How to Write a LinkedIn Invitation

I regularly receive invitations to join the network of other LinkedIn members.

Today I received this compelling invitation:

Good evening Jeannette, we are both members of NYEBN. I viewed your profile and based on your experience and expertise, I feel you would make a great connection. Please let me know if there is anything that I can help with.

Would you mind connecting?

All the best,
Al

I was intrigued and went into his profile and, indeed, our companies and services are highly complementary and he’s someone I’d like to know better, so I accepted his invitation. We both live in New York so I’ll be in touch to explore how our mutual interests might lead to collaborating on business or referrals to other people.

I am not a LION, or open networker on LinkedIn. Those are members who are open to connecting with anyone who extends an invitation. The original premise of LinkedIn was to connect with people you know, but that restriction loosened over time. So most members are agreeable to linking with people when it makes sense – and when the invitation is personalized.

How NOT to Write an Invitation

I don’t respond well – and most people don’t – to the default LinkedIn invitation:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

– Joe Blow

Many members delete these invitations because they are not personalized.  The canned invitation seems spamm-y and shows no interest in me as a fellow professional. Who says I want to join your network?

Give me a reason, like Al did. Notice that he offered to help me – and didn’t ask me for anything in return.

So, the next time you want to connect with someone new on LinkedIn, take the time to craft a personalized invitation. It’s only polite and will lead to better results and stronger connections.

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Comments

  1. Although not a formal open networker, I do get dozens of connect requests a week. I will only connect if there is a shared affinity — a group, a former employer, a shared occupation, etc. And they need to let me know on the invite!

    It would probably be more productive for LinkedIn to not offer a default message, and force the person to personalize.

    • I agree, Brian, that the LinkedIn default message goes against the very model they’ve created — which is developing personal relationships.

  2. There is no doubt that a personalized message is optimal to arouse engagement. If only everyone could read this post (I’ll be tweeting it)! One has to be careful however that a door is not closed just because an invitation is not personalized. Like Brian said, a shared affinity is something that can be acted upon with our personalized reply.

  3. How did that connection work out Jeannette? When I have received inviations written exactly the same way they have been frequently been a problem. Usually they come from people who want to tap into my contacts in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf or want me to get them a job there.

    LIke Brian I get at least 50 invites a week. Only accept the ones that belong to one of the groups I belong to. Strangers claiming we are friends, work together, need my email address or whatever I turn down. Having said that I’m sure that some of the people I accept are spamming me.

    When someone sends me an invitation where it is clear they are a reader and like my writing then I do accept even if they haven’t clicked group. It shows that they know why they want to connect and gives me a clear reason to do so.

    I actually think the worst thing to do is to claim to be a friend. It’s an insult to the other person’s intelligence and it shows that they are dishonest.

  4. I’m always open to an invitation to connect, Keyuri. But I wanted to make the point that many LinkedIn members automatically delete the default LinkedIn invitation and people should be aware of that. Catarina, regarding my connection with Al who wrote such a nice invitation, we’ve talked on the phone and will have coffee soon. He’s a delightful young man and I think we can help each other.

    Spamming is a problem. That’s why explaining the reason you are in touch, what you have in common, and how the connection might benefit both of you is so crucial. Give me a reason to connect. not just that you want me to get you a job. And claiming to be a friend when you’re not is dishonest, as you point out.

    It’s time consuming, but if the invitation sounds like it’s coming from someone I might want to connect with, I’ll review his or her LinkedIn profile and company website. If it’s not professionally written or promotes products/services that are questionable or racy, then I hit the delete key.

  5. Hi Jeannette,

    That is one if the best introductions as it does give a reason why you may want to connect. I am getting an increasing number and one element I now look at is whether I would want to connect offline. I got caught recently with what I call a begging message and decided I will not put myself in that position in the future.

  6. Thanks, Susan. The lesson from example in the blog is that Al asked first how he could help me. He didn’t ask for anything in return. So it had the effect of wanting to help HIM if I could!

  7. Hi Jeannette,

    Great example of how a personalized Linkedin invitation makes one more inclined to accept because it shows that the person took a vested interest by first researching a little about you prior to sending the invite. I have experienced a lot of spamming of late on LInkedin that does not please me. Just because we belong to the same group, and just because I DID accept an invite, doesn’t make it OK to spam me!

  8. Spamming doesn’t only happen on LinkedIn. I was followed by a fairly well known social media consultant on Twitter, so I followed him back. Today, I received a very poorly written email (actually was shocked at the writing) wanting to sell me his services. It was obviously a form letter because it wasn’t personalized at all. That’s not the way to start a conversation — same goes for LinkedIn.

  9. I am definietly going to be mindful of this the next time I reach out to someone on linkedin, because I’m guilty of using the default invite many times. Al’s invite is warm and friendly and that makes all the difference. Thanks.

  10. Jeannette, It is so easy to be “lazy” after a networking event when you have a stack of business cards in your hand and you want to get through the pile. It’s so easy to say “they remember me — I just met them yesterday.” But maybe they don’t. Do I remember the names, faces, and businesses of all 17 people I spoke with? Hardly. 🙂

    I find it can be a fairly efficient practice to 1) do it as soon as possible after you met someone, 2) craft a basic generic message tailored to that event, and then 3) copy and paste the generic message and tweak to personalize each invitation.

    Thanks for the post, I enjoyed the reminder!

    Lisa

    P.S. Thanks for accepting my connection request on LinkedIn a few weeks ago! 😉