My Personal Policy Regarding Accepting LinkedIn Invitations

by Jan & Bert

Before I share with you my personal policy regarding accepting LinkedIn Invitations, let me give you a little background of my situation (which may be totally different than yours).

As a professional speaker I give a lot of presentations to large audiences about networking, referrals and LinkedIn. I meet approximately 1500 people a year face-to-face and tens of thousands of people are attending a seminar, conference, workshop or web seminar where I am one of the speakers or the only speaker.

In other words: my profession is different than that of most people with its pro’s and contra’s. Pro: I meet a lot of very interesting people. Contra: most of the time I don’t have enough time to spend even with the people I want to spend time with (sometimes I wish I could clone myself, but then I miss out on what the clones are experiencing ). Some people only meet tens of people of year due to the nature of their job, so for them it might be different.


Now let’s look at my personal policy regarding accepting LinkedIn Invitations.

As you probably have read in the book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” an important factor in networking is the “Know, Like, Trust factor”.

Many people who have seen me as a speaker or who have read the book feel that they know me a little bit. Maybe even enough for them to trust me and recommend me to their network.

I, on the other hand, haven’t had the opportunity yet to get to “know, like and trust” them. So that makes it hard for me to accept their LinkedIn invitation. Besides that, I receive approximately 100 invitations per week (most of them from people I have never met personally) and that number has been increasing rapidly since the launch of the second edition of “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”.

I do understand that people want to link with me, but I always wonder what they expect from me when there is no “Know, Like, Trust” factor from my side yet. Especially since they know I get so many similar requests from other people.

As a consequence I have seen myself making a shift in my “policy”: at this moment in time I only accept invitations from people with whom I have had a conversation of at least 10 minutes. In this time frame I have had a glimpse of who they are (Know factor) and a feeling of how they behave with other people (Like factor). It is not enough for the Trust factor yet, but it is a start to build the relationship further.


So please don’t send me (and other people) the standard “Hi I’d like to add you to my network” message. Help me remember where we have met and show you want to do some effort to build the relationship. You don’t have to (and you don’t have the space to J) write a whole book. Just a few sentences.

This might sound a little harsh, but from the reactions from the audiences in our presentations, workshops, webinars and training courses we hear many people feel the same way.

Whether it’s me you want to invite to connect with on LinkedIn or someone else, it’s always a good idea to follow these 3 steps:

1) Ask yourself: “Why do I want this connection?”
2) Keep the Know, Like, Trust factor in mind.
3) Make your invitation personal to make a real connection and to show the other person that you are willing to do some effort to start or continue building the relationship.


And when we have the opportunity to meet each other live at a conference or other event, please come and talk to me. I always look forward to a good conversation!


To your success !


PS: if you haven’t read “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” yet, download the book for FREE.


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