In the morning, we all have our own private office routines. Checking for phone messages, grabbing a cup of coffee, turning on our computers, and checking our email. Then there are the social media routines. For me, that means checking my Facebook and Twitter sites, and taking a quick look to see if any BLArticle® comments need approval. All of these quick steps are fairly routine because these are fairly social in nature. And then there’s one more site to go, and that’s to LinkedIn to see what activity, messages, or invitations might be waiting for me.
I’m always struck by the invitations I receive. Most are from those who attend my seminars, but I also find invitations from those who have read my books, or from an old friend, or even from… well, let’s just say somehow my name popped up on their screen. But it’s not the request per se that surprises me; it’s the total lack of warmth with which they do it that surprises me.
Please remember, for many like me, LinkedIn is not Facebook. On Facebook, I keep a casual eye on the various activities of my friends. So and so bought a new house, baked a pie, took their dog for a walk, and other fascinating surprises that life throws at these Facebook friends. For some weird reason, these friends feel a burning desire to tell us all about it, but I digress. It’s social, and anything goes.
But LinkedIn is different. For me, LinkedIn has never been about collecting as many names as possible to show my friends how popular I might be. It’s about strategically linking up with others in business, and creating a database of business acquaintances and contacts. When I send out an invitation to someone, it’s because I genuinely would like to have him or her be a part of my LinkedIn family. My assumption is that whoever is reaching out to me, is feeling the same way.
So, let’s pretend for a moment that I don’t really know you very well. Let’s also pretend that you actually want to linkup with me. Maybe you think I might somehow help you in the future, or perhaps you think I could be a good resource for you someday. Or who knows… maybe you just happen to like me. I have to assume that if you are asking me to linkup with you, you actually want me to respond and accept your invitation. Strangely enough, you would never know it by the vast majority of invitations I receive. Consider the two invitations that I received last week:
It was such a pleasure having you again at our annual conference. We always learn a lot from your presentations. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
I’d like to add you to my professional network.
I did not know either person well. Take your time and try to figure out which LinkedIn invitation I plan on responding to. I plan on accepting the first one, and I can assure you, I will take a moment to warmly thank them for reaching out. Why wouldn’t I? This person thought enough of me to reach out. Why would I just hit the “Accept” button without taking the time to thank her for her thoughtful words with a short note of my own?
Now guess which invitation I don’t intend to respond to. Judging by how little effort he put into the request, I don’t think I’ll hurt this person’s feelings in the least. He clearly has little interest in really wanting me to be a part of his LinkedIn family.
To me, it’s just common courtesy. Whether I’m reaching out to someone, or responding to someone who is reaching out to me, I hope I’m never too busy to extend a small amount of common courtesy to those who make the effort. So let’s make it official;
Thanks for the requests to linkup. It’s a pleasure to accept your invitation. Thank you so much for the kind words. Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you.