UPDATE: Withdrawing invitations to connect on LinkedIn

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:

  • Log in to LinkedIn and go to the My Network tab
  • Click on the Manage All link at the top of the page

  • On the next screen, click Sent to see your sent invitations. If the invitation has not yet been accepted, you will see a Withdraw button to the right of the person’s name and photo.
  • Click Withdraw to withdraw the invitation (If you do withdraw, the recipient won’t be notified).

If you don’t see a Withdraw button next to the person’s name and photo, you won’t be able to withdraw the invitation. But if the individual has already accepted your invitation to connect and it’s too late to withdraw, you can always disconnect from them.

To disconnect from someone on LinkedIn, simply find their name in your list of LinkedIn: click on My Network and then click on See all under Your Connections on the left side of the page. Then click on Search connections and type in the name of the person you want to disconnect from.

When you find them, next to the Message button, you’ll see three square dots. Click on those dots to see your options for that connection. If you have a free account, the only option available will be Remove connection. Click on Remove connection to disconnect. 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.

Note: This is an update to an earlier post which appeared on Law Technology Today.


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About Allison Shields

Allison Shields
Allison C. Shields is President of Legal Ease Consulting, Inc. She provides practice management and business development coaching and consulting services to lawyers and law firms in the areas of practice management, productivity, client service, business development, marketing and social media. A former practicing lawyer and law firm manager, Allison knows the unique challenges faced by lawyers today. She understands the law firm environment and the daily pressures faced by lawyers trying to manage and build their business while practicing law and successfully serving their clients. Allison is the co-author of Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers and LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, both published by the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association in 2012. She writes and lectures frequently for legal organizations and bar associations nationwide, and contributes to several blogs, including her own Legal Ease Blog. Her website provides resources and information for lawyers to help improve their practices. Contact her at or (631) 642-0221.

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