These days I get more LinkedIn connection requests than I can manage. About 90% of them I ignore. 


Most notably, there is no personalized request. If you want to connect with me, tell me why. I am done connecting with people only to be sent a message minutes, hours, even days later, with a sales pitch! This is a networking site, people. Don’t use it as a cold calling platform.

If these people approached me at an in-person event like they connect here, I’d walk away. Yes, I’ve done it. Rude, maybe – OK, probably….fine, definitely. Oh well. I attend events and am active on LinkedIn to connect and build relationships, to learn and educate, not to sell or be sold. 

And for those of you reading this that need a refresher on business networking:

There are other reasons

A recent example is having received a personalized message where the connection would make no sense. I still get countless requests from those in an industry I left more than 6 years ago. After a quick back and forth, there was no mutual benefit to connecting. I have nothing to offer anyone in that industry. While they could potentially help me or need my service, that’s the wrong reason to connect. That’s a business-client relationship, not a business networking one.

But the one below ….illustrates everything that is wrong with how people use social media (and specifically LinkedIn), how they ‘network’, how they try to generate leads. 

Hi Robert

My name is [xxx xxxx] and I consistently turn the brilliance of coaches, professionals, and entrepreneurs into a profitable business.

Walmart, Verizon, and The United Way are just a few of the recognizable brands I’ve helped over the past 20 years.

Let’s connect if it makes sense!

I already knew I wasn’t going to connect, but felt it was professional, polite even, to respond and tell her why:


When I received your message I was trying to determine what about it bothered me the most:

    • That rather than to try and connect and establish a professional relationship, that you treated me as a cold-calling target
    • That you assumed I was unable to turn my brilliant coaching into a profitable business
    • That I even wanted to create a profitable business from it……

Then it dawned on me!

You took no time to bother to READ my profile!

It simply made more sense to help him grow his sea kayaking instruction rather than compete. Now, rather than running a business, I get to do what I love – spend my time in the cockpit.

The next line: I’m content to sit back and help him grow his brand.

Rather clear that I made the well-thought out decision NOT to pursue building another business, no?

As for the assumption I needed help building a profitable business in the first place? 

I have built and run multiple successful businesses…

….since 1998….

    • In 2 states
    • In 3 industries
    • As a sole proprietor, LLC, and a S-Corp
    • With at least 1 B2C, 1 B2B, 1 service-based, and 1 retail

As a coach? 

I have been a teacher, instructor, and coach in a variety of disciplines for more than 20 years – sea kayaking is only the latest foray into this world. 

Then it hit me what bothered me the most…

You message reads like canned spam!

It reads like an automated request generated based on keywords….coaching in my case.

If I am wrong (it happens….sometimes more than I’d like to admit), then what bothered me most was that you never read my profile. That’s plain rude – especially for a professional. 

If I am right…..sending a canned, automated connection request as a way to farm business leads on a social network is as unsocial and unprofessional (again….not reading) as it gets. If you’re going to send canned messages, at least try to make it sound like the recipient is more than a ‘mark’. 

While I am sure you generate connections and business this way, I don’t. I prefer to be treated as a person, not a conquest.

So, it does not make sense to connect. 

If you read this (I am half wondering if a bot will get my reply), I wish you the best.

Robert Nissenbaum – a professional human being who cares more about the quality of the connection than its monetary value. 

The point of all of this?

Social media – LinkedIn included – is well, meant to be social. Use it that way. Behave as you would in an in-person setting. Strive to be personal, to take an interest in others, to connect; to establish, nurture, and grow relationships. Save the automation for mundane tasks and efficiency. Don’t try to automate your social connections.

And a reminder – if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, do so with the idea that I am not a target. Send me a personalized request with some sort of note as to why. 

Requests with canned messages, veiled attempts to sell me or get me to send you leads, and those without a personalized message – will be deleted.

PS: If you attempt to sell me something in a message after – I’ll delete our connection.

If you want to chat about your LinkedIn profile or ow you are using the platform, let’s talk.

3 replies
  1. Justine
    Justine says:

    Good post! I hate that tactic! I have been receiving some of these but also weird requests to connect from men that seem to be using LinkedIn as a dating site. Thanks for sharing!


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