Accepting LinkedIn invitations can be confusing and fraught with challenges. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to this dilemma, here are some guidelines for accepting LinkedIn invitations.Some #guidelines for accepting #LinkedIn invitations. Click To Tweet
1.Do you know the person?
Sometimes, it’s simple – someone you know and/or have worked with for years, will send you an invite. If it is someone you DO want to stay in touch with, just click on the notification icon, hover over the person’s invitation and you will see an X and a check mark. Click on the checkmark and you are done!
Sometimes, you KNOW someone but you do NOT want to connect. Maybe they are a competitor. Or maybe you don’t want this person seeing your own connections. If this is the case, just click on the X and they are gone. Note that people are notified if you DO connect but are NOT notified if you decline their invitation.
2. Do you want to be connected professionally?
Just because you KNOW someone, you may not want to connect with them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is for professional networking – if this is a old childhood friend or your dog walker, LinkedIn may not be the proper place to connect. Are they connecting just so they can share cute dog photos or a reunion video? If this is the case, you may want to ignore the LinkedIn invitation and send them a Facebook invitation instead. See below for the steps to send a message/reply via LinkedIn, without accepting an invitation.
That said, you never know WHO may be a good professional connection. Your dog walker may also walk the dog of the CEO of a key company you would like to connect with. And childhood friends are a great way to meet people in industries and regions you may not be otherwise connected with. Your LinkedIn network will stay with you your entire career. You may have an excellent position now but in 3 years, when you are looking to make a move, that network will become a very valuable asset!
And remember – it is always easier to build your network when you HAVE a job, rather than when you NEED one!It is easier to build your network when you HAVE a job, than when you NEED one! Click To Tweet
Do not dismiss an invitation just because someone is in a junior position. They are the people who will be in senior positions in a few short years. Likewise, do not dismiss people just because they are in a different industry. Maybe they could become a prospect, strategic partner, or even just a good personal connection. Never underestimate the value of a strong personal connection. If your child plays soccer with the child of a president of a company in another industry, but you spend a lot of time on the sidelines and attending or organizing events for the team, it may be worth connecting. They may, one day, be able to make an introduction and/or offer a recommendation. Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to do the same.
3.Check their profile
If you do NOT know the person who invited you, click on their name or photo to be taken to their profile. Is it filled in completely? Do you recognize them from the photo (Reminder – make sure YOU have a photo so people recognize YOU!) Are you connected to people they are already linked to? To see, scroll down the right hand sidebar on the desktop version or click on the ‘mutual connections’ link under their photo on the mobile version.
You can see a sample of the what someone posts by clicking on the little down arrow to the right of the ‘Accept Invitation’ button.
Have they posted anything recently? Do they post content of interest to you? Do they post TOO often?
Also, check to see their PUBLISHED posts – the posts they have published are listed under their profile. Is this content you would like to see in your news stream?
Keep in mind that, ideally, your professional network will include existing and past clients and prospects but also thought leaders, industry experts and strategic partners.
When attending a live networking event, do you only sit and talk with those people you already know? Probably not – you know that much of the value is in meeting NEW people.
4. Ask for more info
If someone invites you and even after looking at their profile, you are unsure of whether you want to link or not, you can send a message, via LinkedIn, to get more information. To send a reply, WITHOUT accepting the invitation, click on the notification bubble, then on the ‘Pending Invitations’ link. This will take you to a page with a slightly different version of the invitation – you will see an arrow to the upper right of the box – click on that and you will be taken to another page where you can reply. Note that you will NOT see the word reply until you hover over the arrow.
On that next page, you will see any message he/she may have sent along with the invitation and you will have the option of adding a message of your own. I often write something like, ‘Thank you for the invitation – have we met?’. You may have a different style – the idea is to send a note to help you get the info you need to make the decision about connecting or not.
Be sure to press send!
If you do not hear back from them, feel free to ignore their request. Even if they do reply, if you are not interested in connecting, do not feel obligated to accept the invitation. Your news stream will be filled with the updates and posts your connections share. Make sure that you are building a community that you WANT to engage with. And don’t worry, this need not be a life changing decision – you can always unlink at a later date if you change your mind.
This is your party, you can invite anyone you want and only allow those you want to spend time with! Please give me a call or email me at LMD@LisaMarieDiasDesigns.com if YOU need help building YOUR LinkedIn community.
Special thanks to Petr Vancura of GMS for allowing me to use his invitation as a sample here!