I get lots of invitations to connect on LinkedIn. Maybe 30 or 40 a week, with 30 or more in a day or two following conferences I attend or present at.

I’m not complaining. Nor am I boasting.

99% of the invites come from lawyers, executives, and various other professionals from around the world. Some I know personally, some I know from engagement on the net (blogging, Twitter etc), and some from people I’d like to get to know – preferably face to face in my travels, but at least virtually.

It’s the stuff one wants to have for business development.

Only a very small percentage come from people for whom I don’t see any relationship between them and me and must be reaching out to connect to artificially inflate their ‘network.’

I accept each of the invites from the first group. I respond with a brief personal note to them that I send through the LinkedIn Inmail system. It’s easy to do, I just hit reply and key the response on my iPad.

The others I reject.

I am surprised though that 99% of the invites to connect I receive on LinkedIn read one of the two below lines, with their name automatically filled in below the line.

  • I’d like to add you to my professional network.
  • Since you are a person I trust, I wanted to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn.

It would probably take a minute to jot a personal message as opposed to just using the stock messages that LinkedIn fills in for you.

If you’d really ‘like to add me’ or I am really a person you ‘trust,’ wouldn’t it be common courtesy to send a personal message?

Even if you don’t like me or trust me, sending out stock messages is no way to network if you’re looking to build relationships and enhance your reputation.

You may find it tough to get out and personally network with people face to face over lunch, coffee, or a drink, but on the Internet, and especially via LinkedIn, it’s easy.

It just takes a little common courtesy.