How do I connect with people on LinkedIn, that I don’t know?

LinkedIn discourages you from connecting directly with people you don’t know, but there are many ways around this.
Start by doing some research and looking at the person’s profile:
•    Some people include their email address in their profile, so you can send them an email, start a conversation and invite to connect.
•    Other people are in several groups, you can see the groups they’ve joined and start a discussion and make contact.
•    The public profile may highlight that they are attending specific events. You can say you’re ‘interested’ in these events and make contact with those in the guest list. Simply look at the main toolbar and click on MORE/ EVENTS, click the button that says you’re interested or attending – other people can see you will be there and this starts a conversation.

LinkedIn is also about ‘degrees of separation:

  • If I’m connected to someone, I’m one degree of separation away (a #1 appears after their name). 
  • If I know someone who knows this person there is a #2 and so on. 
  • Look at those you are interested in connecting with and if there’s a #2 after their name you can see who you know, that knows that person. Then you can ‘ask for an introduction’ through LinkedIn.
Don’t forget to personalise the standard templates and give really good reasons why you want to connect.
Alternatively, I pay $19.95 a month for a Business Premium account in LinkedIn and on of the benefits is that I can send a certain number of ‘inmails’. This means I can contact someone directly via LinkedIn. If you had this, you could contact many people where you don’t know them, but feel there may be some synergy.