FAQ: Managing Invitations to Connect on LinkedIn 

And a carefully written note with your invitation can go a long way…

 

If the other person does not answer or accept, can I withdraw my invitation to connect?

Yes. And perhaps oddly, LinkedIn will allow you to send that person another invitation after three weeks have gone by. 

To manage sent invitations, click on the “My Network” tab and choose “manage” at the top right. 

 

Why am I being asked to provide the person’s email address that I want to invite to connect?

It is possible that the other person has set their account to only receive invitations from people who know their email address. I have never seen anyone do this. 

The more likely scenario (cue ominous music) is that you are in LinkedIn jail. This happens when you have been ignored or rejected by a large percentage of the people you have invited to connect. LinkedIn (or at least LinkedIn’s algorithms) think you are pushing your luck as to who you are inviting to connect. 

 

Do connection requests expire? 

I haven’t heard of this. In theory your connection request can sit for years, waiting for the other person to see it. In theory this kind of makes sense: a lot of users only come around every few months, so having your request expire too quickly doesn’t help you or that other person. 

 

Should I delete invites that don’t get a response? 

I do. I usually delete invites once I figure someone should have seen it and responded by now. For someone who uses LinkedIn every day, I will give them three or four days. As I am not interested in connecting with occasional users, I don’t let any invites hang around for more than two weeks. 

 

Should I send a personalized note with my invitation?

People are on both sides of the fence on whether one is really needed. I think it depends on the situation. If I know the person, or they are a logical person to accept – they work at a client company for example – no note is needed. However if they come in out of the blue, I want to know the context as to why they want to connect. 

It never hurts to add a note that gives context to why you sent the invitation. It all comes back to the “what’s in it for the other person” idea. We want to give them a reason to say “yes”.

With thanks to one of my Connections, Wayne Yoshida, who had the idea for this post and several of the questions. 

Your Single Most Important Activity On LinkedIn

What is the number one activity you should be engaging in on LinkedIn? If you only had ten minutes today on LinkedIn, what is the absolute best way you could invest that ten minutes?

Deepening your relationships with your connections.

No one is better positioned to help you accomplish your goals than your connections. They have  the knowledge and they are connected to the people that can help you. But if you are what I call a “thin” connection – for example, you connected three years ago and haven’t had contact since – then that connection may not be someone you can count on for that introduction to someone in their network.

If you have five hundred connections and your connections have an average of five hundred connections, you have a quarter million second degree connections. In that quarter million people are going to be prospective customers, suppliers, contractors, partners and resources.  

That’s a lot of doors your connections can open for you. But if you are a stranger they will be reluctant to do so. So get to know your connections. Offer your knowledge and your assistance (hint: offer to open some of your doors for them).

No other activity on LinkedIn comes close to doing what developing better relationships with your connections can do for you.

 

What Can You Do About LinkedIn Connections That Don’t Respond?

You know the drill: you connect with someone on LinkedIn, someone you really  feel you are in a position to help professionally and that can help you. You send them a welcome message and…silence. Sometimes they even asked you to connect and sent you a personalized note, you accepted, sent them a message and…silence.

What, if anything can you do about it? Here are five options at your disposal.

One strategy is to just let them be, and see if, over time, they come out of their cone of silence. But let’s be honest, while patience is a virtue, you are not feeling really patient.

Another approach would be to just keep sending them messages. But if someone didn’t respond to your initial post-connection outreach, what makes you think that will change if you keep trying? There’s a fine line between appearing persistent and appearing pathetic.

But if repeated messaging is a low probability strategy what can you do to get their attention?

A third possibility is to post content on LinkedIn, either updates, articles or both. You may get their attention from them seeing your content in their homepage feed. That is one of the privileges of being connected. Your content goes into their feed. They may of may not see it, but that’s a lot better than almost zero percent chance a non-connection has.

Seeing your content can build your credibility with them, which is what you need. Their unresponsiveness so far is a clue you don’t have much credibility right now.

Another method I use is to share content specifically with one person. If you click “share” on a piece of content, one of the options is “send as message” to one or more of your connections. Sharing a piece of content tailored to their work with  (what I hope is) an insightful comment is a way I have found that will get a response and lead to conversations.

Lastly, you can always get a second opinion. The odds are reasonable that you share this new inscrutable connection with one or more of your existing connections. Contact those connections and ask for guidance or their opinions as to what would appeal to this person.

This may seem like a lot of work to go to to just try and open up a conversation with a new connection, but these days many people connect easily but don’t develop relationships as easily. It is your job to establish your credibility and make this person see that you are someone they want to talk to.

You may think that connecting with someone opens the door, but it is best to be prepared for opening the door and finding…another door.