I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
This is the standard message that LinkedIn created for you, so you can ask others to connect with you.
It is succinct, and universally applicable. It's also self-evident, and therefore, unhelpful. Of course I want to add you to my network – if I didn't, would I be asking you to join it?
Those 11 words are actively preventing LinkedIn users from developing the skills they need to network more successfully.
What if you walked up to someone you encountered at a conference and (without providing any context) said, "I'd like to add you to my professional network"?
The response would probably be something along the lines of, "Why? Who are you?" And perhaps, "Is there any benefit to me?"
[Those 11 words prevent LinkedIn users
from networking more successfully]
LinkedIn created this introduction to remove an obstacle to reaching out, and to make it easier for people to connect with each other. But the most helpful thing that LinkedIn could do here would be to make it slightly harder to connect.
How LInkedIn Can Help
Instead of pre-populating the "personal note" in the message window, LinkedIn should do two things:
- Leave the message window empty, and
- Prevent you from sending the invite until you've typed in your own, truly personal message.
This would help the sender learn the art of introducing oneself and one's networking goals to a desirable contact.
And it would help the recipient to understand why they are receiving the message in the first place.
Which is more helpful and effective? This?:
"Dear Andy - Greetings from Denver. I'm seeking a position in annual giving after 6 years in student events. I notice we share mutual contacts, including your former assistant director, whom I know from grad school. I'd be grateful if we could connect via LinkedIn. In return, my own network may prove valuable as you add staff for your newly-announced capital campaign."
"I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn."
It's time for LinkedIn to make us tell each other something we don't already know.