A Lesson To Remember

At Purposeful Woman we focus on the good that women leaders do in business and in their community. But sometimes we can learn more from other’s missteps. This unfortunate situation has been brought-up too many times by women at my events over the last few weeks that it grants a blog post.

I have to first couch this entire article with the word “allegedly” because I am going by articles that don’t include her side of the story.

That being said, the articles report that when receiving LinkedIn invitations from people this woman didn’t know, she sent the following response:

[H]ow about starting with NOT presuming I would share my nearly 1,000 personally-known LinkedIn contacts with a TOTAL stranger? How bush league to pull that stunt. It’s what kids do – ask senior executives to link in to them, so they can mine contacts for job leads. That’s tacky, not to mention entitled – what in the world do I derive from accepting a stranger’s connection request? You earned a “I Don’t Know ______” from me today, for such an assumptive move. Please learn that a LinkedIn connection is the equivalent of a personal recommendation. If I haven’t heard of someone, met them, or worked with them, why would I ever vouch for them on LinkedIn?

Can we say “Dale Carnegie?” Wow, this is a really sad abuse of her self proclaimed authority.

Purposeful Women understand the importance of building relationships; with those we know and with those we don’t know. At a recent business expo, weather prohibited most attendees from coming however, those that did arrive ended up getting to know each other well and began to develop business connections that will continue to evolve.

Just because we don’t know someone today doesn’t mean we can’t learn something from them tomorrow.

The Social Media Roadmap offers some great tips for how to deal with LinkedIn invitations from people you don’t know, in the article How to Handle LinkedIn Invitations. Here is the process she uses:

If we share connections, they explained themselves more thoroughly in the invite and I have an interest in their business field, I accept and then send a personal note thanking them and asking a few more questions.

If we share connections and they sent a generic message, I reply without accepting and ask how we know each other. I say something like “Thanks so much for reaching out. Help me remember how we know each other.” Often they were in the audience for one of my speeches. If they respond – they really want to connect and so I accept. 

The purpose of LinkedIn is to build your connections. If we only connect with those we know, we miss out on the opportunity to meet new people, hear new stories and expand our network of professionals.

One of the benefits of being well connected is the opportunity to have a name and contact information when someone asks “Do you know anyone who…” The more connections you have cultivated (by that I mean really reached out and learned about, not just amassing a lot of names) the more often people will come to you for resources. Be that person that others call for a name. It is a great way to brand yourself.

Bully behavior like demonstrated above merely brands you as a poor sport. We can learn a lot from her mistakes and hopefully will respond differently when people we don’t know send us a LinkedIn invitation.

I’m curious. Do you have a strategy for how you use LinkedIn and who you connect with? Share it with us on our Facebook page. Also remember to join our LinkedIn groups: Tech Savvy Women and Purposeful Woman.