Chad has been a professional writer in the information technology and entertainment industries for more than ten years. Currently living in Denver Colorado, Chad contributes articles to many online publishers, including the Arizona Republic, the Houston Chronicle, eHow, EPIC Productions and TheAppzine. He is also experienced in grant writing, technical writing, SEO marketing, Web design and IT consulting.
Chad held an internship as a knowledge engineer for the University of New Mexico's public and internal IT support documents. He later moved on to a technical specialist position providing computer support, documentation and maintenance at Anderson School of Management, UNM.
After graduating from UNM with his Bachelor's degree in professional writing and business management, Chad continued his education abroad through an international business graduate program at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
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How to Write Effective LinkedIn Messages
by Chad Davis
Enhance your professional network by communicating with potential contacts or other people in your organization through the LinkedIn social network. LinkedIn makes it possible to send personal messages directly to your contact’s inbox on LinkedIn. While LinkedIn’s messaging system is similar to basic email, the expectations for professionalism and personalized content are much higher. Your subject and introduction are the most crucial elements of an effective message. Understand your audience and maintain a professional tone in your LinkedIn messages. Keep your text concise, while aiming to create meaningful and personal messages. Simple and straight-forward messages are more likely to receive responses.
Put Your Subject First
When you receive a new message in your LinkedIn inbox, the first, and possibly only, text you may read is the subject line. It's important to write a concise subject using as few words as possible, while keeping it relevant to your reader. Avoid overly generic subjects, as these are less likely to attract the reader's attention, such as "Response from XYZ Corporation Support," and greetings, such as "Hello" or "Greetings from XYZ Corporation." Some good examples of subjects include "Information Regarding Your Billing Inquiry" or "Last Week's Network Conference Feedback."
Draw in Your Audience
After your subject, your introduction is the most important section of your message. Often referred to as "the hook," introductions should draw in your reader, establish your relationship or interest and provide a brief introduction of yourself. While your LinkedIn profile may provide a summary of you or your organization, you shouldn't expect that your contacts will visit your profile. A good example of an introduction is "My name is John Smith and I'm a manager with XYZ Corporation. We found your presentation at the networking conference last week very interesting and would like to know more about your project.”
Cut to the Chase
Messages on LinkedIn should be as short as possible, while still incorporating all of the important information. Each paragraph should have its own subject, however; you should always aim to use only a few short paragraphs to keep your reader's attention. If your message reads as spam, then your contact may not open future messages you send. Save lengthier explanations for after your contact has responded to your message. The second paragraph should be very direct, calling out your intentions and any relevant questions you may have. Digital communications should err on the side of conciseness rather than extensive detail.
Wrap It Up
The last two lines of your message are commonly known as the "closer" and may be used to wrap up your communication in a sophisticated manner. Thank your reader, while encouraging them to respond to your message and lay out your expectations, while remaining gracious. An example of an effective closer is, "I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing back from you. Please let me know if you have any questions." Always end your messages with "Sincerely" or "Kind Regards" followed by your full name.