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I know I’ve got a post about LinkedIn Group changes to get out, but I was replying to a friend and realized I had to get this into a post right now…-)

One of the topics was – are we judged by the company we keep.

Definitely.

And LinkedIn is no different…

The poor performer

Everyone’s got a story about working with an individual that just didn’t go well.  They didn’t have the skills, work ethic or personality – by the time the project or assignment was over, you were glad to be rid of them.

So you chalk it up to a learning experience, try to get what you can out of it, and move on.

And then they ask you to connect on LinkedIn…

Awkward to say no

Yes, it is, and LinkedIn doesn’t make it any easier.  Your responses are accept, archive or say you don’t know them.

There’s no “I know them, but choose not to connect at this time” – which is really what you’d like to do.

I do not recommend saying that you don’t know them – because you do.

Worse to say yes

So here’s a tough situation – let’s say you say yes to them because you don’t know how to say no.  And then a month later this individual is asking you to introduce them to someone else you connect with, perhaps a VIP.

What are you going to do then?

There’s no easy out, so avoid it by not connecting in the first place.

Avoidance might be best

The best of the available alternatives is to ignore the request, and if you truly would never accept that invitation, “archive” it to get it out of your sight on the system.  You haven’t let them in, and you haven’t insulted them with the “I don’t know” response.

And if they corner you at some in-person networking event and ask about it, you can offer that it must have missed your attention…

Now if the other party doesn’t get the hint you might still be placed in an awkward position, but you’ve tried to handle it in the most graceful way possible haven’t you?

Connection rules

It’s not that you need to worry so much about how the other person feels – I want you to feel good about your LinkedIn experience.  If you have a well defined set of rules for connecting, you can internally justify your connections and remain satisfied with your standards.

If you start questioning yourself (and your connection standards), I’m afraid you’ll think less of the system and will turn to it less often.

And that wouldn’t move you forward.

To your continued success – and using LinkedIn to help you achieve it,

steve