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LinkedIn Invitations – what do you do? More expertise from the LinkedIn community

April 12, 2012

Some thoughts…

When you receive an invitation to connect………..

  1. Do you need to know the person?

  2. Is what they do relevant?

  3. Is their position relevant?

  4. Does the number of contacts they have make a difference?

  5. Are you connecting for your benefit or for the benefit of others?

Some questions I asked myself and my answers…..

1. Not necessarily so Joe!  They have taken the time to locate you, perhaps even viewed your profile.  If this has the key points in then who knows who they are going to talk to, surely to respond is polite and we are told in every customer/potential customer care situation to treat people as you yourself would like to be treated.

2. Absolutely not relevant – everybody is somebodies somebody.  We do not know what talents, skills and knowledge we may need in the future see  answer 5

3. Their position – not relevant at all – today’s executive could be tomorrows captain of industry.  Think about the people you grew up with – what are they doing now and how did they get to the positions they are in – how many people are the connected to?

4. Number of contacts they have – we all started somewhere -probably at zero or did we just upload Outlook and hope for the best?  Being amongst people’s first time connections – probably not such a bad thing?

5. What about the people we know who may need help – what goes around comes around.  An excerpt from an article by CHUCK GALLOZZI  perhaps sums this up…..

“An interesting irony of life is we find what we seek by giving it away. How do we make friends? Isn’t it by first becoming one? How do we win respect? By first respecting others. The same principle applies to abundance. The more we try to give it away, the more it multiplies and comes back to us. Be kind. Be generous. Be helpful. And when you are, you will discover you live in an immensely kind, generous, and helpful world.

Abundance.. is about awakening to the riches in our midst and the riches in our minds, hearts, and souls. For as Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749 ~ 1832) wrote, “He who is plenteously provided for from within, needs but little from without.”

But, as Epicurus (c.341 ~ 270 BC) warns us, “Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” How shall we treat our fellow travellers who are also seeking abundance?

Benjamin Disraeli (1804 ~ 1881) provides the answer: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”

I am not suggesting going out gathering connections for the sake of it – merely give people who have contacted you with an invitation to connect some time and thought.  As Winston Churchill said “We make a living out of what we get, we make a life out of what we give’

The comments below have come from the discussions on LinkedIn in the Business Network SW Group and Nigel Botterill’s Entrepreneurs Circle group

  1. From Hugh Graham – The Bid Coach

    I use LinkedIn quite a lot and try to apply the following rules:
    1. I want to connect with those with whom there is a mutual opportunity for benefit, either immediatley, but most likley in the future. Quite often I contact people I don’t know directly. To counter this I always send them a personalised message explaining why I am contacting them. This doesn’t always work, but I hope that it at least demonstrates that I’m not just collecting contacts in order to simply grow my contacts database.
    2. Connect with former colleagues or acquaintances – just for the sake of it, although it is then surprising who they know who could then fall into 1.
    3. If someone asks me to connect and they have only done so through the std LinkedIn message I am immediately suspicious, but I try to at least read their profile. If they have added a personlaised message I always read their profile before replying.
    4. I always send a message back to anyone who accpts an invitation to connect, thanking them for connecting and I always send a note to those who invite me to connect too.
    5. Be active in discussion groups and connect with people who are also active in the same groups

    I am unsure about the etiquette in a couple of areas though.
    For example, I think one shouldn’t add all new LinkedIn contacts to a mailing list straight away, and also is it too much to ask people who you have only just connected with if they would mind if you do send them regular updates (which is another way of saying you’re putting them on a mailing list).

    I also know that if people say they don’t know you LinkedIn will partially disable your profile – this is not irreversible but is a nuisance! So my advice here would be that if you don’t know someone who has asked you to connect ignore their request unless you think they are only a serial contacts collector.
    OK, rant over, I look forward to reading the thoughts of the rest of the group.

  2. From Julia Bramble

    Thanks for the discussion! I agree with Hugh’s points on the whole, although i don’t altogether agree that accepting an invitation on LinkedIn is then saying ‘yes’ to being included in someone’s email marketing list. Equally I can’t stand being sent spam LinkedIn DMs inviting me to events in the other side of the country.
    I love connecting with people I don’t necessarily know already but would like to get to know – that’s part of the power of this network. And, as Hugh says, if you always personalise and give a reason for connecting in this instance, you stand a good chance of success. After all, you wouldn’t go up to a stranger at a party and say ‘let’s be friends’ would you? (well, some might, I know! …)
    Like everything else in business and especially social media, LinkedIn activity works best with a strategy behind it …. and etiquette to the fore

  3. From Maz Lopez | A Maz Lopez Production | Social Media • I agree to an extent that people with 500+ contacts tend to be serial collectors. But before making a decision take a look at their connections, is there anyone on there that may be of interest to you? If they have a complete profile chances are that they’re not a serieal collector of contacts but rather a really good networker.

    If you belong to a few networking groups over a short time you can quite easily pick up contacts, equally if you work for a large company or a contractor of a large company you too will have a lot of contacts.

    The choice is yours, if someone really is desparate to link with you and you have ignored their request changes are that they will attempt to make contact in a different way.

    I attract a lot of business through LinkedIn so for me as I build my contacts I try to keep them in check. But I rarely ignore a request as you never know when someone can come in handy. I have even had work from overseas thanks to LinkedIn!

    Those are my two-cents for what it’s worth!

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