The idea of making LinkedIn connections can be very intimidating. Once you decide who you’d like to send requests to, you still have to agonize over what to say. (Because you’d never send a request without a personal note, right?)
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At one of my new LinkedIn Meetups, a recruiter friend of mine shared her favorite trick for connecting on LinkedIn: she has a few different scripts she uses when reaching out to people she’d like to connect with. Although she tailors those scripts a little, it’s mostly copy and paste…which really takes the stress out of requesting connections.
Cast your eyes up here, folks! I’m going to show you how the magic is done:
1. Categorize your connections.
Think about the types of people you may invite into your network: friends, family, casual acquaintances, coworkers, industry colleagues, clients, customers, LI group members… the list goes on.
2. Come up with a script for each category.
Don’t tell me I’ve lost you already! I promise it’s easier than it looks. In fact, I’m even going to give you a few examples to get you started. Let’s say you want to connect with former coworkers or key customers or potential clients. Try sample scripts like these when sending requests:
Former coworker: “Hi (Coworker), I was excited to see you’re still working for ABC Company. They’re lucky to have you in charge of (X function). I’d really like to stay in better touch from now on – would you like to connect on LinkedIn?”
Key customer: “(Customer), I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and your company’s needs these past few months, and would love to connect on LinkedIn so that I can become an even better resource for you.”
Potential client: “Hi (Potential Client), From reading your profile, I can tell that (X topic) is really important to you. It’s important to me, too, so important that I’ve built my business around it. I’d love to connect with you: not so I can pressure you to become a client, but because you’re the kind of smart person I can continue to learn about my target market from. I hope you’ll feel free to reach out if I can assist you with anything in return!”
3. Tweak the scripts to sound like you.
In other words, don’t use phrasing or vocabulary just because it sounded good when I said it, or because you’ve always wanted to be funny like Dwight Schrute from The Office. Be yourself.
The next time you find someone you’d like to connect with, pull up the script for the category of connection they belong to.
…the script right into your connection request.
6. Presto, change-o.
This is where the magic really happens, where you substitute their name for (Customer) and their interests/job function/company name, etc., in the appropriate place in your script. This is also where you can feel free to ad-lib, to depart from your script! Add a whole extra sentence in if you’d like to reference a shared experience or something you remember about them.
Sometimes you may have to read over the person’s profile first to make sure you know enough about them to complete this step, which is exactly as it should be. The end goal is to have a personal, mutually-beneficial relationship with each of your connections and that requires knowing personal information about them.
7. Check your request.
Re-read what you’ve written and make sure you’ve: 1) spelled the person’s name correctly, 2) substituted the relevant info for any placeholders you had in your script (some people like to highlight these placeholders to draw attention to them so that they’ll have a hard time overlooking them and sending a generic request like “Dear Customer;”), and 3) personalized your script so it reads like it was written just for them.
8. Hit send.
Easy, peasy, right? Even novice LI users can quickly master this type of connection magic.
If you’re looking for more tricks to make these kinds of networking conversations a little easier, check out this book some of my savvy colleagues wrote here.
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
About the author
Kristin S. Johnson is a TORI award-winning, 6-times certified resume writer, job search coach, and social media consultant. Her approach is cutting-edge, creative, and kind. As owner of Profession Direction, LLC, she works with professionals and aspiring executives across the country.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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