Using the right tool for the right purpose is a decision. Would you use a drill to hammer a nail? I doubt it.

So in the midst of a project or event, gather the tools you need at the right time. Have them handy. Before, during and after a networking party, you need to keep LinkedIn in mind and use it in ways that will maximize your efficiency and effectiveness.

It takes planning, dexterity and finesse, and practice.

Before. Given only 3 invitation slots for an upcoming networking party, to be held in a couple of weeks on the rooftop terrace of a NYC hotel in midtown, I had to make some choices:

  • to whom do I want to return a favor,
  • who works in the NYC metro area,
  • whose business does not conflict with an existing networking group member,
  • who could possibly be interested in membership,
  • who can socialize and network well with the members?

So I perused my LinkedIn connections using the advanced search and came up with a short list. Emails went out, some came back with regrets so others went out.

During. At a recent event I met a most interesting woman who made it very easy for me to discuss my business and she hers, and as mentioned in a recent blog post, I excused myself to review her profile on my smartphone to return to her later and continue the excellent conversation with my new-found intelligence.

After. Follow-up every prospective connection at the event I attended, referring to notes I scribble on the back of their business cards, I decide whom to invite to connect to me, or to continue the dialog over coffee at a later date. I also review their profile before the next contact to find additional areas to lead the conversation.

LinkedIn is a powertool in your brand marketing toolbox. Use it wisely.