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LinkedIn invitations – Five tips to avoid a recipient meltdown

I was interested to read about the now infamous 'LinkedIn fail' by the hapless Kelly Blazek.

Blazek was clearly having a bad day and took out her frustrations on jobseeker Diana Mekota who had merely invited her to connect on LinkedIn. Blazek' s behaviour cannot be condoned but to be fair she has since apologised.Whilst Blazek's rant is an interesting headline I think it also brings up some interesting questions about the process of inviting people to connect on LinkedIn.Unfortunately we are not able to see exactly what Diana Mekota put in her invitation to connect but it does seem clear that she had written something that Blazek felt was inappropriate. This suggests that she had misjudged the recipient of her invitation to connect and I would suggest that a different approach may have resulted in a better outcome (for both parties).Here are my top five tips for inviting people to connect on LinkedIn:
  1. Never make an invitation to connect your first contact with someone. Only invite people once you have introduced yourself and engaged in some level of conversation (online or off-line).
  2. Always delete the default message "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn" and personalise the invitation.
  3. Ensure you refer to your previous engagement in the invitation.
  4. Provide a telephone number or encourage the recipient to reply to the invitation if they are unsure of your motives (email addresses or links are not permitted).
  5. Ask the recipient to consider how you may be able to help them in the invitation. This sets a positive spirit of co-operation and is more likely to ensure the relationship goes beyond just being a connection.
I do think it is very interesting to see how Blazek states that she feels Diana will "mine her top-tier marketing connections".This plays to a common and somewhat outdated perception of what a LinkedIn connection is. In the information rich world we live in with millions of profiles freely available on LinkedIn the concept of "owning" contacts is ridiculous. Blazek's "little black book" of contacts is now on the internet for everyone to see and the only thing that matters is the strength of her relationship with her contacts. Given the nature of her outburst I suspect she has every reason to be concerned!Mark Williams (aka Mr LinkedIn) is a LinkedIn trainer and expert. He also runs the popular podcast LinkedInformed

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