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Networking on LinkedIn can be valuable, regardless of your occupation. For business professionals especially, making connections on LinkedIn can sometimes make or break you gaining a new client. Connecting with someone on LinkedIn can potentially be the first step in the marketing funnel, by just making people aware of your business, or getting your name out there. So, do you want to risk losing a potential client, or many potential clients for that matter, just because you don’t want to take the time to personalize a connection request?

Many of us are guilty of this. We mindlessly hit connect, or we think “oh, I know this person, no need for a message.” We need to break this habit. Whether you just met the person, think they could be a potential client, or you have known them for years, there is so much value in personalizing your connection request. Taking a few extra minutes to generate a sentence or two that will help make your connection personal, and allow people to feel like there is someone on the other side of the screen, can be so valuable.

As LinkedIn even reminds you when you go to connect with someone, people are more likely to connect with you if you provide them with a message. It’s almost obvious why this would be the case. Someone who takes the time to say “Hi, I’d like to connect. I saw that you work for ____, I think we have a common interest,” is going to be so much more likely to receive an acceptance because you have actually taken the time to look at what the person is interested in, where they went to school, or where they currently work and what they do. Think about it, are you more likely to connect with someone when you have no idea who they are, but they provide a little insight into why they wish to connect or are you more likely to connect with someone you don’t know, and they provide no background information, no personal message, enticing you to accept their request.

Remember, LinkedIn is ultimately a business tool. It can provide you with clients, generate word-of-mouth for your business, and so much more. Why wouldn’t you spend that extra minute to personalize a connection request? Ok, you get the point. It’s imperative, and it’s going to make you and your company look so much better. So, here are some tips to know about personalizing connection requests:

  • Add their first name, especially if you are sending multiple connection requests with the same message, so it makes them feel like you’re addressing them personally.
  • Try to find a common interest: introduce what you do and how your connection with them could be valuable. For example, “I saw you went to Washington College, so did I. Lets connect.”
  • If you know them, include where you met them. For example “I enjoyed hearing you speak at ____ conference in Dallas this weekend” or “It was great meeting you at the ____ conference in Philadelphia today.” Giving context, whether it has been a few days or a few years from when you first met them, will help turn your request from pending to accepted quickly.

Connection requests do not have to be elaborate. They can’t be, they’re only 300 characters or less. However, they ultimately add value. They make you seem authentic. We promise it is worth taking the time to do!