Please, Introduce Yourself!


My sister chose a perfect Christmas present for my husband, David. Canadian Pie is a collection of essays by Will Ferguson, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize and three-time winner of the Leacock Medal of Humour. Needless to say, he’s very funny. We are reading the entries together in the evenings and ending our days with laughter – perfect!

The first essay in the book is The Lost Art of Crank Calls. Back in the day, Ferguson and his sister were incredibly creative when it came to dialing strangers and getting them to participate in bizarre conversations. Truly hilarious. While reading it I realized that these types of conversations aren’t really gone; they are showing up in other mediums. Some are harmful and others are incredibly annoying and unprofessional, especially the ones I receive almost daily.

What crank “calls” am I receiving almost daily? Are you also receiving them?

I’m referring to LinkedIn connection requests that do not include a message or brief introduction. It’s comparable to a phone call you answer and the other person hangs up immediately – startling and frustrating.

But with LinkedIn, like a crank call, these connection requests draw me further into a story. For example:

The request arrives. With no message or introduction to read, I click on the individual’s profile to learn more. They could be someone I’ve recently met and that’s why they haven’t included a message. Or maybe they’ve attended one of my workshops. If that’s the case, I’ll gladly add them to my network.

On their profile, I look at their location. Are they local? Are they in a city I’ve visited recently? Then I look at how many connections we have in common. This sometimes helps me piece together why they’ve contacted me. If I can figure it out, I’ll certainly say “yes” to the invitation to connect.

But more and more often I have no clue why a particular individual wants to connect. My few moments of research can leave me perplexed. Their industry may be one that I never or rarely work within. Their country is not one in which I have any clients or connections. We have few people in common. Some of these requests actually come across as attempts at dating (yuck). In one case, when I looked at the individuals we had in common, all were women with red hair. OMG!

LinkedIn is a valuable, professional communication platform. Like my phone, I use it every day. And every day, I accept connection requests from individuals who introduce themselves. A brief introduction is more important now than ever before and goes a long way toward growing all of our communities and networks.

What about you? What’s your experience with LinkedIn connections? Has it changed recently? Do share your story below.


6 thoughts on “Please, Introduce Yourself!”

  1. Many (most?) of the people who send invitations without a personal note are preparing to sell you something (and not in a respectful personal way).

    Many of them may also be FAKE profiles set up to capture your email address once you add them to your network.

    I actually wrote about LinkedIn’s fake profile problem back in 2016 and how to spot them. I don’t think LinkedIn does enough to stop them and I find this really disappointing because it greatly devalues LinkedIn.

    I love having an online business and resume directory like LinkedIn, but it falls short in many ways.

    Here is the article I wrote about the Fake profiles in case you may find it helpful:

    • Thanks so much, Mathew. I didn’t realize the fake profile issue was visible in 2016. I receive them so frequently now. And it is too bad that LinkedIn falls short. They do have the “corner on the market” and it would be great if they could improve the platform to prevent some of this nonsense.

  2. I can so relate to that Mary Jane,

    These kind of connection requests from people I don’t know have increased over the last few months. I do the same things as you checking if I have met them and then if nothing clicks I hang up (delete request) and don’t engage. (smile)

    Happy New Year! May the new year bring us connections that actually want to connect with us. (smile) Jacqueline

    • It is too bad this is happening because LinkedIn is such a powerful tool. Yes, the connections we want in 2020! Thanks for your comment, Jacqueline.

  3. Thank you for this Mary Jane and for the interesting follow-up comments. I made the mistake recently of responding to a fairly long message from someone I did not know on LinkedIn. The next day, I got a spookily similar message from a different person, so I deleted both and I will be much more careful in future.

    • Thanks for sharing this, Eileen. I haven’t had this experience, but good to know about it. Technology is wonderful but comes with some downsides.


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