Are you being proactive and current by using LinkedIn to help you reach your professional goals? Do you want to network and build your professional network?

Do you use the simple, less effective, generic invitation that LinkedIn offers to those who desire to do the minimum?

“I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

I refer to this as the “buffet-style” of networking on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, most LinkedIn invitations lack the most important information: who you are exactly, why you would like to connect, and additional information that could be useful for me to acknowledge the invitation and put it into context.

The “generic” style of reaching out has never really worked for me. I am the recipient of many of these requests. Unfortunately, most are meant with little enthusiasm. It requires work on my part since I need the time to check out your profile so I can understand why you would like to connect. This is time I often do not have. So, many requests are met with the handy “ignore” button…simply because I do not see the relevance and always feel that a personal request is necessary and definitely worth the time and effort.

Effective and really good networkers use networking intelligence to ensure that every connection is made with thought and attention; a personalized approach to building long-term and meaningful professional relationships.

LinkedIn will compensate for the lazy approach but will not build or nurture relationships for you. If you are trying to build your online professional brand, start with demonstrating your worth. Whether In-person or online, ensure your initial creates immediate impact.

Forget the buffet. Take the healthy relationship-building route on LinkedIn. Take the time to compose a message of value so that you can have a more positive experience on LinkedIn, open the door to building mutually beneficial relationships, and be seen as someone who others would like to connect with.

There is a difference between being on LinkedIn and being truly LinkedIn…starting with your approach!