A question came from a client:

Sometimes I get these invitations to connect from people I may not be interested in connecting or may be suspect of their business. What is the LinkedIn Etiquette about accepting invitations?

And in checking to see if I ever covered this topic in my blog, I found I answered the “what to do if you want to correctly make a connection request” part, but never addressed what to do if you receive one and how to handle it correctly.

So here goes, with a live example that I have in process right now:

If someone asks you to connect on LinkedIn, it registers on your “My Network” tab.

I have 2 inbound requests currently pending, 1 from W and 1 from S. We will concentrate on S for this blogpiece:

I can ignore S, or accept S as connection.

Always my advice: there’s some vetting for me to do before I connect.

So to start I click “See all 2” in the top right corner. It opens up another box:

For S, when I click “Message” under his name, I get the opportunity to either

1) key in my usual open-ended questions, “Have we met? How can I help you?” or

2) I can customize the message, depending on the situation

I think the 2 open-ended questions are professionally direct and honorable in many cases where there is no nexus.

But since I already know where S and I met, (or in other cases, via a connection who e-introduced us), I will always add a more personal message referring to names and any other clues where and when we met, and my suggested next steps:

The rest of this process takes varying amounts of time: awaiting a reply from S, my coordinating the zoom chat, and then hosting it.

You can always go back to review the last installment in the chain of messages and add to the conversation along the way, and remind them of the appointment the day before the scheduled chat.

Hint: Messages are searchable by keyword or name, immensely helpful especially if the messages started a while ago.

Ahead of the scheduled zoom chat, I’ll review S’s LinkedIn profile for clues to make it more productive, and hopefully he’ll do the same for mine. I said hopefully.

I am anticipating a great chat this week.

There you have it, another glimpse into the basics of making LinkedIn more effective to build what could just well be your next great connection for success.

I wish you well using this once, or hopefully, more often. Practice makes perfect.