One of the best ways to begin building your LinkedIn network is by connecting with people that you already know in real life. LinkedIn makes it easy to do so by uploading your address book to LinkedIn – that way you can see who you already have contact with in the ‘real world,’ which of those contacts are already on LinkedIn, and you can easily send them an invitation to connect with you.
However, when uploading your address book to LinkedIn, use caution. One drawback to using this feature on LinkedIn – especially if you’re using the LinkedIn app on your tablet or phone – is that LinkedIn encourages you to then invite all of those contacts that you just uploaded to connect with you on LinkedIn, and they do so with prominent buttons. But if you’re like most lawyers, your address book will contain email addresses for adversaries, competitors, family members and others that you may not necessarily want to connect with on LinkedIn. In addition, by sending this “mass invitation,” you’ve lost the opportunity to add a personal message to your invitation. Too many people find out too late they’ve clicked the wrong button and invitations have been sent to every single person in their address book.
Thankfully, there is something you can do about it – if you act quickly, before the person you invited takes action on the invitation. LinkedIn allows you to withdraw invitations that have not yet been accepted. To do so, take the following steps:
- Go to your LinkedIn Inbox and click “Sent” to see the invitations you have sent
- Find any invitation that has not yet been accepted and click on the subject line of the message
- Click “Withdraw”
If you don’t see a “Withdraw” button when you click the subject line of the message, you won’t be able to withdraw the invitation. But if you do withdraw, the recipient won’t be notified.
If it’s too late to withdraw and the individual has already accepted your invitation to connect, you can always disconnect from them. Again, they won’t be notified that you’ve disconnected, but they may realize if they go to your Profile and see that you are no longer a first level connection.
To disconnect from someone on LinkedIn, simply find their name in your list of LinkedIn Contacts (under the Network menu). When you hover your mouse over their name, you’ll see a number of options – Tag (to add a tag to their contact information), Message (to send them a message through LinkedIn) and More. Click the down arrow next to More and then click “Remove Connection.”