Why it’s critical to customize a LinkedIn connection request

I wrote this post about a year ago and, for the most part, it’s just as true today. One thing that’s changed, however, is that it can be a little difficult to understand when you can and can’t customize a connection request. I’ll shed some light on that tomorrow.

For most of your LinkedIn connection requests, the default script 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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