Why You Shouldn't Use Canned Invitations on LinkedIn

You might be tempted to look at the “canned” invitation that LinkedIn displays when you go to the Invitation Request page, especially if you're having a rough or busy day, and just send off the invitation without adding to or replacing the canned invitation with some custom text.

Everyone has things to do and goals to accomplish, so stopping to write a note for each invitation can grow tedious. However, it's becoming increasingly important, for the following reasons, to replace that text with something that speaks to the recipient:

  • The other person might not remember you. Quite simply, your recipient can take one look at your name, see no additional information in the note that accompanied it, and think, “Who is that guy (or gal)?”

    A few might click your name to read your profile and try to figure it out, but most people are busy and won't take the time to investigate. They are likely to ignore your request. Not good.

  • The other person could report you as someone he doesn't know. Having someone ignore your request isn't the worst possibility, though. Nope, the worst is being declined as unknown. Recipients of your invitation see an I Don't Know This Person button.

    If several people click this button from an invitation you sent, LinkedIn will consider you a spammer and will suspend you — and possibly even remove your profile and account from the site!

  • You offer no motivation for a mutually beneficial relationship. When people get an invitation request, they understand pretty clearly that you want something from them, whether it's access to them or to their network. If you've sent a canned invitation, they can't answer the question, “What is in it for me?” A canned invitation gives no motivation for or potential benefit of being connected to you.

    A custom note explaining that you'd love to swap resources or introduce that person to others is usually enough to encourage an acceptance.

  • A canned invitation implies you don't care. Some people will look at your canned invitation request and think, “This person doesn't have 30 to 60 seconds to write a quick note introducing herself? She must not think much of me.”

    Worse, they may think, “This person just wants to increase her number of contacts to look more popular or to exploit my network.” Either impression will quickly kill your chances of getting more connections.

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