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How to "Reply But Not Accept" a LinkedIn Connection Request in the New UI

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Do you have the new desktop user interface (UI) on LinkedIn yet?

They’ve been rolling out the desktop redesign slowly and I just received it on my profile. While there are several changes, one I want to address here is your ability to “reply but not accept” a LinkedIn invitation.

I’ve always been of the mind set that, when you receive an invitation from someone you don’t know or recognize, it’s not an immediate reason to ignore their request. Rather, visit their profile, see who they are, if you have colleagues in common, etc. Then, if that person looks like a worthwhile contact, you still don’t have to accept their request YET. Go back to the connection request and message them first.

Reach out and ask them how they found you. They may have been referred by a colleague or maybe they were simply searching LinkedIn. Keep in mind that this is an opportunity to begin a conversation and engage!

However, LinkedIn doesn’t make this process very intuitive in the new desktop UI. So here are the three steps to take to reply, before you consider accepting a LinkedIn invitation to connect.

1. Click on the “My Network” tab at the top of your profile screen and you’ll be taken to your “Received invitations.” If that person had written you a personalized connection request, you’d see it here. You’ll also notice, LinkedIn only offers “Accept” or “Ignore” here. Don’t click either. Instead, move on to Step #2.

2. In the upper right hand corner of the “Received invitations” box, you’ll see “Manage all.” Click on that.

3. Now you’ll see “Manage invitations” and below each person’s name and title, you’ll see a link to “Message” each individual. Click on that (don’t click on “Accept” or “Ignore”).

4. VOILA! A “New message” box appears. Now you can send a short note asking why that person is reaching out. Were they referred by someone or simply searching LinkedIn?

Just because you don’t know a person it doesn’t mean that he/she isn’t worth starting a professional relationship with on LinkedIn. After all, this platform is designed for building relationships and marketing is about nurturing those relationships so that you strengthen the KLT Factor (know, like and trust).

Ideally, personalizing a connection request is the first step any professional should take after hitting the “Connect” button and before sending an invitation off to you.

When you don’t know someone (or don’t know them well), but you’re interested in connecting with him/her on LinkedIn, don’t make the mistake of sending LinkedIn’s generic invitation. Take the extra moment to personalize the invitation, explain why you’re reaching out and start a conversation. Maybe you met briefly at an event or have colleagues in common, etc. Whatever you do, ENGAGE!

Want to learn more about using LinkedIn to generate leads for your business? Register for Debra's April 20th workshop here.


A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra Jason educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.

Connect with Debra on LinkedIn or visit her website here.

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