Welcome to First Thursday! On the first Thursday of each month, Corporate Speech Solutions features an expert that has a skill or expertise that will enhance your professional skill set. Today, we’re joined by Marc W. Halpert, nationwide LinkedIn trainer and evangelist. His third concurrent company, connect2collaborate.com, spreads his LinkedIn and networking message. He trains nonprofits, corporations, small businesses, and professional practices, and coaches individuals in all walks of life, enhancing their brand positioning to the business professional community. Read on and learn how you can use LinkedIn to connect with and make an impression on your potential clients.
Make LinkedIn Your Business Communication Power Tool
by Marc W. Halpert
The key to making a lasting impression on LinkedIn is communicating your brand well. It takes considerable effort to clearly share the expertise you offer, so others take notice. Invest in your image, be proactive. Used best, LinkedIn is about savvy self-definition, using identifiable themes and intelligent actions.
Reach inward and outward
I always advise my readers and clients not to expect anyone to absorb their value proposition upon first reading of their LinkedIn Headline and Summary. In today’s attention-challenged world, each businessperson retains information differently. Aim to be memorable in your overall LinkedIn persona so you appeal to the reader on different levels. “Ping” on their memory radar screen at any point they are in a position to consider you, or refer you, for a business opportunity, now and/or in the future.
Consider using LinkedIn’s multiple sections to reinforce the overall themes across your career. Be memorable to them in various ways. This is a process: outline, execute, review, revise before you load it on LinkedIn. A few hints to stand out:
- Don’t just lay down what you did and when you did it on your LinkedIn profile. No one appreciates your value proposition when you copy-paste dull bulleted factoids from your (backward-looking) resume.
- Rather, show how your past dictates the present and future of your career in why you do what you do, with endorsements and anecdotal recommendations where colleagues confirm why you do what you do.
- Accept you are always in beta, and weave that personal brand story deeply as you evolve. Reflect that in your LinkedIn profile, as you are never a finished product. I suggest the excellent book “The Start Up of You” by Reid Hoffman.
- Craft your profile in full rich sentences as if you are speaking in a business voice directly to your reader. Speak in the first person “I” and use strong verbs. Avoid “do,” “make,” “was.”
- Choose representative graphics to complement your prose. Video, slide decks, PDFs, are even more memorable to the causal viewer.
Tweak and polish your profile, continually. Deliver high-quality verbal impact that is expected to surround your persona, and attract meaningful business.
However, recognize it doesn’t only take words and graphics. Gestures and actions also make the point well, when used judiciously.
Actions can speak volumes
You may have seen this heartwarming video showing true human compassion and empathy, just after one young soccer team defeated another. The Spanish boys’ faces and gestures are so powerful, even when there is likely no common spoken language with the Japanese players, just actions, touch and eye contact.
The LinkedIn moral to this video: effectively communicating your professional brand can be verbal, and sometimes not. Just as words and images are powerful, direct actions can speak as loudly. Think of the many meaningful simple gestures you can take on LinkedIn, combining words and actions and make them a habit. Some of the best tactics I suggest are basic, yet highly effective, by:
- on-boarding new LinkedIn connections by sharing an article chosen just for them, soon after you start your relationships,
- going beyond clicking “like” by adding personal words of professional admiration when a connection succeeds, or upon a business anniversary,
- nurturing connections by curating and sharing the best articles or the latest work by thought leaders, making LinkedIn your personal learning network,
- offering to introduce one colleague to another via LinkedIn, an empowering gesture of faith and professional friendship,
- endorsing someone for a skill they have listed on their LinkedIn profile that you truly know they excel at,
- participating in a LinkedIn Group discussion with valuable insight to help others, and/or
- volunteering an unsolicited recommendation–believe me, they will remember it forever.
Like the Spanish soccer players, it’s not only what you choose to say (yes, the right words are absolutely essential), but it’s also how you simultaneously take action with TLC.
Resolve to spend a few extra minutes to use LinkedIn well and become a valued connection, an empathetic “team player.” LinkedIn is a communication power tool in your marketing tool box when you use it correctly: combining the right words and actions so as to be easily recalled as an admired collaborator, apart from the competition.
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