Please don’t add me as a connection on LinkedIn unless you REALLY mean it!

It’s not the numbers that count on LinkedIn but the relationship and being connected for the ‘right’ reasons. I get lots of canned ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network‘ messages that almost everyone sends.  My immediate thought is always, ‘No you wouldn’t, if it were professional, you’d approach this in a professional manner’! Then I relent, a little, after all LinkedIn makes it so easy to do ‘happy clicking’ to a list of people it thinks you might know, just because they are connected to someone you are already linked to.

I have taken to replying to such requests with an email back asking them to explain why they thought connecting with me was a good idea.  Most of those that do reply send back something more considered telling me why I popped up. We then have the basis of a new business relationship – they know more about me, I know more about them and we have established a point of connection.  They may even realise that I’m serious when I say I want to get to know everyone I connect with. And that I am genuinely interested in what they are doing and why they are doing it.

Some people will suggest that you connect because we are in the same group or you’ve just moved to same county as me or that you’re looking to build up a new network in this market section.  These amendments to the canned message also do not suffice because these requests are often made by people trying to increase their numbers. They also have the feeling of someone trying to build an easy mailing list for the next time they can’t be bothered to send individual messages.

In my humble opinion, the correct way to connect on LinkedIn is to visit the person’s profile, get a feel for what the benefits are to both you and them of connecting and then send a simple, short message explaining. It might be something along the lines of ‘it was great to meet you at .xxx. event and I enjoyed our conversation about .xxx. I’d like to keep in touch to follow up so it would be great to connect’.

What do you think? Do you have any connection request horror stories or do you just accept all who come along regardless?


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  1. Well, I don’t know you – we have never met, but I do like the blog, and it made me sit up and reflect on the number of people who are connected to me on LinkedIn – and most of them I don’t really know! Thank you, Eddie

  2. I have no problem adding someone to my network but I do have a problem with getting a follow-up email asking for a recommendation. It is LinkedIn itself that has perpetuated the whole idea of recommending without knowing someone. The same goes for the endorsements. I was chasing around people who endorsed me, reading what they are up to and then endorsing 🙂 – this time-waster got old really quickly.
    Linda, I am guilty of not returning emails because much of the time they are filled with follow me here and there, check out my books, site, blog… When I have connected, it seems to go by the wayside really quickly – similar to a lovely one night stand.

  3. I know, it’s unfortunate and one of the main reasons that I personally never send messages to potential connections this way. If you were to use it though then perhaps a follow up message to say ‘hi’ would be in order too 🙂

  4. “I’m particularly fed up with receiving the canned ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network‘ message that almost everyone sends”

    While I understand this, if you’re using a app rather than the website (iphone, pad, android, blackbery) the “invite to connect” button sends this message automatically and does not offer the opportunity to personalise the message.

  5. Wow, I’ve not come across that one before Nick – I think that’s taking the whole spam linking to an absolute extreme. What did you do with the recommendation?

  6. I do agree. its very easy to get spammed in linkedin. the most recent weird thing was someone writing a recommendation for me who I had never met…..its an odd form of self promotion for the person writing that prose…so yes i know what you mean about a lack of meaningful engagement from certain people.

  7. I’m always up for a challenge and thanks back to you as well. I shall find you on LinkedIn Steve and ask you to connect – following my own advice naturally. It seems that ‘birds of a feather …’ and all that still rings true and those of us who have been around the block webwise for more years than we probably care to remember understand that the value of the web is in connecting people to people rather than in being a faceless entity only intent on selling.

  8. Linda, Your taking time to shoot me a note about my comment elsewhere is classy. Now that I have read your thoughts you kindly labeled a “rant” you have a great way of sharing who you are while you state your case. Nifty!
    I would be honored to add value to your pursuits too. Share a challenge and let’s see how “I Ship” per one of my many mentors, Seth Godin, whom I have been following long before so-called social networking or before it was “fashionable” if you will.
    Here’s to a decent weekend for all of us.
    Your newest or newer advocate!
    Thank you, Linda. Stephen “Steve” Q – Delray Beach FL