I Take It Personally

I Take It Personally bluefeet blog post by Lilli Cloud

I suppose I should be flattered that you want to be LinkedIn to me, but could you spare a minute to say hello?

Picture yourself at an in-person networking event.

  • If I hadn’t seen you in years, would you approach me and start talking? No, you would greet me first: “Hey! Great to see you! How’ve you been?”
  • If I met you yesterday and then ran into you the next day, would you pass me by? No. You’d say: “Hey! Nice to see you again. It was great talking with you yesterday…”
  • If I didn’t know you at all, would you engage me in conversation without introducing yourself? No. At least not for more than a couple of minutes.

Yet all these things happen regularly on LinkedIn. And I take it personally.

A LinkedIn blog puts it this way:

Just because LinkedIn provides a basic message “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” that doesn’t mean you have to use it. Just as no one wants to receive a robocall or a letter to “Dear Occupant,” no one wants to receive a generic request to join your professional network.

How to solve this problem:

  • In the People You May Know section, right next to the connect button is a little box with a pen, the standard edit symbol, which allows you to personalize your invitation.
  • When you search a specific person and click Connect, it takes you to a screen that asks how you know that person, and gives the generic message, which you can easily edit.

This is not hard stuff, but it does take a couple of minutes. And that would be the point. If I’m not worth two minutes of your time, or maybe five, then you’re not really interested in me.

And that’s okay. No hard feelings. I didn’t even know you weren’t interested in me — until you sent me an email to tell me:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

The reply I’d like to send — Thanks for letting me know I’m not worth 2-5 minutes of your time. I’m guessing you want to add me to your network because:

  1. You want to collect a million contacts
  2. I have a better job than you, so somehow I’ll make your network seem stronger
  3. Someone told you I might be able to help you (clearly, you need help)

The response I really give: Ignore.