Thursday, April 05, 2012

Must You Accept That LinkedIn Request? ---- Point / Counterpoint

The Situation:  You receive a LinkedIn request from someone in your work ecosystem, a peer at a company your company partners with. However, your interactions with this person have been unpleasant and frankly, you dislike her. Must you accept her invitation to link?

Leslie Says: No. You have nothing to gain from connecting with her.  First, you won’t ask her for introductions because you don’t want to interact with her any more than you are already forced to. Second, you won’t make a personal introduction to anyone in your network to her because she will likely be just as abrasive to them as she is to you. And finally, you don’t want people in your network to think you have a relationship with her because she is toxic. This is why LinkedIn has an IGNORE button.

Thom Says:  Yes (well, Maybe).  You need to take into account the relationship between your company and the organization where the other person works.  If you own the business, then it is a personal decision.  In this case, if they are offended by your ignoring their request it could have an impact on the partnership relationship between the companies.  While I believe you should not link to everyone with a pulse, a LinkedIn connection does not necessarily mean you are endorsing this person or that you have a close relationship.  

The Conclusion: There are no hard and fast rules with social media.  Different people use these tools in different ways, so you have think through how you interact with people in these communities.  The best advice is to be consistent

Leslie Morris is the director of marketing at SOASTA, Inc. and the editorial director at New Year Publishing, LLC.

Thom Singer is a professional speaker and corporate trainer who regularly assists companies and individuals with issues related to building their network, reputation, and brand.


James Hahn II said...

Sounds like a perfect opportunity to ask that person out to lunch to have a frank discussion about the difficult nature of your relationship thus far. Who knows, you may have interpreted your interactions with her poorly, or she may have had a few bad days and you just happened to catch her on every single one. Either way, you’ve got a great chance to deepen the relationship and get a better understanding of where she’s coming from before making the decision. And, if after that discussion, you see that she is just not reasonable, by all means, ignore away.

Chris said...

Years ago, I asked for a connection via LinkedIn and the intermediary said "I can't recommend X, but here's someone else I can reccomend". I considered that a great service and now connect to people I don't like/respect do that I can return the favor to my other contacts who I do like and respect.