Why it’s important to personalize your LinkedIn connection requests

For most of your LinkedIn connection requests, this simply isn't good enough.

I received two LinkedIn connection requests yesterday. One was from someone I didn’t know who used the default LinkedIn connection request script (“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”). The other was also from someone I didn’t know who included specific information about who he is and why he wanted to connect.

Want to guess which one I accepted and which I ignored?

Sometimes–like when you work with someone every day or you’ve known them for years–the default LinkedIn script is perfectly adequate to get you connected. In those cases, you don’t need to explain the relationship or clarify why the connection request would benefit either party. If the relationship is more tenuous, however, it’s important to personalize the connection request so the other party has a sense of how they know you or why they may want to connect with you. By relying on the default script, you’re assuming the person will accept your connection request out of good faith or will take the time to understand who you are or how you’re connected. As social media consumes more of our time, however, that’s not likely to happen.

Many LinkedIn users, you see, understand the value of connecting instead of just collecting, and it’s becoming less likely they’ll accept a request without considering its value. When your connection request arrives, then, they only take a few seconds before deciding whether to accept or ignore. And all they have to go on is what you tell them in the connection request.

Most defaults–most things that are one size fits all, that is–aren’t nearly as good as things that are customized. This definitely applies to LinkedIn connection requests. Take the time to personalize your connection requests, and you’re much more likely to have the chance to turn those tenuous relationships into something more substantial.

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2 Responses to Why it’s important to personalize your LinkedIn connection requests

  1. Nick Harter says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I use LinkedIn a lot to connect with referrals and always customize the text. I am amazed that I almost never receive a customized connection request. I want to know why people want to connect with me. This goes for Facebook too!

  2. ajjuliano says:

    Thanks for the comment, Nick. I appreciate the fact that, like me, you’re not interested in simply collecting contacts, even though we’re in the relationship business. Making sure you connect with people only when relevant allows you to devote more time to the contacts who are your highest priorities. Going into the connection request with an understanding that most people want quality over quantity can go a long way toward ensuring you focus on each individual opportunity instead of taking a shotgun approach and just trying to accumulate names and faces.

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