LinkedIn is an increasingly popular and powerful professional tool. Like many other professionals, I enjoy connecting with others via LinkedIn, and find it a remarkably useful tool for making new contacts, remaining in contact and conducting talent and firm research of all types. However, a pet peeve of mine is the generic invitations that I frequently receive from people I do and don’t know. Cut it out!
If you are on LinkedIn, you know the generic invitation. It reads: “I would like to add you to my network.” Relying on this invitation is just wrong.
If you know the person and send that invitation, it’s just rude. What, you can’t take 20 seconds to jot a note to someone you haven’t seen or talked with in 15 years? If you think so little of the person you’re inviting to join your network, why invite?
If you don’t know the person and send that invitation, it’s rude and dumb. Why should anyone accept a generic invitation to connect with someone they don’t know? No introduction, no connection. You’re either a “collector” of connections, someone who is looking for numbers and access or, you missed the memo on social media etiquette.
3 “Must Haves” for Getting the LinkedIn Invitation Right:
1. Always customize the invitation! If you are interested in connecting with someone you’ve not met, introduce yourself!
2. Always establish context. If you are reconnecting with old friends or colleagues, take a few seconds to say, “Hello.” The years melt away and memories return in the warmth of a friendly greeting. If you are seeking to connect with someone you follow or admire, describe a reason for connecting.
3. Always showcase your willingness to serve as a valued networking partner.
The Bottom-Line for Now:
There are more ways than ever to connect with people, but numbers of connections are meaningless. Quality counts, and whether you are reconnecting or introducing yourself to someone new, take the time to make it personal and relevant.