In my last post, I showed you how to keep from inviting and connecting your entire personal email address book to LinkedIn. But if you missed that and have found that you’ve invited hundreds of people to connect that you never intended to be part of your LinkedIn network, let’s talk about removing connections on LinkedIn and what you can do if you have invited people but didn’t mean to.
First, let’s talk about why you may not want everyone in your LinkedIn network. Determine how you are going to use LinkedIn and have a plan. You may decide everyone you know, and even those you don’t, belong in your LinkedIn network (this may be true for recruiters and young professionals trying to build their networks). For most of us though, the best LinkedIn networking strategy is to build a highly engaged network because it has value.
What will having a network of people who hardly know you or don’t know you at all do for you? Little, I think. It will give others the perception you know a lot of people and are well connected but ultimately you may not be as connected as you or they think and therefore unable to connect and introduce people.
So, if you want an engaged network but you have inadvertently invited your entire Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! email contacts, what do you do?
Withdraw your LinkedIn invitation
If you quickly realize what has just happened go to your LinkedIn inbox and if the recipient has not taken action you will be able to withdraw the invitation. People who respond quickly in LinkedIn are typically good LinkedIn users, so they may be people you actually want to connect to. But if not, use these steps:
Those you invited who are not big LinkedIn users will probably not respond quickly so you have some time to withdraw the invitation. Those you invited who are not LinkedIn members will be invited to join LinkedIn and in many cases will also not take immediate action.
If the Withdraw button isn’t there, the invitation can’t be withdrawn. (It may have already expired.)
•The recipient won’t be notified about a withdrawn invitation.
•If you change your mind, you can send another invitation to the member 3 days after the initial invitation date.
Too late to withdraw the invitation? Removing connections on LinkedIn is not hard.
If the recipients accept your invitations but there are people you do not want in your network, you can go to Contacts click on Connections and click on Remove Connections. All of your connections will show up on the left, click those you want to remove and they will move to the right column. Click Remove and they will ask you to confirm. Connections will not be notified that they have been removed from your connections list. Only the member that breaks the connection can reinitiate that connection.
You may want to keep track of who you are removing just in case down the road you change your mind. You may want to Export Your Connections (it exports to a CSV file and opens in Excel) and sort it by those you want to remove.
If you have inadvertently invited a large number of people, you may want to send a personal email through your regular email. In that email you can simply explain you made an error in connecting and understand that based on several factors it may be not make sense to connect through LinkedIn. If, in fact, they would like to stay connected, let you know, perhaps even meet or talk first. Sometimes you just have to throw yourself under the bus.
As you begin to get proactive and manage your network you should see that its value increases. People you know will introduce you when asked (and better yet, when not asked), you will gather insight into other people and companies based on your network, find potential career opportunities, and you will increase your online reputation and rankings. This is how you want to build LinkedIn so you find the opportunities that grow your business.
And, remember, personalize your LinkedIn experience, it works. My last thought, consider your LEADS [LinkedIn Engagement—Authentic, Diligent, Systematic] strategy.
For more LinkedIn tips on building your profile and connections, download my LinkedIn Profile Builder Guide and other resources.