During my last one month of networking on openBC and LinkedIn, I have also joined three YahooGroups related to LinkedIn:

1. MyLinkedinPowerForum
2. LinkedInnovators and
3. LinkedInBloggers

In the past month, I have sent over a hundred “Requests to Connect” to people who have clearly mentioned on their profiles that:
1. They are open to invitations to connect and
2. Have listed their e-mail id’s
But of course these people are strangers to me – personally.

My invitation e-mail to them contained a paragraph similar to the one below:
“I would like to connect networks with you to increase the visibility of my profile and my business services.”

My aim in doing this was two-fold: to be straightforward about my reason for requesting to connect with them and also to see what the response would be. Apart from the above text, the rest of the request e-mail was customized for each person.

Time and again, I have re-iterated that when we want to connect with someone we do not know [ that’s part of the point of networking isn’t it? that we connect with virtual strangers, get to know them better, invest time in building a relationship and create friends / business associates for life ], we must be clear why we want to connect with them. Once that clarity is achieved in our minds, we can translate that into a “suitable” e-mail and send it across.

I got positive replies to 21 of the 100 requests that I sent that included the text above. Another six replied in the negative and the remaining did not reply.

1. Being straighforward / honest about one’s intent does not always work.
2. People who list their e-mail id’s on their profiles and clearly state that they are open to connecting, are not necessarily going to connect even if they say so.
3. A selfish-sounding “anything” will get rejected 75% of the time.

I also sent requests to connect to other people – who had their e-mails listed on their profiles and clearly stated that they were open to connecting – without the above-mentioned text. Although I was connecting with them for visibility purposes, I did not mention that in my message – I simply stated “It would be a pleasure to connect networks with you. I am [short description of my business]. My web presence [list of blogs/websites that I write / those that identify me].”
90% of these requests were accepted.

I guess being diplomatic always counts.

I’d like to thank the 21 people who replied in the positive to my e-mails and would like to acknowledge their spirit in accepting the connection requests.