I love LinkedIn. This platform has opened more doors for me than Facebook ever will.
However, there is one feature I cannot stand: generic invitations.
When you add connections from the “People you may know” section, LinkedIn automatically includes a boilerplate sentence (“I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn”) with your invitation.
I understand that it limits the way you can approach people, as a result. What I don’t understand, though, is the number of rude or unprofessional answers my follow-up messages get. Let me show you two examples:
Imagine yourself at a networking event where you don’t know anyone. Would you approach people with the same generic sentence? Of course, not!
I am sure that you would introduce yourself and ask some questions. A couple of minutes into the conversation would be enough for you to decide to connect with those people beyond the event.
I co-founded LinkedIn in my living room with the mission of connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. Inspired by the invaluable role relationships played in our own careers, we launched LinkedIn with the tagline “Relationships matter.” – Reid Hoffman
This quote says it all. LinkedIn is a business-centric platform. We are there to build a relevant network of peers and valuable partnerships. But how can this happen when a majority just wants to play the numbers game and clicks the “connect” button without even looking at profiles? And what’s so wrong with asking questions as simple as “How may I help you” or “Why do you think we should be connected”?
I am not the police. Those questions just help me determine if we are a fit in the business equation.
For other things, there are Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can follow people to your heart’s content. And engaging with them is optional.
It’s time we stopped using our computer and mobile screens as an excuse to bypass courtesy rules. People are not numbers on a to-do list.