Archive for LinkedIn Open Networker

Should you be a LinkedIn LION?

[tweetmeme]I just received yet another invitation to connect with member of LinkedIn. It was the default message “I would like to add you to my network,” which I dislike as I stated in an earlier blog.

When I went to the person’s profile it was practically barren with a weird gravatar instead of a photo of the person. I quickly hit “delete.” But it got me to thinking, is it a good thing to be a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker)? They accept all invitations.

I think not, and here’s why.

Would you like to connect on LinkedIn

Image via Wikipedia

The original premise of LinkedIn was that you should only connect with people you know. That’s why you’re given all the choices to check off when you want to connect with someone – to prove you know him or her. However, with the “friend” option, you can basically connect with anyone.

Why You Shouldn’t be a LION

Why would anyone hit the “accept” button on an invitation like the one I received? I’ve also receive invitations from people who are so far removed from what I do that I can’t understand why they would want to connect. Maybe so they can see that magic “500+” connections on their profile that makes they seem like they belong to an exclusive club. In full disclosure, I do connect on a limited basis with members of groups I belong to once I’ve taken a look at their profile and website. They may belong to a company I’m interested in or we’ve engaged in group discussions. The question I ask myself: is this someone I want in my network that other people can see?

This is the main reason I feel it’s important to be selective with the members of your network. Potential clients and employers may look at who your connections are. They are interested in the quality of the people you know – do you have connections among former employers or clients?  It won’t look good if you’ve got people in your network who make them scratch their heads.

What do you think? Do you feel it’s OK to be a LION?


How to Write a LinkedIn Invitation

I regularly receive invitations to join the network of other LinkedIn members.

Today I received this compelling invitation:

Good evening Jeannette, we are both members of NYEBN. I viewed your profile and based on your experience and expertise, I feel you would make a great connection. Please let me know if there is anything that I can help with.

Would you mind connecting?

All the best,

I was intrigued and went into his profile and, indeed, our companies and services are highly complementary and he’s someone I’d like to know better, so I accepted his invitation. We both live in New York so I’ll be in touch to explore how our mutual interests might lead to collaborating on business or referrals to other people.

I am not a LION, or open networker on LinkedIn. Those are members who are open to connecting with anyone who extends an invitation. The original premise of LinkedIn was to connect with people you know, but that restriction loosened over time. So most members are agreeable to linking with people when it makes sense – and when the invitation is personalized.

How NOT to Write an Invitation

I don’t respond well – and most people don’t – to the default LinkedIn invitation:

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

– Joe Blow

Many members delete these invitations because they are not personalized.  The canned invitation seems spamm-y and shows no interest in me as a fellow professional. Who says I want to join your network?

Give me a reason, like Al did. Notice that he offered to help me – and didn’t ask me for anything in return.

So, the next time you want to connect with someone new on LinkedIn, take the time to craft a personalized invitation. It’s only polite and will lead to better results and stronger connections.