Please Get the LinkedIn Invitation Right!

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. 

Management Week in Review for March 18, 2011

Note from Art: every week, I share three thought-provoking management posts for the week. Fair warning: I take a broad view of management, so my selections will range from leadership to innovation to finance and personal development and beyond.

This week’s selections feature content on why you need to know more about Baldrige, rethinking your ideas on measuring marketing ROI and the powerful impact of Social Business on your firm’s reputation and ultimate success.

-From Steve George at Baldrige.com, Baldrige Benefits the U.S. While not the official website for Baldrige, Steve George has developed a remarkable treasure trove of information, services and helpful resources for this important and grossly under-marketed program.

In this time of remarkable challenge for businesses in the U.S. and around the world, Baldrige offers a powerful framework for planning, leading and managing your business. It’s not a silver bullet, but unless you’ve read the latest Criteria for Performance Excellence and looked at the free tools and studied how others are applying this program, you are ill informed, like much/most of the population. The piss-poor marketing of this program by our government actually makes me angry. (I’ve offered to help fix it.)  OK, off my soapbox on this one. Check out Steve’s site and check out the Criteria and other info at the official site.

From the post: “Interest in Baldrige has remained consistent for twenty years, with bumps in attention when healthcare and education criteria and awards were added, but it has never really caught on in executive suites and boardrooms across America. Those organizations that have integrated Baldrige know how well it works, but they remain a small minority in a country that could truly benefit from the Baldrige model.”

-From David Meerman Scott at WebInkNow, Marketing ROI and What You Should Measure. David just keeps cranking out remarkable and remarkably helpful material for all of us as we experiment with the many new tools of marketing. In this one, David suggests that it’s time to rethink our traditional approaches to measuring marketing performance. There’s a bit of Deming’s “unknown and unknowable” in his observations on why this is not as simple as counting followers or likes on Facebook. I always read David’s posts for the main course and then loop back for the comments with dessert.

From the post: “Now we can earn attention by creating and publishing online for free something interesting and valuable: a YouTube video, a blog, a research report, photos, a Twitter stream, an e-book, a Facebook page. But how should we measure the success of this new kind of marketing? The answer is that we need new metrics. I’m critical of applying old forms of offline measurement to online marketing.

From Bret L. Simmons at Positive Organizational Behavior: Ugly Customer Service is Bad Social Business. Bret is quickly becoming a major voice in the Social Business arena, and he’s someone I learn from daily. One of the things I love about many of his posts is his propensity to connect social media/social business with how we live, learn and choose. In the example here, Bret showcases how dumb-ass marketing and stupid comments from poorly trained representatives can turn into bad outcomes for the business at the speed of  a tweet…or at least a post.

From the post: “As I’ve said before, service providers will fail from time to time. I’m fine with that. But when a paying customer – especially a loyal one – gives you the opportunity to address what they think was a service failure, you better provide impressive service recovery. If you don’t recover in the eyes of the customer, you earned both the loss of their business and the bad word of mouth marketing they will spread about your business in their increasingly connected social networks. Ugly customer service is very bad for social business.”

Ok, that’s it for the week. I’ll be back on Monday with a new Leadership Caffeine to help you jump-start your week.

And I’m excited to be releasing my new Decision-Making workshop program next week. I’ve run the early versions with great success in association and organizational settings and I’m looking for teams and groups interested in improving performance immediately with this critical and often highly flawed process.  You can reach me on this or any other of my workshop, consulting or speaking offerings via e-mail. I look forward to helping!