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Are you being disrespectful to people when inviting them to join your LinkedIn network?
social media network
Well, you might be if you are using that horrible standard invitation - you know, the one that simply auto fills.

You are trying to encourage important professionals to become part of your valuable first-degree network, so show them some respect!

How do you make a five-star connection request?

LinkedIn has a 300-character limit, so it takes a little creativity. But when people receive a personalized message, they are much more likely to accept your invitation. Follow these simple suggestions, and you will be on your way to developing a powerful network of dynamic business professionals.

1.  Use the person's name in your greeting.

2.  Mention where you met him/her (in person, on the phone, online).

3.  Suggest a face-to-face or phone meeting if you want to develop a deeper relationship with the person.

4.  Offer something of value based on your review of the person's profile or your personal knowledge of the individual.

5.  Explain how you can help the person or how he/she could help you.

6.  Help the person feel good about the connection. I usually say, "I would be honored to have you join my LinkedIn network."

7.  Include a friendly closing statement. "Sincerely" is a little bit stiff in most circumstances. For instance, I might say "Go Pack Go" to a fellow Wisconsinite.

Of course, you won't be able to include all seven suggestions in every invitation, but choose the most relevant ones in each situation.

If you follow these simple suggestions, more people will say "yes" to your invitations, and your new relationships will be off to a strong start.

For more information about building a dynamic professional network, read "LinkedIn Connections Strategy-Do You Have One?"