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The Mistake That People Make Every Day On LinkedIn

March 22, 2012 / in LinkedIn / by

This picture is an actual screen shot from my LinkedIn account. Ever gotten a request like this before? Do you know what’s wrong with it? Do you know the mistake that this person is making and that thousands of people make every single day on LinkedIn?

If you answered “They don’t know you. They don’t indicate why they want to connect with you. And they didn’t personalize the request, instead opting for the ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”, then you are the proud owner of a virtual high-five from me!

I wrote about this nearly two years ago, Personalize Your LinkedIn Invitations, and here we are in March 2012 and the “madness” (yes, I’m a college basketball fan) continues. 

So here are some quick LinkedIn tips to think about when you are dealing with LinkedIn invitations: 

1. Generally speaking, only connect to people that you know, trust and respect. Anyone can build a massive network of people they don’t know. And those people are generally the “takers” vs. the “givers”. Steer clear of them. 

2. When you send a LinkedIn invitation, personalize it. As I mentioned in the earlier article, using the standard default message is another way of saying: “Hello. I’m lazy. This invitation isn’t important enough for me to spend the 15-20 seconds it would take to write a personal message telling you who I am, how we know each other, and why I want to connect.”

3. As a general rule, many people do (and more people should) place tremendous value on their LinkedIn network. Respect that and don’t assume that they are going to add you to their trusted network just because you sent a LinkedIn request.

4. Most people that do this aren’t Linkedin Jerks. They simply haven’t had any training on the tool and didn’t know any better because “everyone else always sends me that standard message”. Which brings me to another point…How do you differentiate yourself on a tool like LinkedIn? It certainly isn’t by doing what everyone else is doing, right?

5. If someone sends you a LinkedIn request with the general default LinkedIn message, reply back to them and offer to meet for coffee to get to know each other first. Or reply back to start a dialogue. An actual message I sent recently is below: 

Thanks for the invitation and for taking the time to read and comment on the material you’ve read. 

I typically reserve my LinkedIn network for people that I know, trust, respect, have worked with, etc. and that is also how we train people to use LinkedIn as social media coaches. This is nothing against you personally; just the way I choose to grow and protect my network. Hope you understand.  

If I can ever help with LinkedIn training or anything else, please let me know. 

Have a great Monday, 


  1. Thank for this post Mic. Courtesy is a basic rule of conduct in face-to-face business. It should be the same on LinkedIn!

  2. I know I am really missing the boat on the Linkedin front. Part of it I think is I am just nit sure how Linkedin will work for my type of business. I also feel like I need to master one form of social media before I can move on to adding an additional. What do you think about where our efforts are best spent?

  3. Love this post, Mic. I was already doing what you suggest, but I’ve gotten three or four requests in the last two days with no custom message. AAAACK! So I’ve now re-posted your post on the subject. Hope it gets a few more reads.

  4. Nice post, Mic. I agree with you. Perhaps next you can write about the difference between Linkedin and Twitter and why users should not necessarily send their Twitter feeds to their Linkedin profile.

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