Would you send a linkedin request to a boss 4 levels up? Is this wise, or foolish?

On Wednesday I am invited to an informal 1 hour "coffee chat" with an executive who is in town; about 8 of my colleagues from our office will also be there. I have been invited to these BMT (Before Manager Tools), and have had talks with our CEO and other executives. There is no format, our executives simply start the meeting with "So, tell me what you have on your minds".

After I meet this executive (me -> my Boss -> their boss -> their boss -> HER -> her boss -> CEO) on Wednesday, I plan to send them a linkedin request with a "nice to meet you" blurb. They are already on LinkedIn with about 70 connections. Wise or foolish?

I listened to the recent Meeting an Executive podcast, and while it was geared towards more of a 1-on-1 meeting, I gleaned a few tips.

Does anyone have any tips on how to make an impression? My game plan was to throw a few softballs up, and enjoy the coffee. To me, these meetings seem like a good way to get noticed, but for all the wrong reasons!



stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I'm connected to our CEO on LinkedIn, didn't really have any second thoughts about it.  I maintain my LinkedIn profile as a professional profile so there should be nothing there that would give either of us pause.  I have a variety of other senior managers where I currently work as LinkedIn connections.  I actually quite often find that after linking to me they also link to a number of my connections outside the company.

Just take a look at your profile and check there's nothing that might give a bad impression of you.  This is probably a good idea any way, LinkedIn is a useful tool in job seeking so you want your profile to give a good impression of you.  When you come to write the invitation try to link it to the event and what that person said there.  Not just a 'Nice to meet you' but more 'Great to meet you.  I found your comments on [subject] interesting and will certainly be reading the articles you mentioned."

Before you attend the event I'd recommend reading a copy of the last company report and any recent (last few months) company news letters or company/division/department wide communications.  Read what they have recently written, this might give you an indication of what their main interests/goals are.  Read up on them, you don't need to be an expert, just know enough to ask intelligent questions and nod intelligently with a few relevant comments (think active listening) when they speak.  Interested is interesting.  What you should know in detail is what your own team/area are doing, their key challenges and key sucesses.




Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


ChrisH__'s picture

Someone at that level probably receives lots of requests to connect.

Feel free to send yours and then it's up to them whether to accept it or not.

At worst they ignore it, at best you get noticed and your name might stick in their mind....


stevesim's picture


In addition to Stephen’s advice above I would suggest you look at Stephen and JHBChina's comments in and then personalize the request. If possible send the request within 24 hours of the event, mention the circumstances under which you met them and something that will help them to remember you. Add a follow on comment, but not a question (don’t create an obligation for them to respond adding you to their network), and ask to become part of their network.
During the employee coffee talk on February 7th I found your answer to my question on how your division’s goals relate to the corporate direction on customer service helped me to better understand how my business’ goals also relate.
I'd be honored to be a part of your professional network.

Steve Simmons

Mark's picture
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Just double-check your profile.

Squeaky clean.

Sent from seat 6b, aa flight aa753, lga-DFW.

RichRuh's picture
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I'll add one thing to this... if there is a good reason to connect your Twitter account to LinkedIn, I haven't found it yet.  Although you should always be careful not to post anything unprofessional on Twitter, there is another whole class of tweets that, while not unprofessional, look inane out of context* when viewed next to your name on LinkedIn.

* Some of them are inane in any context, but I digress.

Mark's picture
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If the only thing someone sees about you is tweets, and they have significant role power relative to you and your firm... you better think of yourself as being naked all the time.  Assume you are a public figure.

Because with twitter and linkedin and facebook,



timr's picture

Firstly, when will the Manager Tools Facebook purge button be functional?

This thread has caused a social spring cleaning, something I have been meaning to do for a long time. Deleting Facebook status updates (what was I thinking on some of these?!) reaching back to 2006 was long, painful and well worth it. As recommended in the myspace/facebook cast,  it is now a clean, public page with a few photos.  I agree with Mike & Marks' comments that a private page has something to hide.

I deleted most of my tweets a few weeks ago, when I removed the Twitter link from LinkedIn. They were stupid, and would hurt more than help. Unless I will be focusing on being 'known' for a topic (and be prepared to roast for my words!), I don't think there is value in Twitter for me.

Secondly, I took everyone's advice, cleaned up the LinkedIn page, wrote a quick 2 line professional comment to compliment and complement her talk, and...

... although she didn't confirm the match, the resulting cleanup binge associated with adding one "echelons above reality" was no doubt beneficial! Thank you for your comments.

stevesim's picture

Not everyone logs into LikedIn on a regular basis.  I have had some requests that I didn't get a response to for almost a year.  I have configured LinkedIn to send me updates via RSS and notice that they added numerous others to thier network at the same time.        

Steve Simmons