Here are some tips and ideas for you.
* It is fine to visit their profile once or twice, prior to making the connection request.
* Always include a personal message and start this with their name; triple check that you have the correct spelling for their name.
* I start my messages with ‘Hi’, however, you may feel that ‘Dear’ is more appropriate.
* Make the message about them, not you. Mention something that you noticed about them and / or their organisation, within the connection request message.
* If possible, refer to someone you both know (if they are a mutual LinkedIn connection, so much the better).
* Mention a Linkedin Group that you both belong to. (This is a good reason to join Groups, by the way).
* Mention something that you saw in their website or in the media.
* Before you press send, check the spelling carefully.
Here is an example of Message or In-Mail to a new contact:
I have been reading your articles within LinkedIn about (ISSUE) and I noticed that we both know (CONTACT NAME). I have visited your website www.theirwebsite.com and I read (BLOG OR WEB PAGE) with interest. It would be great to connect with you.
Kind regards, (YOUR NAME)
How would you feel if you received a message like this? You would probably think to yourself that at least they have taken the time and trouble to write a personalised message.
The recipient of the connection request will probably look at your LinkedIn profile. Therefore, it is important to keep the information up-to-date. Use the available word count. For the Summary section this is 200-250 characters or about 25-42 words.
Beware of sending connections requests via your smartphone. They can whizz off without giving you the chance of including a personal message.
PS I provide LinkedIn training and talks.