The worst thing to do when you get a bland Linkedin connection request

If you are on Linkedin you will get connection requests from people you don’t know. And you will also get plenty of bland connection requests from people you’re not sure whether or not you know.

It’s very tempting to treat such connection requests in the same way as other unsolicited messages. But that would be a mistake.

Linkedin prompts users to connect with people they know and with people they would like to know. I think the worst thing you can do when you get a bland Linkedin connection request is to judge anyone badly for sending this.

Many users just don’t yet understand that it’s better to personalise the connection requests. Indeed they may be unaware that it’s possible. After all, facebook doesn’t provide this facility. Nor does twitter. And nor does the Linkedin ‘mobile’ site.

And then there are some people who think that it is the ‘done thing’ to simply agree with Linkedin when the system suggests you connect with people ‘you may know’. They click the ‘connect’ button and in some cases the system sends a standard connection request without even offering you the facility to personalise it.

I probably receive around 50 connection requests a week. Only a minority of these are personalised. They always stand out and always lead to me sending back a personalised response.

Very occasionally I’ll get a connection request from someone who is obviously a spammer and I report these. The other requests I receive fall into one of four categories:

1 – People whom I have met in real life or whom I am due to meet.

2 – Accountants and tax related people who may have read my articles or blog posts or heard me speak – I accept all such requests and send a personal note back.

3 – Apparent strangers who send a personalised connection request – I consider these on their merits.

4 – Apparent strangers who have given me no clue as to why they want to connect with me. Rather than automatically ignore these I send the following message:

Thanks for your invitation to connect. Although I have thousands of connections here I always hesitate before connecting with someone new. I find it helps to know why they want to connect as Linkedin prompts random connections as well as focused ones.

I’m sorry if my memory is at fault. If we have met for real or engaged on line please remind me. And do please let me know what prompted you to want to connect with me here. Is there something specific in my profile perhaps that makes you think that us connecting could be mutually beneficial?

Many thanks



Around 3 in 10 of such replies prompt a response which may lead to me agreeing to the connection. Those who don’t reply I then ignore. I leave it a few days though before clicking the ‘ignore’ button as, again, I know some newer users don’t check linkedin every day and don’t see all their messages.

Positive responses to the above message have brought me back in touch with ex-colleagues who I have forgotten or who have new (married) names, have generated speaking enquiries and bookings and have led to valuable introductions to third parties.

I do not agree with those people who check out the sender’s profile and only agree to connect if there is an obvious reason to do so. That’s the same mistake we make if we consider that networking is all about the people in the room. It’s also about the people they know. Unless we ask them we won’t know why someone has asked to connect with us.

So, to reiterate, I think the worst thing you can do when you receive a bland Linkedin connection request is to judge the person who has sent it, ‘ignore’ the request or penalise them, by refusing to connect with them, blocking them or sending back a snotty note.

Do you agree? What do you do when you get bland linkedin connection requests?




By |2014-03-18T09:02:06+00:00March 18th, 2014|Conversational impact, Linkedin, No longer current, STANDING OUT|

About the Author:

Mark Lee FCA is an accountancy focused futurist, influencer, speaker, mentor, author and debunker.


  1. Gavin Fernandes FCA CTA 18th March 2014 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Sometimes it is very obvious that it is from a person who wants access to your contacts. Eg if a recruitment consultant for process engineers wants to connect or an IFA then I am very suspicious.

  2. QJ 19th March 2014 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Great point, Mark. It is difficult in our busy days to respond to people in ‘the right way’. Mistakes are inevitable, but at least to keep on top of it intelligently can go a long way to starting the relationships that have real value.
    Thanks for the blog post.

  3. Health Lottery Results 21st March 2014 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I really don’t think I’ve made much business from new connections on LinkedIn, if I don’t know them I don’t add them, simple.

  4. bookmarklee 22nd March 2014 at 7:10 am - Reply

    Hi Shane
    I suspect your lack of success is as much to do with your profile name ‘Health Lottery Results’ and your URL link to a page of the same name. Linkedin isn’t really the best place to operate in this way.

  5. Anne Miner 24th March 2014 at 2:39 am - Reply

    When I receive a LinkedIn connection request, I think to myself, “Would I shake this person’s hand at a networking event?” and, when the answer is “Yes”, then I agree to the connection.

  6. Rohan 5th January 2019 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Dear Mark,

    Back in the earlier 2000’s I came across two chaps called Michael Auzin & Mark Horstman who hosted a podcast and radio show on NPR. It was called Manager-Tools (Still is, I believe).

    Mark once spoke about ‘Network Building’. He detested the phrase ‘Networking’

    To him Network Building had three simple steps:

    1. Build volume indiscriminately
    2. Give, give, give
    3. Keep in touch

    He spent the entire 25 minutes of the show chatting with Michael about these three steps, analysing and giving ‘how to’ tips on each element.

    LinkedIn is a tool to “build volume indiscriminately”. What really matters after that is steps 2 & 3…

    I forgive most unsolicited LI requests, as on occasion I have on the mobile app done just that myself.

    Great Network Builders, like yourself, focus on steps 2 & 3. That is all that matters in the end. You know you get and continue to get business that way. Isn’t that all that matters at the end of the day?

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