I love social networking. It’s part of my job, it’s part of my personal life, and I just enjoy connecting with people and sharing info, ideas, and more. For business networking, I think LinkedIn provides a tremendous amount of value so I try to make connections there when possible. I have connected with friends, colleagues both past and present, customers, thought leaders, vendors, and more. If I receive a connection request from someone I know, it’s nice when they personalize the connection request but I understand if they don’t. (For the record, early in my LinkedIn years I sent several non-personalized requests out to people I knew closely)
With that said, I continue to be surprised by the amount of connection requests I get sent from people I don’t know, from companies I don’ know, who don’t have a picture, I don’t share any connections with, AND don’t take the time to customize the connection request.
See below for an example:
If I received this request and it said “Hi, we haven’t been introduced but I work in Customer Service for XYZ company. I came across your name when I was searching for XYZ and I thought it would make sense for us to connect on LinkedIn.” I would be much more inclined to accept the request.
If you are taking the time to connect with someone, especially with someone you don’t know, why not take the extra minute to type up an introduction? Social networking is about being social. I wouldn’t just walk up to someone I didn’t know, hand them my business card, and say “here.” By adding some customized text explaining how you know someone or why you want to connect, you show that person that you can add value to the connection and that it makes sense to connect.
Be social, but don’t be lazy!