Accepting LinkedIn Invitations

Invitations from people you don’t know can be frustrating!

Frustrating because you may not know how to categorize the person for your method of communication system. Personally I like to tag all of my connections.

When teaching LinkedIn workshops, I make the participants promise to never send a generic invitation again. Usually I hear an “Oops!” from one of the people, because they had just sent the generic invitation. Well, they haven’t broken their promise, because it starts from that moment.

So many people fall into the trap of sending out invitations to the people in their email address book because LinkedIn suggests it and they think it is a good idea to increase their connections. Instead I suggest that they send them one at a time and make sure to personalize them.

Since so many of the millions of LinkedIn users have not taken a class with meLI reply don't accept, they don’t know the benefit and importance of personalizing the invitations so I get scads of generic invitations. I like to “Reply don’t accept yet“. LinkedIn has recently changed the way their messages work and the option has moved. I thought I would share how the changes now look.


  1. You need to hover over the small message icon on the pending invitations.
  2. In the upper right corner of the box that pops up is an arrow that indicates you can reply to the invitation. Right now it is a bit finicky, but if you can actually get it to click, you can send a message to the person to help you figure out how you will tag the person for future reference.

If the person replies to me, I will 99.9% of the time connect with them. This is just one way to help me keep my LinkedIn connections a bit more organized.

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LinkedIn Changes Message Center

Message Center in LinkedIn made some big changes!

As I was teaching class on Monday for some job seekers at the Illinois workNet Center in Arlington Heights for Harper College, one of the students said he couldn’t find the option I was showing on the screen. I took a look over his shoulder and sure enough LinkedIn has done some updates to the message center.

Here are the highlights – LinkedIn message changes

  1. Messages appear by person – the whole string of the conversation is in one spot, instead of numerous messages for one back and forth conversation.
  2. All invitations are in the invitation tab. What this has done is taken away the ability to “reply don’t accept yet”. This feature was very useful for me and if there isn’t an alternative offered, it will be a great loss especially when people do not personalize their invitations.
  3. You can start a new conversation with someone with the pencil and pad icon.
  4. The other thing they don’t point out is if you send a group message, it shows the image at the top of the message string of who was included and then who responds, very similarly to the way a text message stream looks.

What do you like or dislike about the changes?

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LinkedIn Feature – Reply Don’t Accept Yet

Reply Don’t Accept Yet – LinkedIn feature is still there!

I don’t know about you, but I receive a number of invitations from people that I haven’t met. I don’t mind expanding my network through LinkedIn connections, but I try to tag my connections so know where the invitations are coming from is very helpful.

Before LinkedIn changed it’s invitations features, yet again, there was an option to “Reply don’t accept yet” to the person that sent the invitation. I thought this feature was lost forever, the same way that many other useful features, like polls, events, and questions have –  gone the way of the Dodo bird. But I have good news to report!

Reply don’t accept yet is still a useful and available LinkedIn Feature!!!  Watch this short video to see where you can find it. Or follow the directions below.

Need a step by step? Here are the directions:

1. Hover over the icon for messages

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2. A drop-down box will open with Messages from People to whom you are connected. Click on the word Messages.

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3. You Message Inbox will open. Select Invitations. A list of your invitations will show.

invitations from strangers








4. Click the down arrow next to “Accept” and the option for “Reply Don’t Accept yet” shows. Click that selection and send the potential connection a message. I use the following:

Please refresh my memory of how we may have met. I like to tag my connections for future reference.

That is the one way I can control how I organize my connections. It is really useful for finding people at a later time.

Happy Linking!

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LinkedIn – Top 5 Tips – Invitations

Next in the series of my Top 5 LinkedIn tips is Invitations

Since you have been networking, you have collected a ton of business cards, right? What do you do with all the business cards that you collect?  You could do several things with them –

  • toss them into a basket, bag, drawer or box
  • enter them into a CRM system
  • OR invite them to connect on LinkedIn

If you attend as many networking events as I do, it is sometimes difficult to remember where you might have met someone. The person whose card you collected may be in the have difficulty remembering where they meet people. One of the things that I strongly advocate is personalizing invitations that you send.  When I return to my desk, I take the business cards I gathered from a particular event and compose a personalized invitation incorporating the event and day I met them. I offer some assistance or suggest how I might be able to provide support – this reminds them of what I do for a living. Finally, I ask the person to connect.  By including the where and when that I met them, the person doesn’t have to rack their brains trying to remember why they might want to connect with me, which is especially useful if that person is not a regular visitor to their LinkedIn account.

Personalizing an invitation also works when trying to connect with someone that you would like to know.  In your invitation, instead of using the “where and when”, explain why the connecting to them would be useful or beneficial to you both.  By adding that detail, someone is more likely to accept your invitation and less likely to report your invitation as spam.

Getting reported as spam frequently gets you thrown into LinkedIn “jail”.  To get out, you have to have email addresses for the next 50 or so invitations that you send or your percentage of accepted invitations needs to increase.

Here are some images of how to personalize your invitations:

Find the person that you would like to invite to connect. Click on the “Connect” button. Thanks to Sally for letting me use her in this example.


The options to select that you will see include the “We’ve done business together.” I prefer this option over the others.  Please don’t ever select the “I don’t know Xxx” as your choice, it is asking for a “Report Spam” designation.

One tip is if you don’t know someone who has not personalized their invitation, use the “reply don’t accept yet” option on the invitation choices.

I recommend that you use the “We’ve done business together” option as it can be used as a trigger to help someone remember where they may have met you. Select the job (current or past) you were working when you met the person.  IF you have NOT met the person yet, select your current position. By choosing the business option, it shows that you want to develop a working relationship with the individual with whom you are trying to connect.

Highlight the text “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” to begin typing your personalized message.  Begin with the person’s name, indicate where and when you met (why if you haven’t met), offer some assistance to remind them what you do, and then ask to connect.  If you don’t have a large number of connections and it is someone with whom you worked many years ago, you might indicate that you are trying build your network.

If you have attended a networking function and collected a number of business cards, you can copy the body of your message and paste it in the personal note box and just add the new person’s name.  Double check that the person’s name is right, because there is nothing worse than seeing a copied message with someone else’s name in the salutation.

By following all of these steps, you should be able to build your network and reduce the potential for being thrown into LinkedIn jail.

Happy inviting!

If you would like to read the other Top 5 tips – click these links – Photos, Complete, Connections, and soon to come Participate.




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Don’t get thrown in LinkedIn Jail

When you send an invitation to a new connection in LinkedIn, do you use the generic invitation?  Please don’t!

OK, raise your left hand and place your right hand on your heart.  Read the following out load:

I promise to never ever, ever, ever, use the generic invitation to connect from LinkedIn.

What I teach in my workshops is this:

When you invite someone to connect, you don’t know when the next time they will be on LinkedIn.  You don’t know who they interact with or how many people they meet in a given day or week.  Help the person out by reminding them of where and when you met, how you might be able to assist them and THEN ask them to connect with you.

If you don’t know the person but want to connect with them, tell them why so they don’t think you are stalking them.

By doing those two things, you cut down your chances of being reported as spam, thus keeping you out of LinkedIn jail.

So will you, or won’t you?

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