Let’s give a quick shout-out to Mom, who taught us many important lessons. Even though she may have exaggerated a bit when she said we’d ruin our eyes if we held them cross-eyed for too long and that sitting too close to the TV would rot our brains, she was right about a lot. Remembering the value of using good manners and being respectful of others were two of the lessons which have stood the test of time. Even as we move much of our communication online, these lessons are no less applicable. In fact, they are likely more important than ever as stark words on a computer screen are easily misunderstood if we’re not careful.
One small example of this relates to the LinkedIn invitation. When we invite someone to join our network of connections on LinkedIn, the invitation is populated with generic, default language. Many people on LinkedIn won’t mind or notice the default “I’d like to add you to my network” language, but there are many others who see this as anything ranging from bad manners to spam. In fact, many LinkedIn invitations are in fact spammy, sent by people looking to connect indiscriminately to any and everyone to increase the number of people in their network.
If you’d like to heed your mother’s advice and demonstrate your good manners when inviting others to connect on LinkedIn, I recommend that you take a moment to customize the text in the invitation. It is considerate to remind the other person how you know one another and why you would like to connect with them, as opposed to connecting with someone to increase the size of your network.
Suggested language you might want to consider including in the invitation:
- Wonderful to meet you at the marketing conference last week.
- Following up on our conversation and would like to link up here so I can introduce you to a top-notch sales guy in my network.
- Read some of your blog posts, very impressive, would like to connect and talk further.
- Long time, no see. Haven’t seen you since we were sorority sisters at Tech.
- Bob, this is your wife. Add me to your network so I have at least one connection. Now, please.
Anyway, I think you get the idea. Let me know why you want to connect with me and please remind me how I know you, just to avoid any awkwardness in case I might have forgotten.
This concludes your etiquette lesson for the day. Now, say “Thank you” and, for goodness sake, please sit up straight.
If you enjoyed this post, sign up to receive free updates by email here to be sure you don’t miss any future Almost Savvy news. You are also invited to connect with others interested in social media on the friendly folks on the Almost Savvy page on Facebook where we share news and tips.
I go one step further. Before I send the LI invite, I usually have an email, phone, or in-person conversation with that person. Then I send an LI invite that says, “As promised, here’s the invitation to LinkUp.”
Thank you for the examples of things to add to the request to form a linkedin connection. I’ve wondered about that on all of the networking sites.
Indeed, some think even a professional networking site like LI is still a win the most friends competition. It’s sad really….
This is such good advice.
For me, the generic invitation has always seemed so impersonal. But,here’s the important thing for me:
I belong to TopLinked on LinkedIn. As a result, I get a LOT of invitations from people I don’t know(which drives me slightly nuts) and they come in to my LI inbox looking EXACTLY THE SAME as the ones I SHOULD be and WANT to be responding to right away. However, I can’t tell, if I don’t know someone’s name, one invitation from the other!!
So, the only way I know to answer you right away is if you send me a personalized invitation so the first seven or so words I see in my inbox are something like, “Leslie, I met you at… or I know you through Twitter or…XYZ referred me to you…or something similar.
In simpler words: I am not able to catch important invitations if the invitation is not personalized somehow in the first 7 words as they appear in my inbox.
I hope this helps everyone understand why, besides good manners, personalized invitations can be so important if you are trying to connect with someone who has limited time and gets a lot of mail on LinkedIn.
Thanks for the good info here- I appreciate it!
Excellent points, Leslie. It is a matter of manners and practicality. We need to look at it from the point of view of the recipient, how will it appear to them?
Social media allows us to be more of the real person we are.
It’s wonderful that we don’t have to use business language or pretend we’re a different person part of the day.
I say “If you can tell the difference between work and play, you aren’t doing one of them right”
Just mind your manners, do what Mom taught you or you learned in Kindergarten and you’ll be fine
Very good article, Irene. I’ve found that the “customized” invitation works best, especially when I haven’t worked with some of my contacts for years.
I especially like the “Bob, this is your wife.” example. Funny!
Good points Irene.
I got an invitation from a co-worker to connect that had me scratching my head. The wording was changed from the standard LinkedIn invitation message, so I knew he changed it. But it was changed in such a way that I thought it actually written by a robot. I’ve known this person for almost 19 years, so the impersonal invitation was a sort of shock. I’m going to ask him about it when I see him.
To me, personalization helps. Show me the thing that links us and I’ll add you to my network.
Your point is so well taken. I received an invitation from LinkedIn and did not recognize the person’s face or the name. It was the generic invitation. When I responded with I don’t know this person, the person followed up with an email identifying herself and where she knew me from and said she was having trouble connecting with me on linked in…we had a good laugh over it since we had met on another forum but until we straightened it out, it was perplexing and frustrating for both of us.
I couldn’t agree more. I think you’re “completely savvy” with this advice, Irene.
Thanks for the sharing this again via Twitter. It’s a great reminder! When I receive invitations that aren’t personalized, I will accept them if I know who the person is, and will send a note reminding them that they might get better results if they personalize the invitation. If I don’t know/remember the person, I ask them why it would be a good idea to connect. Not sure why folks don’t automatically personalize – perhaps it’s all the relationship short-hand we use these days!
Good manners is so important.
People do want to link for the sake of linking up and it’s just bad manners.
Over the coming months, I plan to unlink from many people I have nothing in common who I have allowed to link to me and continue asking those that I have something in common with and can add value to their professional life if they would like to link up to me
Thank you for the samples.