Last week I received an invitation to connect to someone on LinkedIn. I almost dismissed it immediately because it was a name that didn’t ring a bell and it was from someone in a foreign country. I’m pretty thoughtful about who I connect with on LinkedIn. I have to have had some working relationship with you and to have some context for how we’ve connected in the first place for me to want to link our social networks together.
I noticed, for the first time, although I’m sure it’s always been this way, the message that LinkedIn includes with the invitation to connect:
WHY MIGHT CONNECTING WITH MARIJEAN JAGGERS* BE A GOOD IDEA?
Marijean Jaggers’s connections could be useful to you
After accepting Marijean Jaggers’s invitation, check Marijean Jaggers’s connections to see who else you may know and who you might want an introduction to. Building these connections can create opportunities in the future.
*I substituted my own name in here; you don’t need to know the name of this connection.
This morning I returned to the invitation and looked at the profile of the individual that sent the invitation and indeed, this is a person with whom I’d done business some time ago, on behalf of a client in another country. I was delighted to reconnect.
In another example, a college friend passed away a couple of weeks ago, leading to all sorts of college connections resurfacing on Facebook. One friend request came and I didn’t know the name at all; turns out a friend had changed her name — first and last — and so threw me completely. She sent me a note explaining who she was; I was grateful for the context and accepted her invitation.
It’s important to provide context with these invitations. We meet so many people in our lives and we cannot expect to remember them all or to keep apprised of name changes and such. When you’re sending an invitation to someone, keep that in mind, and give them the courtesy of a short note to remind them of how you know one another.