Oh, there’s another one of those LinkedIn Invitations. Why does it always feel like they’re sneaking up behind you? You can ignore them, but not for long.
At a live networking event, you’ve got time to see them coming, size them up and choose how to respond. With LinkedIn, you feel awkward, behind the curve, off balance.
LinkedIn is the #1 digital networking source for business professionals. Here are 5 tips you can use immediately to eliminate invitation anxiety, take control of the process and start enjoying your digital business networking.
Don’t Respond Immediately
Like voicemail, the sender has no idea if you’ve seen their invitation, or even received it. You should respond to each invitation, but respond accordingly. Start with the invitation. A picture is worth a 1,000 words. No picture is worth one word, NO! A generic invitation is both lazy and ignorant, See, this is easy, we haven’t even gotten to reviewing their profile.
Review Their Profile
If the sender has a photo, and has crafted a personal invitation, check out their profile. You can quickly size them up by reviewing the following. How you are connected? Who do you have in common? What elements of your skill set do you share? If your LinkedIn focus is on prospects, connecting with your peers is not the best use of your time. To which discussion groups do they belong? Is there a fit?
Respond first, Then Connect
Respond to the invite to request more information. After reviewing my LinkedIn Network last month, I now request information about why they want to connect and invite them to a phone chat before accepting their invitation. Just like a party invitation, it’s appropriate to ask, “What can I bring?”)
RSVP, Regrets Only
Not everyone will be the right fit. You don’t have to connect, but you do need to respond. LinkedIn (and the sender) will continue to contact you, so you might as well set the expectation, even if the answer is no.
Engage, With Gusto!
If you choose to accept the invitation, go for it! It is lame, not to mention shallow, to accept a LinkedIn invitation and not engage with your new contact. Be of service, start a conversation, ask questions. Engage!