When reaching out to someone for the first time on LinkedIn, the opening message you send can make or break your chances of getting a response. The key is to craft a personalized message that provides value to the recipient while also giving them a good reason to connect with you. Here are some tips on what to say when messaging new LinkedIn connections:
1. Personalize the greeting
Avoid generic greetings like “Hi” or “Hello”. Instead, use their name and show you took the time to look at their profile. For example: “Hi Jane” or “Good morning John”. This small gesture can help your message stand out.
2. State how you found them
Provide context on where you came across their profile. Were you introduced through a mutual connection? Did you notice you work in the same industry? Letting them know upfront why you are reaching out helps set the stage for the rest of your message.
3. Compliment their work
Look through their profile and find something impressive or interesting to compliment. This could be their job title, an award they recently won, a skill you admire, or content they have shared. Complimenting their work makes your message more personalized and shows you took time to learn about them.
4. Explain your intent
Be clear about why you want to connect with this person. Do you share similar career interests or goals? Are you hoping to learn from their experience in a certain field? Outline your intentions so they understand what you hope to gain from the connection.
5. Make an ask or offer value
Give a specific reason for them to respond. You could ask a thoughtful question about their industry, request to set up a quick informational interview, or offer your own unique perspective on a topic that aligns with their interests. Providing value upfront establishes reciprocity.
6. Keep it brief
Get right to the point in 2-3 short paragraphs. People are busy and you want your key message to be readable at a glance. Save the life story and intricate details for after you’ve made a connection.
7. Proofread before sending
Double check your message for any spelling or grammar errors. Also read it back from their perspective. Does it sound professional and polite? A perfectly crafted note can get lost in translation if not carefully proofed.
8. Follow up if needed
If you don’t hear back after 1-2 weeks, consider sending a brief, polite follow up. Remind them who you are, restate your interest in connecting, and offer flexibility to connect on their timeline. Following up shows persistence.
9. Connect first
Before reaching out cold, consider connecting with some of their connections first. This gives you a potential “in” and helps establish credibility when they receive your message.
10. Comment on content
Engage with their posts by liking and commenting. This sparks initial interaction so you aren’t a total stranger when you message them later. It also shows you are genuinely interested in their work.
Messaging new people on LinkedIn can feel intimidating, but it is one of the most powerful ways to build your professional network. With a thoughtful, personalized note that puts their interests first, you can start meaningful conversations that spark mutually beneficial connections.
How to Craft the Perfect LinkedIn Connection Request
Sending that first connection request on LinkedIn can be daunting. How do you make your request stand out? Here are some tips for crafting effective LinkedIn connection requests:
1. Personalize with a warm greeting
Skip the generic “Let’s connect!” opener and use their first name for a more personalized touch. This small detail signals you want to engage on a deeper level.
2. Reference your commonality
Highlight the specific reason you want to connect, like working in the same industry or mutual connections. This shared link gives your request context.
3. Share your story
Briefly explain who you are, your background, and why you want to connect. The more you can tailor this to their interests, the better.
4. Make it about them
Focus on how connecting would benefit the other person. Perhaps you could offer industry insights or make helpful introductions from your own network.
5. Extend an invitation
Include a call to action, like inviting them to connect over coffee or offering to set up an informational interview.
6. Keep it brief
Get to the point fast in 2-3 concise paragraphs. Long-winded notes often don’t get read.
7. Proofread carefully
Double check for typos or unclear language. Grammatical errors make negative first impressions.
8. Follow up if needed
If they don’t respond after a week or two, send a polite reminder. Persistence and patience pay off.
9. Add a personal note
When accepting connection requests, take a minute to write a friendly reply. This helps transform connections into conversations.
Crafting thoughtful, personalized requests is key to building meaningful relationships on LinkedIn. With these tips, you can make strong first impressions that lead to fruitful professional connections.
How to Politely Decline a LinkedIn Connection Request
Declining a LinkedIn connection request can feel awkward, but it’s perfectly acceptable to politely say no to contacts that don’t align with your professional goals. Here are some tips for gracefully declining invitations:
1. Respond promptly
Don’t just ignore the request. Send a response within a week so you don’t come across as disrespectful.
2. Thank them for the invitation
Start positively by thanking them for thinking of you. This softens the blow of rejection.
3. Provide context
Briefly explain your reasoning, like only connecting with those you’ve met in person or worked with directly.
4. Wish them well
End on a high note by wishing them success or complimenting their skills and experience.
5. Suggest alternatives
If interested in engaging further, propose connecting on other platforms or meeting at an industry event.
6. Leave the door open
If your reasoning for declining is timing-related, note you’d be open to connecting in the future.
7. Maintain professionalism
Use formal language and avoid terse replies. Your tone will shape their impression of you.
8. Proofread carefully
Double check for typos or clarity issues. Poor writing undercuts politeness.
9. Don’t feel guilty
Declining connection requests that don’t serve your goals is perfectly fine. Don’t accept invites purely out of obligation.
With courtesy and candor, declining invites strengthens your LinkedIn strategy. Just be sure to explain your reasoning while still showing gratitude for their interest in connecting.
How to Gracefully Disconnect from a LinkedIn Contact
There may come a time when disconnecting from a LinkedIn contact is in your best interest. Whether the relationship has run its course or their online behavior crossed a line, here is how to gracefully disconnect on LinkedIn:
1. Unfollow their activity
Mute their posts and updates as a first step before fully disconnecting. This softens the urgency so you can disconnect thoughtfully.
2. Remove them from groups
If applicable, remove them from LinkedIn Groups you manage where engagement has been inappropriate or irrelevant.
3. Reconsider your decision
Unless there was unethical behavior, take time to reflect before burning the bridge completely. Is there an opportunity for constructive feedback?
4. Meet in person if possible
Having the conversation face-to-face can provide needed nuance and closure. But only meet if safe to do so.
5. Send a respectful note
Briefly explain your decision to disconnect while still being gracious. Wish them well moving forward.
6. Disconnect privately
Use LinkedIn’s settings to disconnect without a public announcement. A private approach prevents embarrassment.
7. Consider blocking if necessary
If the contact continues reaching out after disconnecting, blocking may be required as a firmer boundary.
8. Reflect on lessons learned
Think through what you gained from the relationship and how you might approach similar connections going forward.
9. Focus energy elsewhere
Redirect your time and attention to more positive, productive connections that energize you.
Disconnecting on LinkedIn can be uncomfortable but is sometimes necessary. By handling it thoughtfully and maturely, you can move forward in service of your long-term career goals.
Messaging new connections on LinkedIn can yield fruitful professional relationships when approached strategically. Personalize your outreach while highlighting common ground and showing how connecting would mutually beneficial. If a connection request or contact does not align with your goals, it’s perfectly acceptable to politely decline. Maintain professionalism and positivity when disconnecting from LinkedIn contacts that no longer serve your best interest.
With care, consideration and courtesy, you can optimize your LinkedIn connections to build an engaged network that advances your career over the long term.