Should I accept an LinkedIn invitation from someone I don’t know?

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LinkedInI have taught LinkedIn for almost 10 years now, and one of the questions get asked most frequently is “Should I accept a LinkedIn Invitation from someone I don’t know” so figured I’d blog my answer.

Successful networkers extend hands to people they don’t know in traditional networking, so why should it be different in social networking? Think of it this way. If someone extends their hand to you at a traditional business networking event and you don’t accept it, how does it make them feel? How does it make you look? Although you may choose not want to give them your card (or connect later) you must respond. It’s the only ‘social’ thing to do.

People are often surprised to hear that I am shy. They laugh, but I tell them that everyone is shy. No one wants to be the first to extend a hand, but by doing so, you’ve made it easy for the other person and they will appreciate it. But what to say?  How to start the conversation? John White just published a blog post on Inc. magazine entitled “The One Piece of Bad LinkedIn Advice You Need to Stop Listening To In 2018” that offers some excellent conversation starters. I highly recommend the read.

#networkingthatworks is the name of a keynote/workshop series I’ve developed to give people more networking power. If you’d like to know what I’ve learned in 25 years as an entrepreneur why not hire me to speak or join my “Get OnlinePower” Facebook group for some discussion on this very important subject.