December 5, 2013 12 Comments
One thing that turns me off more than an episode of the Bachelorette or flies buzzing around dessert is receiving a default invitation from someone who wants to join my LinkedIn network. To me, a default invitation is a sign of laziness, a statement of want without a sign of reciprocation. And this defies the true definition of networking.
The default invite on LinkedIn is: I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. While it clearly states a hopeful networker’s intent, I need more. Something that tells me why we should connect.
Sending the default invite is akin to going up to someone at a networking event and saying, “Hi. What can you do for me?” It’s insincere and sends the message, “I’m inviting you to be in my network, but I could care less if you join.” Is this the type of message you want to send to a potential networker?
I and others, I’m sure, are more likely to accept an invite if a thoughtful note is attached to it. So what should you write if you want someone to join your network?
- You might have something in common with whom you’re trying to connect. “Hi Susan, I’ve been following your updates and feel that we have a great deal in common. Would you accept an invitation to be in my LinkedIn network?”
- Maybe you’re the bold type. “Hey, Bob. You and I are in career development. Ain’t that cool? Let’s link up!” I like this confidence.
- You might want to take the calculated approach. “After reviewing your profile, I’m impressed with its quality and your diverse interests.” A little flattery never hurts.
- Do you need assistance? I received an invite with the following message: “Please have a look at my profile and tell me what you think. I’ve been on LinkedIn since before it was, well, LinkedIn!” I looked at his profile and was impressed. I gladly accepted his invite.
- Inviting someone to be part of your LinkedIn network is a perfect way to follow up with that person after a face-to-face meeting. “Sam, it was great meeting with you at the Friends of Kevin networking event. I looked you up on LinkedIn and thought we could stay in touch.”
- Boost the person’s ego. “Bob, I read one of your posts and thought it was spot on. I’d like to connect with you.” Or “Jason, I saw you speak at the Tsongas Arena and what you said really resonated with me. I’d like to follow up with you.”
These are some mere suggestions that would entice someone like myself to accept an invite. When I’m sent an invite, I only request a personalized note–it’s not that hard, really. So rather than just hitting the Send Invitation button, take a few seconds to compose something from the heart.
One solution I’ve heard and think is sound is eliminating the default message altogether, thereby requiring someone to write a personalized note. LinkedIn suggests, “Include a personal note,” but this doesn’t seem to work for some.
Note: If you send an invite from your mobile phone, you don’t have the option to write a personalized note; so wait until you’re in front of a computer to send the invite.