- Say hello. You would do it in person, so why not do it here? Add two words to the beginning of the note such as “Hi Liz” or “Dear Liz.” This makes me feel like you’re addressing the note specifically to me.
- Add context. Your first sentence should be a brief explanation of why you want to connect. Something along the lines of “I saw you speak at last week’s event” or “I read your book” or “I see that we both know Marvin Jones.” Even “I saw your name pop up when I was logged in” is better than nothing.
- Introduce yourself. Describe what you do in your next sentence. DO NOT say, “Read my profile to learn what I do.” That’s just rude. If you’re the one making the initial contact, it’s YOUR job to give them the basic information. “I’m a systems engineer at Boeing” or “I’m a blogger and executive coach in San Diego.” Let people know who you are, and if they want to find out more, your profile is just a click away.
- Invite them to connect. I don’t have a big problem with the default sentence “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” IF the other four steps of this formula are followed. But while you’re personalizing things, why not personalize this sentence as well? One of my favorite ways is to say, “I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn and see how we can help each other.” Think about what would make it appealing for someone to accept your invitation.
- Add a closing sign off. Before your name, add a closing like “Best regards” or “Sincerely” or “Take care.” Something that you would include in any other note to a stranger whom you are trying to impress.
© 2010 Liz Lynch
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Liz Lynch, business development strategist and author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person & Online, teaches entrepreneurs and professionals how to get 24/7 networking results WITHOUT the 24/7 effort. Get her FREE Smart Networking toolkit at www.SmartNetworking.com