5 Ways to Get More LinkedIn Connections Without Targeting Strangers in 2023 (Real Scripts Included)


You don’t have to send LinkedIn connection requests to strangers to get more connections on LinkedIn.

There are five groups of people you likely aren’t connecting with yet on LinkedIn even though you already know who they are.

They’re also at least twice as likely to accept your connection request than a stranger on LinkedIn.

Sounds like a win-win, right?

In this post I’m going to show you five ways to get more LinkedIn connections without targeting complete strangers.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Connect with coworkers you interact with

You might be thinking: “I don’t want to add my co-workers on LinkedIn.”

That’s a real pity.

Because they have direct experience working with you and can best vouch for your skills and expertise on LinkedIn, making them a very valuable connection. And they’ll almost always accept your connection request.

I’ve been at my new job for just a few months and I’m already connected with 41 people from my company on LinkedIn:


Some of these people I connected with after just one meeting with them.

Here’s an example:


Doing this sends the signal that you’re someone who cares about building their network and that you see them as a valuable connection.

I’ve also found this warms up your next interaction with them at work because you feel more familiar. And both your LinkedIn profiles provide additional context about who you are.

Once you’re connected with your coworkers on LinkedIn, they can elevate your personal brand by endorsing the skills on your profile and giving you recommendations.

For example, two of the endorsements for my Product Management skill on LinkedIn are from my previous coworkers at Broadridge:

Skills endorsements from present or past coworkers make it a lot more believable that you have those skills. Because they’ve seen those skills first-hand while working with you.

Should you connect with all your coworkers on LinkedIn, though?

There’s certainly no harm because you work in the same industry, can vouch for each other’s skills and likely benefit from having each other in your networks.

But if that feels like overkill and you’re more of a fan of the 80:20 rule, focus on connecting with coworkers you interact with regularly at work. They’re most likely to endorse your skills and give you recommendations, anyway.

Bonus points if they’re active on LinkedIn because then they’re likely to engage with your content, too.

I recently connected with a product manager I work with who’s quite active on LinkedIn. They regularly leave comments on my LinkedIn posts, like this one:

I also connected with my VP of Communications who’s also active on LinkedIn. They ended up leaving this really nice comment on one of my LinkedIn posts:

Comments from coworkers like this can elevate your personal brand on LinkedIn by showing others that the people you work with appreciate your insights and like you as a person.

Your coworkers can be your biggest cheerleaders — you just need to create an avenue for them to validate your expertise and vouch for you on LinkedIn.

And remember: The more people you connect with from your company, the easier it is to connect with more people from your company because of more mutual connections.

A little flywheel to help you get more LinkedIn connections.

2. Connect with vendors or freelancers you interact with

Whether you have a full-time job or work for yourself, you likely come into contact with vendors or freelancers. Similar to your coworkers, they can vouch for your skills and expertise because they have direct experience working with you.

They’re also very likely to accept your connection request because they know who you are.

It’s best to connect with them as soon as you first meet them because you’ll appear most familiar to them at that point.

Here’s a personalized message I sent with my connection request to the designer at the design agency I started working with in my job right after we had our first introductory call:

They obviously accepted.

It’s a small interaction but it showed them I’m serious about the work we’re about to do and felt it was important to establish a connection with them. And if I ask them to endorse the skills on my LinkedIn profile or write me a recommendation in the future, they’re more likely to agree to it.

3. Connect with speakers whose talks you attended (or attendees of your talks)

A great way to get more LinkedIn connections without targeting strangers is to connect with speakers whose talks you’ve attended. Or people who have attended your talks.

These are relevant LinkedIn connections because you’re both clearly interested in the same topic.

To maximize your chances of having your LinkedIn connection request accepted, send it right after the talk. Include a personalized connection message and mention the value you got from their talk or thank them for attending your talk.

Here’s a personalized connection request I sent to Kelsey Gernert at Hubspot after I attended her talk on SEO at Vancouver Startup Week in 2020:

She accepted because the timing of my connection request was relevant and I’d mentioned the exact value I’d gotten from her talk.

When I gave a talk to 100+ attendees at Product Camp Cascadia in March 2021, I went through the entire list of attendees and sent everyone I could find on LinkedIn (which was 54 of them) a connection request with a personalized message that looked like this:

90% of them accepted because they remembered my talk from a few days ago and had gotten value from it. Also, they were probably a little flattered I’d reached out to them individually.

Most speakers don’t do this, which helped me stand out and get more connection requests accepted.

These people are great additions to my LinkedIn network because they’re product managers just like me.

4. Connect with people who engage with your LinkedIn content

This is an easy group of people to target to get more LinkedIn connections because they’re already familiar with you since they engaged with your content. And they’ve self-selected as someone who’s interested in the content you post.

If you have the time to connect with every person who’s engaged with your LinkedIn posts, great.

Just be careful with automation tools like Phantom Buster’s LinkedIn Post Likers and LinkedIn Post Commenters — LinkedIn doesn’t like these tools and may ban your account if you use them (too much or at all.) I’ve never tried them because I don’t want to risk getting my account banned.

Another option is to connect with people who comment on your LinkedIn posts. Comments are a stronger proxy for engagement than likes because likes are easy to give out without too much thought.

Here’s a personalized connection request I sent to Bec Badcock who commented on one of my LinkedIn posts about good/bad leadership:

You’ll often find these people have already been consuming your LinkedIn content and getting value from it. So are very likely to accept your connection request, especially when it’s personalized like that.

And they make great relevant LinkedIn connections because you “share a passion topic” as Bec put it.

5. Connect with people who’ve shared your content with their audience

People who’ve shared your content with their audience are ideal to connect with on LinkedIn because their audience likely overlaps with yours. And they’re very likely to accept your connection request because they know who you are — they shared your content!

Here’s a personalized message I sent with my connection request to Étienne Garbugli, who shared my article on how to do customer interviews in his newsletter back in March 2021.

Étienne accepted my connection request because he knew exactly who I was. And he’s a valuable connection to me because he might share my content with his audience again in the future.

Étienne also ended up telling me how he’d discovered my article (through Tristan Kromer.)

Turns out, I’d already connected with Tristan a month before that after reading a fantastic article he’d written.

Here’s the personalized message I’d sent Tristan with a LinkedIn connection request:

Now it’s your turn

If you’ve read up to this point, chances are you’ve enjoyed this post. And if you’ve enjoyed this post, you’re probably interested in LinkedIn personal branding — one of the main topics I talk about.

So if we’re not already connected on LinkedIn, send me a personalized connection request telling me what value you got out of this post. I’ll 100% accept.

And if we’re already connected on LinkedIn, head over to LinkedIn and connect with:

  • A coworker who can vouch for your skills, or
  • A vendor or freelance you recently interacted with, or
  • A speaker whose talk you attended recently, or
  • An attendee of a recent talk you did, or
  • Someone who left a comment on your recent LinkedIn post, or
  • Someone who shared your content with their audience

Do it now. Do it today.