To start your LinkedIn online relationship you need to invite them to become part of your network. As with all relationships the only way to do it is with courtesy, politeness and good manners.
When you use the default message LinkedIn, it says “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. I believe this message ticks none of those boxes.
When it’s time to invite someone to connect the box below appears:
‘Include a personal note (optional)’ says LinkedIn. It should read “We strongly recommend you send a personal note and unless you know the person very well remind them where you have previously met. If you haven’t met explain clearly why you want to connect.”
1 When you tick ‘I don’t know Emily’ LinkedIn says, strongly, that you cannot link in.
2 When you click either ‘Friend’ or ‘Other’ you will be asked for an email address. If you click other please explain in your invitation the reason you want to connect.
3 ‘Colleague’ and ‘Classmate’, these are easy as you are asked which company or school/ university you were at. The software matches your profile with theirs so it works a treat.
4 When you select the ‘We’ve done business together’ option the drop down shows your own present or past employers / businesses. Many people use this option when they find the other options don’t work even though it might be untrue. What a way to start a relationship!
My advice is if you can only use this button, explain in your invitation why you used it and apologise for doing so. At least that way you have started off the connection with some honesty. If you’re a recruiter it maybe you have a position for them.
When I invite someone I haven’t previously met:
This is my usual invitation
Can I begin by saying I don’t think we have met. But every business relationship starts somewhere. If you kindly accept my invitation I will then contact you further to build on this ‘virtual’ relationship to arrange a call or a meeting.
Be careful about the buttons you press:
Don’t invite people on your smart phone or tablet as the app does not give you an option to send a personal invitation.
All around LinkedIn you see people’s names with a ‘Connect’ button. Again it seems when you hit it you send the default invitation.
It is always best to go to their profile and use the blue Connect button.
Behave online as courteously as you do face-to-face. After all it is simply about relationship-building.