When messaging someone on LinkedIn, the key is to be professional, polite, and direct. Introduce yourself, explain why you are reaching out, and make your ask or proposal clear. Avoid using LinkedIn messaging for sales pitches or spam – instead focus on relationship building and meaningful conversations.
Do Your Research First
Before messaging a connection, take some time to learn about them. Review their LinkedIn profile to find shared connections, experiences, or interests you can reference to establish common ground. Understanding their background will help you craft a more personal, relevant message.
Also research their company and role. Knowing what they do day-to-day and the initiatives they are focused on allows you to tailor your ask or offer to their needs. Demonstrating this understanding makes you stand out from generic outreach.
Personalize the Introduction
When introducing yourself, include details beyond just your name and company. Share how you are connected, if at all – through colleagues, education, associations, etc. If discovered through research, mention a shared interest or experience to establish rapport.
Explain briefly who you are – your role, expertise, passions. This context helps the recipient understand your perspective and why you want to connect. Share just enough to pique interest for further discussion.
Explain Why You Are Reaching Out
After introducing yourself, clearly state your purpose for messaging. Whether you are seeking advice, providing information, or proposing collaboration, the recipient needs to know upfront why you contacted them. Avoid vague statements or beating around the bush.
If there is a specific trigger for the outreach – an article they published, upcoming conference you both will attend – reference that context. It shows this is not a generic message, but a thoughtful effort relevant to them.
Make a Specific Ask or Proposal
Get directly to the point of your outreach by making a specific ask or proposal. Vague requests like “pick your brain” or “connect sometime” often get ignored. Be clear and direct about what you are looking for – advice on entering a new role, feedback on a presentation, expertise on specific industry trends, etc.
For proposals, provide details like project overviews, timelines, expected commitments, etc. Quantify what you are offering – number of introductions, hours of consulting. Make it easy for them to respond by spelling out the specifics.
Keep it Concise But Warm
While being direct, also aim to keep the message relatively concise. Long-winded introductions and requests can get overwhelming or bury the key details. Shoot for no more than 2-3 paragraphs in most outreach scenarios.
However, avoid coming across as blunt or demanding. Maintain a warm, polite tone throughout. Use phrases like “I would appreciate your insight on…” or “If you have time, I would value your perspective on…” to sound respectful.
Mention Next Steps
Guide the recipient on possible next actions after your message. Offer to schedule a call, set up a meeting, or send more info. Ask if they would prefer connecting on the phone, via email or on LinkedIn. Providing clear next steps makes it easy for them to engage.
Also set expectations on timing. For example, note that you will follow up in a week if you don’t hear back. Managing expectations upfront avoids any awkwardness.
Before hitting send, carefully proofread your message. Check for typos, grammatical errors, unclear language, missing information. Read it aloud to catch awkward phrasing. A polished, professional message represents you well.
Also double check that you are sending to the right recipient. Avoid embarrassment by verifying their name, company, and other details before reaching out.
Follow Up Politely
If you don’t receive a response after about a week, consider a polite follow up. Reiterate who you are, politely restate your request, and offer alternative contact methods like email or phone. However, don’t harass with multiple messages if they don’t respond.
For proposals, its reasonable to share a deadline for accepting or provide alternative collaborators. But avoid being pushy or demanding when following up.
Respect Their Time and Boundaries
Above all else, be respectful of the recipient’s time and boundaries. Keep messages concise and direct. If they decline a request or don’t respond, graciously accept their decision and move on. Don’t take non-responses personally.
Also avoid contacting people excessively. If your messages are always soliciting advice or favors without offering value in return, you may be perceived as entitled or taking advantage. Make sure outreach is balanced and mutually beneficial.
Sample Message Templates
Here are some sample message templates illustrating the tips above:
My name is [Your Name], and I am an [Your Role] at [Company]. I noticed on your profile that you have extensive experience in [Area of Expertise]. I am moving into a [New Role] at [Company], and would love to learn more about how to [Goal/Challenge]. If you have 20 minutes in the next few weeks for a quick call, I would really appreciate any advice or lessons learned you can share based on your time at [Relevant Experience]. Please let me know if that would be possible.
I look forward to hopefully connecting. Best regards,
We have not met directly, but I wanted to reach out since I noticed [Company/Industry Issue] is a priority for your team. I work in [Your Role] at [Company] and have recently been researching trends related to [Relevant Trends]. I thought the enclosed [Research Report/Industry Data/Article] may offer some useful insights as you navigate [Company/Industry Issue]. Please feel free to reach out if I can provide any other details about the findings.
My name is [Your Name] – we are both members of [Association/Group]. I lead [Initiative] at [Company] that aims to [Goal]. Based on your experience with [Relevant Work], I think there may be an opportunity for us to collaborate together on [Potential Partnership]. Specific ways we could work together include [Ideas for Collaborating].
Please let me know if you would be open to scheduling a call next week to discuss further. I can share more details on timelines, commitments, and value for your team. If interested, the best way to reach me is [Contact Info]. I appreciate your thoughtful consideration of working together.
- Research the recipient’s background before messaging.
- Personalize your introduction to establish common ground.
- Explain clearly why you are reaching out.
- Make a specific proposal or ask.
- Use a warm yet concise tone.
- Provide next steps and set expectations.
- Proofread thoroughly before sending.
- Follow up politely if needed.
- Respect the recipient’s time and boundaries.
Messaging on LinkedIn is an art – finding the balance between being human but also professional. Follow these tips and best practices to start meaningful conversations and build relationships.