It amazes me what people do during the process of connecting with others. In this post I’m going to give you a powerful way to respond to any invitation to connect on or off LinkedIn.

First, NEVER fail to respond with at least a thank you or some acknowledgement of the person’s invite. (See the better way below.)

Second, ALWAYS look at the other persons profile even if only for a minute. You will be surprised how often you find the most interesting pieces of gold in profiles of people you would never think of connecting with.
Personally, I like to go to their website or blog as well (if they have one). Why? To look for some way I could be of value. If nothing else I will learn who there customers are and maybe I can send them someone.

Third, send them a note that does the following.
1. Thanks them for inviting you
2. Offers to help them in any way. One way to do this is to offer free advice in your area of expertise. Ask them how you can help – who would they like to connect with, what are they looking for in their life or business that you might be able to help them find?
3. Give them a specific value if you can
4. Give them a valued connection.
5. Finally, let them know it is alright to contact you, I even provide my email and phone in my message. I also let them know that they may give my name and email to anyone they know that would like to connect or feel I could be of value.

This is only the first step of building a great relationship with your network. However, it is a very important one. As we say at HAPPEN, first impressions last – make your first impression with you new connection a great one!!

I do my best to provide powerful and practical LinkedIn advice that will actually help others succeed and I seek to share that information with as many people as possible – your help in this effort is greatly appreciated.

Thanks to Flyn Penoyer for this...