Lately I’ve been getting a raft of messages from LinkedIn connections wanting to get reacquainted. This is not a bad idea. In fact, your LinkedIn 1st degree network can be a treasure chest of potential clients you’ve allowed to go cold.
But most of the messages I’m receiving are destined to be ignored. So many of them are basically identical, I’m quite sure someone(s) is actively heralding this as an effective approach.
It’s not. It’s lazy.
The reconnection messages I’m referring to look something like this:
I like simplicity just as much as the next busy person, but let’s think about this.
Pretend you sent me this message. We haven’t communicated in quite a while – if ever. I confess I don’t remember off the top of my head who you are. I have enough trouble finding time to meet with people I know are relevant to me, why would I agree to chat with a virtual stranger?
And if I did agree to meet with you based on your message, what does that say about me?
Don’t take my word for it
Just to be sure – and in the interest of seeing some data — I actually tried this approach. I sent 20 messages like this to people I haven’t communicated with in at least six months. That was three weeks ago. No one has responded.
Sending messages like this one is at best a waste of time. It might even make some people think less of you professionally. A few might even be insulted.
Reconnect the right way
It’s fine to send a message saying you want to reestablish a connection and you’d like to catch up. You can even apologize for not being in contact more frequently if it makes you feel better. But don’t make the reader think. Why should the reader want to talk with you? What kind of help are you looking for or, alternatively, what do you have to offer.
A little more work on your part will open a lot more doors.
What to say when someone sends you a message like this
Sometimes these messages are obviously spam; but if you’re reasonably careful about how you build your LinkedIn network, there’s a chance you might want to agree to a call. Here’s how I respond:
I hope I’ve tossed it back to them without looking like a jerk.
Questions for you
- Have you organized your LinkedIn network so you know who is relevant?
- Do you communicate with these people regularly?
- Are you providing value?
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