As someone who is a LION (Linked In Open Networker) meaning that pretty much anyone can see my profile and request me to join their network, I’m often astonished at how many people whom I’ve never met request me and:
a) Don’t bother writing a brief introduction, preferring to stick with the standard “So-and-so, I’d like to add you to my network,” without saying anything else.
b) State that they’ve done business with me at their company when they haven’t.
c) They follow me on Twitter or read my blog but don’t bother to mention it.
While I usually eventually end up accepting these folks, it takes me longer than if I knew why they were contacting me. Yes, Linked In isn’t Facebook and you don’t have to worry as much about sharing personal updates and information with strangers, but I still would like to have an idea of why this person wants me in his/her network. Does he think that I’ll be able to help him? Does she want me to hire her?
At any rate, here are some basic guidelines to get a “yes” for a “linking” request on Linked In from someone you’ve never personally met or even corresponded with:
- Ditch the standard form: Yes, yes, you want to “add him to your network,” but why? Did you hear about her from a mutual friend? Did you meet him at a networking event and think that the two of you might set up a referral partnership? If you must keep the “I’d like to add you to my network,” line, please say something before it. This goes doubly if you’re in a writing field: Why will anyone hire you if you can’t even write your own Linked In networking request?
- Ask for an introduction from a mutual acquaintance: One member of my network saw that I was linked to someone she wanted to know and asked me for an introduction, which I was happy to do. Linked In even has a form that allows you to do this, once you see how someone is linked to a mutual acquaintance.
- A bit of flattery never hurts: If you want to link with someone that you follow on Twitter, or whose blog you read on a regular basis, or whose e-book you read, tell him that!