How to avoid coming across as overly familiar to a new person?
December 4, 2017 5:05 PM   Subscribe

Is there an etiquette to meeting someone after you've had a chance to check out their LinkedIn profile, but before you've actually met and they don't know who you are?

I'm hoping to network with someone at an upcoming Meetup event that we've both indicated that we are attending whose professional background is of interest to me. So, I checked out their LinkedIn profile to learn more about them before the event.

The problem is that they don't know who I am and I'd like to avoid coming across as awkward or creepy or overly familiar in any boundary crossing way when I introduce myself to them. What is the proper etiquette here?
posted by Gosha_Dog to Human Relations (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get someone to introduce you to them.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:09 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

LinkedIn etiquette is different than other social media, though, in that the point is to network and make connections. I think it would be perfectly OK to message them on LI ahead of time and explain why you would like to meet them, and that you will be at the same upcoming event and hope you get the chance to meet in person.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:25 PM on December 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

I meet and talk to dozens of people every month that I know by reputation or by their work or by looking them up on the internet—basically, my job is to find them (and then get them to make a deal.) I’m very straight forward about how I tracked them down, what I know of their professional work, how we might be connected, and what I want from them and why I want it. I find that being open, candid, and truthful works out. I don’t try to smooze or soft-soap. My intentions are honorable and I’m very direct. 98 times out of a 100, this approach works to mutual satisfaction, and I’ve made real friends of some of these professional contacts.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:27 PM on December 4, 2017 [11 favorites]

In my mind the only time to tell someone you looked at their LI is if there was a specific reason. Like "I heard you'd done work in an area I'm really interested in" or "our mutual colleague suggested I look you up." Otherwise it comes across as odd even though you did nothing wrong. (Obviously this doesn't apply if you network for a living. "I network for a living" is a good reason in itself. I used to be a recruiter, I lived in LI; it wasn't weird for me to say "oh I think I came across your profile the other day!" as a result.)

So in the absence of some very innocuous or personally relevant reason, just don't bring it up, and be normal. Make conversation about other things.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:27 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just sort of expect people to do it. I work as an art teacher, and I have had parents flat-out tell me they have looked up my profile. I have had other professionals tell me they have looked me up even when children aren't involved. If you are on LinkedIn, you are there to be noticed. If you are registering that you are attending an event, you are letting people know you are going there, and they can look you up.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:01 PM on December 4, 2017

Is the meetup a professional, industry, or networking meetup?

If so, just be honest. If not, just say something like "I saw on the meetup page that you work in [x], I find that really interesting" and then don't indicate that you looked them up.

This is assuming that they're not in some kind of...glamorous field that people are constantly trying to schmooze their way into, in which case it's expert-level and not something we can easily teach you about.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 8:41 PM on December 4, 2017

I mean, they can see who looked them up as well unless you too steps to prevent that. So just be upfront.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:49 PM on December 4, 2017

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