great example is, “I’ve enjoyed getting to know you on Twitter and appreciate your retweets. How about we connect here too? I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” I am more likely to accept this request than the generic message. The general request without a personalized message demonstrates a lack of thought.
  • The Golden Rule. The golden rule of networking is, “networking is about giving; not getting.” Remember this very important concept. Never ask for something right away, such as, “I notice you are connected to Mr. X, could you provide an introduction?” Just keep it simple and start building a relationship via LinkedIn. Once we have gotten to know each other, I am more apt to provide an introduction to my network.
  • If we have met, tell me how we met. If you are at a large gathering, your intended connection might not remember every person he or she met. It’s always a good idea to say, “I enjoyed meeting you at the breakfast this morning.” If we haven’t met, don’t click on the “friends” request. This is a misrepresentation of our relationship.
  • Attention to detail. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct.

Networking is about establishing and then building and maintaining a relationship with someone. The rules don’t change just because it is not face-to-face. As you network via LinkedIn, please remember it is as much about how you can help as it is about how you can be helped. Every move you make electronically is a representation of your “personal brand.”

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