ernestineRemember Ernestine the snorting switchboard operator on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In? Lily Tomlin played her so well. One of her many memorable lines was “Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?”

Such an obviously foolish question, but we laughed at her every week back then.

I laugh now, well not really, whenever I receive a boiler-plate-default-language-LinkedIn-connection-request.

I feel much like I am speaking to Ernestine placing a phone call, “Have I reached you and would you connect to me on LinkedIn based on this simple request?” I wonder why I am being asked that obvious but silly question. I marvel at why, with such little effort and care, anyone would assume I would connect, as if that seems interesting enough for me to want to know more.

So thanks for the laughs, Ernestine, from the last century. This century the majority of invitations I receive to connect on LinkedIn make me shake my head at the business insanity and impersonal laziness of how we expect others to magically see the benefit of connecting to us without even trying to impress.

The upside? Reader, rise above the common denominator. Be memorable by giving context and offer how you can help the targeted connection.

Isn’t that just like beginning a normal business phone call: introducing yourself with a smart intro and what you hope to accomplish? It should be. Don’t be like Ernestine.