By Alicia Kan
"I'd like to add you to my network on LinkedIn." How many times do you get this uninspired, insipid note in your inbox?
The advice not to use the canned invite and to customise your note has been written about ad nauseum.
Yet strangely enough almost everyone, even marketers, are sending requests to connect using this abhorred phrase.
Are they being negligent? Rebellious? Lazy?
None of the above. LinkedIn's interface is to blame.
If you look at LinkedIn's home page, there are two ways to add connections. See red circled bits.
If you click on either link, you'll be brought to this page:
I've never had the patience to try the left column -- See who you already know on LinkedIn -- but I know one thing for sure.
If you use the right column to type in an email address or several and click 'Send Invitations' your recipient(s) will get that canned invite.
Resist the urge to use this fast-track method to grow your network. It is so impersonal. Besides, you want to impress your potential new contact with your dazzling prose, right?
Visit the person's profile. There are very, very few people nowadays without a LinkedIn profile.
Click on the yellow Connect button.
Choose the appropriate option - Colleague, Getting Back in Touch, etc. Don't lie about how you know the person. You can be flagged for spam.
And for the love of Pete, personalise the canned message that says 'I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn'. Even a line that says 'How are you?' is 200% more effort.
Using the canned invite is like handing blank cards out at an event. Photo of blank card by hawktrainer/Flickr.