It’s what you say and how you say it — The language of connecting on LinkedIn

Last year, The Evolving Advisor explored quick, actionable tips on LinkedIn etiquette. Now we’ve asked D. Bruce Johnston, special business and social media advisor to Delaware Funds, to expand on one of the more difficult skills for all of us non-writers to master: the language of connecting.

Connecting with people on LinkedIn can be a challenge because most of us are unsure how to write a LinkedIn invitation or respond to someone else’s invitation.

Even if you experience writer’s block, don’t settle for the default "I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn" message. Why? Because it contains no greeting, it isn’t personal, and such a generic message could leave your recipient thinking, "How do I know this person?" or "Why do they want to connect with me?" or worse yet, "Why would I want to connect with this person?"

Remember, there is no perfect invitation. But by implementing the following guidelines, you may be able to increase the number of people who accept your invitations. That in turn could increase the number of invitations you receive.


Here are a few tips on writing LinkedIn invitations that may help increase your chances of connecting on LinkedIn:

  • 1Be transparent — tell them what you want!
    That’s right. Simply explain to the person you’re trying to connect with why you want to connect. The person on the receiving end of your invitation doesn’t know you, or what you do, or why you want to connect with them. Your note is your opportunity to introduce yourself and explain your purpose.
  • For example, try this simple phrase as a starting point and pivot from there depending upon the circumstance:

    I’m a financial advisor [or insert your title] looking to build my network.


    I’m an experienced financial advisor [or insert your title] looking to expand my network.
  • 2Build on common ground
    I’m a financial advisor [insert title] looking to build my network. In my research I noticed that we have a mutual friend in [insert your common connection’s name]. I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn, and when your schedule permits I’d like to buy you a cup of coffee.

    Please accept my invitation.

    Thank you!

    Your name
    Phone number
  • 3Be personal
    A common friend is just one example. The point is that you should always look for an opportunity to personalize your invitation in order to connect in some way.
  • When you review the LinkedIn profile of someone you want to connect with, look for commonalities:
    • colleges and universities
    • a degree or advanced degree
    • interests such as golf, Civil War history, travel, you name it
    • LinkedIn groups you both belong to
    • companies you both follow
    • common causes such as animal welfare
  • And adjust your LinkedIn invitation accordingly. Here’s an example:

    Dear [insert name]:

    I see that you are a member of the Habitat for Humanity group on LinkedIn. I’m engaged in this group as well and would like to share some ideas with you on local initiatives. Please accept my invitation to connect.


    Your name
    Phone number
  • 4Always say "thank you"
    Get in the habit of saying thanks in advance for someone’s connecting with you on LinkedIn.
  • Additionally, offer your help. Encourage invitees to call you. Establish that they can benefit from being connected to you.
  • 5Be aware of the character limitations for LinkedIn invitations:
    • Invitation with email address: 2,000 characters —
      Use "Invite by email" on the Add Connections page.
    • Invitation without email address: 300 characters —
      Click "Connect" on the person’s profile.

Did you know?*
According to a Sales Benchmark Series finding, you are almost five times more likely to schedule a first meeting if you have a personal LinkedIn connection.

For more from D. Bruce Johnston, visit our Leveraging LinkedIn page.

*Source: Sales Benchmark Series, 2014.

FINRA regulates the use of social media. Advisors should consult their compliance departments about restrictions regarding the use of social media before accessing any social media networks for a business purpose.

This content is for informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of any content on LinkedIn, or any app, service, or publicly traded company. It is also not a recommendation to buy or sell a particular security.

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