How to stand out in your LinkedIn connection request

October 19, 2015

open_sesameIt has practically become a cliché now: somebody jokingly tweets out some variation of the following:

“logs in to LinkedIn. sees you have XYZ unread notifications. logs out of LinkedIn (sigh)”

It’s a tired joke in the Twittersphere, but I can feel their pain. Without exaggeration, it seems like I receive 50~100 new LinkedIn connection requests every week. If that comes across as a humble-brag, it’s not intended to be one, as I would characterize the vast majority of these as spam.

Part of me is tempted to shut off all LinkedIn notifications categorically. Yet I refrain from doing that, as it feels like it wouldn’t be fair. I’ve benefited from a warm reception to my own overtures via LinkedIn in the past, so it would be selfish of me to unilaterally close the door on others’ unsolicited requests.

Here are a few suggestions to improve the odds of a successful LinkedIn connection request and a fruitful business relationship with me thereafter:

  • If we’ve already genuinely met or worked together, the generic LinkedIn connection request is fine.
  • For everyone else, the default “I’d like to add you to my network on LinkedIn” will probably be ignored, trashed, or signaled as spam.
  • If we do not know each other very well, please tailor your connection request with a brief explanation of why specifically you would like to connect.
  • Ideally, you will have already engaged in some dialogue with me or at least have read some of my ramblings over Twitter (@markbivens) or this blog.

My success as an entrepreneur and subsequently as a VC has come largely from people who helped me in business, often without any clear, direct personal gain for them. I aspire to be as helpful to others.

posted in venture capital by mark bivens

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