Strangers on LinkedIn, please leave me alone!


LinkedIn strategists, consultants, experts, and a whole slew of people want to make us influencers in a single day. As noted marketing expert, Seth Godin says, drip by drip…be authentic…these things take time, effort and genuineness. Here are ways not to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Saw you in the best practices group. (A common gimmick)

If so, let’s talk! book a call now, https://calendly.com (For what? Why?)

Let me know if that sounds interesting to you & we can connect over a Zoom call and discuss this further. No rush if you are busy. (Ploy to get me into a Zoom call!)

This is not for everyone, but I thought you might be interested. (I am special, right?)

I noticed that we are in the same group and thought it would be a good idea to start a conversation. (Another plain, boring gimmick)

Just circling back to see if you would still be open to grabbing a few minutes for feedback. (Please don’t grab me!)

From one CEO to another CEO, I’m reaching out to you as a fellow LinkedIn Open Networker (Ego, Ego, Ego- aren’t we exclusive?)

I like to get to know people in my network, and as a first step of getting to know each other, I’d like to invite you to have a Zoom call. (Clearly a LN consultant’s line!)

Hey…Just checking to see how you’re doing. Summer is almost over, so my 5 year old started kindergarten. (Touchy feely stuff doesn’t work here)

Gift from my 5-year-old daughter (Poor kid! Did you need to go so far?)

Sorry for just following up on this now, been swamped myself … was on your site and noticed you guys may have some ADA compliance issues on your website. OK if I drop in some insights on what I’m seeing? (Desperate? I already have problems. Leave me alone!)

I see we share some mutual connections (Aren’t we on LinkedIn?)

Thanks for connecting. I was just going through your profile and found it to be interesting. (Really?)

I’m in the process of expanding my network of successful professionals. It will be great to connect with you. We can share knowledge and experience in this fast changing world. (I move slow in a fast changing world. Leave me alone!)

I am getting back in touch as I believe we would both benefit from the chance to connect outside of LinkedIn. Do you have time in your schedule to talk? (Can’t connect with you inside LN, so why outside?)

Linguistic racism is a global phenomenon


No one owns the English language anymore.

In my BA English literature class in India, I was first introduced to the Cockney accent, the dialect of working-class Londoners. The Queen’s English came to us later.

I got my first taste of linguistic racism working in a newspaper in the Persian Gulf. Linguistic racism occurs when people are discriminated on the basis of their accent and the dominant culture feels superior in the use of a particular language and in this case, it was English.

The Persian Gulf, fully reliant on expat labor, had become an inevitable breeding ground for discrimination against non-native English speakers.

Newspapers advertised for Native English language speakers alone for all the top jobs. It was common to see a British editor at the top in a newspaper with a global mix of underlings, mostly non-Native English speakers from Asia.

One high-ranking English editor who I worked for had a Cockney accent. Being a native, he had only one task daily- write a 750-page editorial on the Arab-Israeli conflict, a perennial conversation point in the region. He mastered it by cutting and pasting sentences every third day!

Meanwhile, the non-Native English speakers brought out the 32-page English newspaper every morning.

Today, there are 400 million native English speakers and around 2 billion non-Native English speakers. Teaching English is now a multibillion dollar industry and no one owns the English language anymore.

“English is constantly evolving, because of the diverse ways different nations and groups use it. Yet instead of embracing this linguistic diversity, we still rank particular types of English higher than others – which means that both native and non-native speakers who differ from what’s considered ‘standard’ can find themselves judged, marginalized and even penalized for the way their English sounds,” according to an article by Christine Ro in BBC Worklife titled “The pervasive problem of ‘linguistic racism’.”

Linguistic racism showed its ugly head when the global economy shifted to a work from home mode. Those with thick accents found it hard to express their ideas to those who spoke ‘standard’ English.

Linguistic racism has created workplace conflicts due to the unnecessary superiority of the Native English speaker. Employees often felt that Native speakers showed superiority and sometimes insulted them.

I believe the term “Native English speaker” must be removed forever. For centuries, we have discriminated against non-Native speakers and shut their voices down. Many great ideas have been lost in the process because we never had the patience to tap into the additional expertise they had, even though their accent was different than ours.

In a language with no masters, a removal of unconscious bias, some empathy and the ability to listen to people from other cultures will only do your business good, now and in the long run.