In response to the uptick in requests to connect on LinkedIn from people I don't know (and who don't know me), I humbly offer the following four step process to members of the community with the hope they'll use it to increase the likelihood of making such connections actually happen.To start, let's say you've identified a person you want to connect to on LinkedIn.
STEP ONE: Read their profile.
STEP TWO: Get clear about why you want to connect.
STEP THREE: Communicate clearly and directly your reasons for wanting to connect.
STEP FOUR (part of step three, but worth mentioning separately as it's most important): Communicate why it would be mutually beneficial for the two of you to connect.
You'll want to combine steps three and four in your introductory message to the individual. In other words, avoid simply sending an invitation to connect without any explanation (or a vague one, such as "I want to network with you" or "you look like an interesting person.")
Most people who reach out to me haven't read my profile. Those that have may know why they want to connect with me, but are neither clear nor direct in their communication. So I decline the vast majority of requests to connect from people I don't know (or who don't know me).
It doesn't have to be this way. My hope is that the process I've outlined here can help elevate the quality of these efforts to connect, which in turn can make LinkedIn ever more rewarding.