LinkedIn: Why Unanswered Messages Are Wasted Opportunities

Talking with LinkedIn users I have found that one thing that really annoys people is an old friend who asks to connect but then ignores your messages. A typical scenario is that someone you worked with maybe 10 years ago and you lost track of suddenly invites you to connect. You accept the connection and followup with a message explaining what you have been doing since then but there is no reply, not even a polite "thank you".

In some cases I suspect that occasiolnal users might not see messages because they are not very visible in the current home page design of LinkedIn. In other cases most likely someone has simply auto-invited everyone in their email contacts or all former colleagues. Perhaps they were not even aware that they had done this and have no idea that there might be messages waiting for them.

Whatever the reason, this reaction makes many people want to disconnect you again. Even if you don't remember someone very well it would be polite to at least answer their message. After all it was you who started the exchange in the first place. But there is a much more important lesson here than simple gestures of politeness.

The whole point of professional networking is to build and maintain relationships. To start from zero and build a relationship of trust with a stranger takes some effort; reconnecting with an old friend is much easier so to throw away these opportunities is an appalling waste of network capital.

You can avoid this waste by following three simple tips:

1. LEARN HOW THE MESSAGE FEATURE WORKS.  Some functions of LinkedIn are optional but not the message inbox. Since you might receive messages from old friends, job offers and other critical messages through this space you have to learn how to read messages and to respond. Having a LinkedIn account and ignoring the messages is like buying a phone, calling people, leaving messages to call back and not knowing how to answer a call.

2. ANSWER REPLIES TO CONNECTION REQUESTS. When you have invited people to connect -- even in bulk -- if they send you a personal reply make sure that you acknowledge this reply or you risk losing the connection. See these messages as an opportunity to build very quickly a strong relationship and value them.

3. DON'T BE TOO QUICK TO DISCONNECT NON RESPONDERS.  If you have sent a message to an old friend through LinkedIn and they did not answer their message perhaps it is just because they are not familiar with the tool. Don't assume that it is a deliberate snub. You can usually tell inexperienced users because they have a minimal profile and no recent status updates. Since you are by then connected to them try looking on their profile for an email address and try sending a message that way.

Just by following these three tips you can very quickly repair a long-lost connection and bring an old friend into your active networking circle. You can do this much more quickly than finding completely new people so it is one of the most effective ways to assemble a strong network with minimal effort. Remember that next time you look at the unread messages in your LinkedIn Inbox.

Related Posts on Networking:

Linkedin May be Hackers Dream Tool but.Risks Easily Avoided
Recruiters not Only Check Social Media They Use Them to Find People
How to Separate Work and Private Networking
Involuntary Networking: Why First Street is Fascinating but Scary
LinkedIn Etiquette: How to Approach People You Don't Know
Selling Your Ideas: Influencing Your Way to Success
Professional Networking: Five Sites You Should be Using
How to Use Twitter for Professional Networking
Sign Up Now: Joining New Networking Sites Boosts Your Reputation
Zerply: Three Thumbs Up, Two Thumbs Sideways
Three Keys to Networking

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