LinkedIn Etiquette – Introductions

I’ve been noting a few things about social networking that I thought I’d bring up, and comment on. This post is on introductions within LinkedIn.

The issue that always comes up is, do you use the generic template to do an introduction? The template looks like this (thanks Scott!):

LinkedIn boilerplate invitation, courtesy Scott Allen

Most people say you need to change the template if you want to be effective. That’s probably true if you are sending out tons of invitations to connect, especially to people that don’t know you very well.

What do I think? It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. If you invite me to connect, and you use the generic template, it doesn’t phase me.

I don’t change the template when I invite (I don’t invite much)… and the few times that I have I change it to “Yo.” That’s because I invite people that I already have a relationship with – and they are expecting it (see Jack Yan‘s comment). Shoot, I don’t even really read the invitation, I just go and accept (I do scan to see if there is anything different, a request, etc.).

But if you want to send something different, or be “unique,” there is a post by industry expert Scott Allen that is a must read. This is the most clever thing I’ve seen on the topic… he brings in examples from WorldWIT founder Liz Ryan and career expert Daniel Sweet – you have to read the post but here are some teasers:

From Liz:


I’m like, totally using this LinkedIn thing, and it’s like, everyone’s doing it and if you’re like, not connected, you’re like, so not even ANYONE. So I’m all “let’s connect,” and you like only have to hit this one button and stuff, so like do it, and let’s GET TO KNOW SOME PEOPLE!!

From Scott:

SMS (When is LinkedIn Mobile Edition coming out?!?)

u hv 2 chk out li
gd biz tool 4 u

From Daniel:


I saw you on LinkedIn and you seemed like kind of a Girly Man. But, read my e-mail now, hear my next week, and believe me in a month, if you connect to me, your network will be PUMPED! UP!
Click on the link to the right if your pathetic Girly-Man finger can handle it.

So now you know where I stand – what do you think? Is this going to change how you do invitations?

8 thoughts on “LinkedIn Etiquette – Introductions”

  1. Thanks for the hat tip, Jason. As you know from our previous conversations about it, I only invite people I know well, also. However, keep in mind that:

    a) they may not necessarily be a LinkedIn member, or even aware of it
    b) they may be a member, but not an active user — not really “sold” on its benefits yet

    In either case above, I use the invitation as an opportunity to explain the benefits, refer them to Linked Intelligence as a resource, as well as offering to personally answer any questions about it they may have, etc.


    c) I may know them better than they know me — remember, not all relationships are symmetrical, and they don’t have to be for people to be connected on LinkedIn. For example, one of my connections is the CEO of one of my former employers. When I was at the company, he and I never met or spoke personally. However, I did work on a big high-profile project, so I knew he should have at least seen my name once or twice. We had multiplex other ties through some of my later activities. So even though he didn’t know me well, I knew him and his business skills extremely well and felt comfortable connecting. Now since that time we’ve had multiple other opportunities to work together and have gotten to know each other much better, but at the time we connected, the relationship was decidedly asymmetrical.

    And you picked my 2nd-favorite example of the ones I wrote. My fav is the Dr. Seuss LinkedIn invitation, which I was so proud of I gave it its own post. 🙂

  2. My amount of customization depends on how well I know the person and how much it appears they use LinkedIn already (i.e. how many contacts do they have).

    If I know the person pretty well and they haven’t used LinkedIn before I’ll use the template and maybe add a few things. If I don’t know the person at all I will usually let them know why I want to connect and how I found them.

    If anyone wants to expand their network, feel free to send me an invite and I would be happy to connect. Email me at yrungaray at gmail dot com

  3. These days, I receive so many pathetic invitations (even from people I know!) I have despaired of ever getting a truly personal or even interesting invite.

    Oh sure, I’ll still accept the invitation. I mean, while I’m not all hooked in like Jason (MegaNetworker), I’ll take what I can get in order to have access to whomever I need at some point later in life.

    Sometimes, I just enter random phrases into the LinkedIn search field and am amazed at who comes up.

    So, if you want to make my day, send me a unique invitation to danielrsweet AT


  4. Just to set the record straight, Daniel has at least 2 or 3 times as many connections as I do… so if I’m a MegaNetworker, I think Daniel is probably a Super_Duper_MEGA_Networker 😉

  5. Jason, you are TOO FUNNY. I’m glad you wrote this post. I’ve often wondered about the generic invitation messages that LinkedIn generates. I feel more relaxed now. It does help, though, if I don’t already know someone, that they provide some way of helping me know them, either through a mutual contact (Hey, I saw you read Jason Alba’s blog, too) or (I saw that we both used to work for ABC Company many years ago.) or (Weren’t you in my Advanced Placement Basket Weaving Class back in High School?).

    By the way, my profile is at, and I’d love to connect with fellow JibberJobbers.

    Make it a great day!

  6. I’ll connect with most people regardless of whether or not they send me the canned invite. But I would prefer that they just change it to anything else. And it doesn’t have to be very fancy.

    In fact I had one the other day that I answered far faster than a lot of the ones I get from people that I don’t know. I simply said “I thought I would extend an invite to connect — no specific reason”

    That makes far more sense that “Since you are a person I trust…” when we haven’t meet yet.

    But hey, that’s just me!
    John W.

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