Is it me? Am I the only one who finds the standard invitation to join someone's LinkedIn network somewhat abrupt and cold? LinkedIn has made it quick and simple to send invitations to anyone and everyone. You just go to your profile, search, find a name and click "Connect." Off goes a message that reads, "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." How impersonal is that? Of course you have the option to add a personal message, but very few people do.
While I do have friends who invite me to join them on their network, I frequently receive invitations from people whom I don't know and have never heard of. Upon checking their profile, I can usually discover that these people have a product or service that they would like to promote. Other times it is impossible to figure out the connection and the reason for the invitation.
It occurs to me that if you want to invite someone to join you, you need to word your invitation carefully and courteously. Here are my thoughts on how to send an invitation and respond to one.
- Always, always, always, personalize your message.
- If you don't have a history with these people, explain why you want them to join you.
- Perhaps you should remind them of how you met.
- Reference an article or post they have written.
- Comment on something about their profile.
- Mention the mutual benefit of being connected.
- In short, take the time to explain your invitation.
Now, how do you respond to invitations from seemingly total strangers?
- Be forth coming and acknowledge the invitation.
- Ask how you are connected.
- If it doesn't seem to be a good fit, send a courteous message when you decline the invitation. Leave a good impression.
Finally, when someone agrees to join you on LinkedIn, be sure to send a thank you reply.
It is not about how many connections you have. It is about how many meaningful connections you have. It is not a numbers game. It is what you do with the numbers that count.
P.S. If you would like to help your employees get the most out of their business networking, invite me to present "Networking Magic".
About Lydia Ramsey
Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, executive etiquette coach, professional speaker and author of Manners That Sell™, offering keynotes and seminars to corporations, associations, colleges and universities. To learn more about Lydia, her services and products, go to her website, Manners That Sell.
If you would like to have Lydia speak at your next meeting or conference contact her online or call her at 912-598-9812.
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