How NOT To Connect On LinkedIn

I get hit up often on LinkedIn. I have no idea if the rate at which I receive requests is normal, or if it’s related to my previously published work, but there is one guaranteed method that will ensure rejection 10 out of 10 times: When your only reason for connecting is to “expand my network.” This is a red flag and not a great strategy for connecting on LinkedIn.

Looking to Expand My Network

A screen shot of a connection request.
This is the LinkedIn request that you should NEVER send.

I get it. People are out there trying to hustle, create new relationships, and attract new clients. The guy pictured is probably a nice dude, a great dad, etc. But by its very nature, his statement “looking to expand my network” or “building my online network” is selfish. First of all, it means absolutely nothing and second, if you are writing something like this, it communicates value you are interested in—not me. It’s like a polite virtual mugging.

PLAY my LinkedIn rant at 51:38 »

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The Best Strategy for Connecting on LinkedIn

The best strategy for connecting on LinkedIn is also the most obvious: Provide value—basically the same way you should start any relationship in real life. My wife didn’t go out with me because I said “hey hot lips, I want chu.” I got to know her, treated her well, and offered to buy her dinner. She saw value for her!

If you have value upfront, make it clear in your connection request. Put yourself in their shoes and ask how you can genuinely help them. If you don’t know what value you offer, then get to know them before connecting. And how are you supposed to do that?

The best strategy for connecting on LinkedIn is to engage a person first by commenting, liking, or sharing their stuff. Maybe even sign up for their newsletter or send them a client! Seriously. Connecting online should happen only after a connection in real life is made.

The best strategy for connecting on LinkedIn is the same strategy for real life. Ok. Try me.

Thank you for contacting me!