By now, you’ve probably seen the new LinkedIn Messaging platform and have used it for a few weeks now (like me). You’ve probably formed an opinion about it by now, too. The new Messaging platform is about much more than the icon changing from an envelope to overlapping chat bubbles, though. So let’s dive right in.

Preliminary Thoughts

Upon the Messaging platform’s launch and gradual rollout, there was a groundswell of feelings that can be described as it being between more than “meh” and less than outright hate. After having it for a couple of weeks now, I think it’s pretty good… for the most part.

Let’s start with the Good, then move to the Bad and the Ugly, and then finish up with my overall impressions of the new platform:

The Good

The Messaging platform’s new Inbox interface looks and acts more like Facebook’s Messaging app, Twitter’s direct messaging and texting from your smartphone. Unlike the old Inbox, this new platform keeps all of your conversations together. It even brought messages of mine from years ago into a simple-to-follow stream. I also like its tracking of group messaging.

In the first graphic (right), you can see the two avatars on the right-hand side with whom you’re conversing (A). When you click on it, you can see the names on top (B). Other options include adding people to the conversation, marking as read or unread, muting the conversation, forwarding the conversation, reporting and deleting (C).

The ability to attach files to the messages is both cool and long overdue. (I’m not sure how I feel about the addition of emoji, though.)

Here’s a warning: You might want to uncheck “press enter to send.” If you’re used to writing and using traditional email applications and like to insert breaks between paragraphs, you could mistakenly send a message long before it’s ready to go. If you leave that box checked, the application will “think” your use of the “enter” key is the command to send (D)!

LinkedIn also offers a quick reply in response to inMail that contains the following options:

  • Interested
  • Maybe later
  • Not interested

Once you’ve clicked on an answer, a quick reply message will automatically populate in the text box of the message response. You will have the option to edit the text before sending, or you can select the Back button above the answer to cancel.

Sales Navigator users can quickly toggle back and forth, so your messages are easy to access.

Remember how looking at and managing outstanding invitations used to be a pain? Not anymore. Performing this action is now a much better process, and is probably my favorite new option in Messaging. Now, you can easily follow up with people to whom you reached out. You’ll also be able to cancel outstanding invitations, which will limit future “I Don’t Know” responses. How do you get there?

  1. Hover over open invitations (E) and click “see all.”
  2. Choose the drop down on the top right (F).
  3. Click the circle next to the person’s name or names you’d like to withdraw the invitations to and click “cancel request” (G).

The Bad

Remember when you could send messages to 50 people at a time, without any of them being able to see one another? Gone. History. Archives. While this feature could be abused, it had its advantages (when used with respect to those people receiving such messages).

As you can probably tell, I really don’t like this. I mainly used it to let a few select connections of mine know when I published a new article. What’s more, I didn’t even know it had gone away. Then a few weeks back I received a few less-than-pleased replies from people who didn’t want to be listed in such messages (which I totally understand). I was not a happy camper that day.

Also gone is the ability to search sent messages by keyword. You can now only search those by name. That’s a pretty big inconvenience.

The Ugly

The new LinkedIn Invitations makes it tough to read personalized invitations. I use these messages and teach them as part of my coaching and training. My prediction is that many more invites will be declined as a result of this move.

While there’s no workaround with the “Bads” I’ve listed, there is one for  this Ugly situation. You can access the invites; you just need to know how to see them. Here’s how:

  1. To see your outstanding invitations, hover your cursor over (E), seen in the last graphic in the Bad section.
  2. From the resulting drop-down, you can hover over each invitation and click on the check mark to accept or the X to decline. If you do this, you won’t see a personalized invitation from these people unless you go back to your Inbox to see the conversation, but it doesn’t populate immediately. However, once you click the check mark, you will be able to click the email button (below). From there, it’s a simple process to send a welcome message.
  3. In the graphic below, you can see how to click “see all” and hover over each message icon (I) to read what they have written. You can also see your shared connections from here. Then click the check mark or the X (H).

Messaging from here is tricky, as you will have only 5 seconds to see a hyperlink(K) to visit that person’s profile to send a message. So if you are looking to send a note to them, you better do it fast!

Here’s a quick bonus tip: If you have a few invitations you’re accepting, you can right click (with your mouse) to open a new tab (K) to accept them all at once. You can then take the time to message each one individually.

You still have the ability to reply to the invitation without accepting the requester into our network. Just click the reply arrow (J) at the top of their message to begin a conversation.

An ugly pain, I know.

Overall Impression

Just like anything else in life that changes on you, there is a learning curve with the new platform. Don’t be disheartened, though: It is easy to master LinkedIn Messaging. It shouldn’t take a lot of time to learn, either.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn, and was featured in the LinkedIn Tips channel.

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