Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Take no shortcuts to a finished product

challahs2010This Sunday evening starts Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Since I was 16, I have been baking a challah at this time of the year. The YouTube linked to the word challah above tells its symbolic story well.

By way of explanation, it’s an especially sweet, rich egg bread (with raisins) braided and shaped into a round to symbolize the sweetness and cycle of the year. The entire process of proofing, mixing, rising, braiding, rising and baking takes about 8 hours in total. Yes, there are breaks in between (such as now as I write this). But it takes time to make it right. And the results of long hours spent are so rewarding.

As the years have gone by, I’ve added notes to the recipe and eventually the page in the recipe book became food-stained, a bit ragged and scribbled with ideas and pointers to make the next challah even better. No shortcuts can be taken, as yeast is not particularly forgiving if rushed. They have an important job and should not be pressured.

The recipe is just a series of steps, with new improvements and tweaks. Only I can appreciate the decades of progress and especially the smiles when first tasted. The photo you see above is from 2010.

I do particularly bristle at the no-knead, speedy versions of making challah that abound on the internet, since I know well what I make is tried and true, and time-tested. Baking is chemistry and IMHO I like the old alchemy, in keeping with my heritage.

OK, what is the LinkedIn connection (as this IS a LinkedIn blog)?

Don’t cut corners. There is no shortcut to crafting a masterful LinkedIn profile, section by section, or writing a long-form Post. These works take time, thought, editing and adjusting. Weigh each phrase as if it is part of a complicated recipe.

I linked an earlier LinkedIn Post I wrote on this theme here, in case you want to see more of my thoughts on this topic.

You know that you need to start with a great profile, and continually make changes to your profile as you change. Don’t seek the easy or short way.

And just a word further: there will not be blog posts on Monday and Tuesday next week. See you Wednesday.

Happy new year to you if you celebrate.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

“You’re the only one who came to pitch someone else’s business”

rocketI wish that was said about me. It was said to Steve Tessler, as he relates the story.

It is a summation of his persona. If you meet him, you immediately “get” his giving nature. Very few people earn such a compliment as in the title of this blog installment.

Knowing Steve, you will feel comfortable as a respected and referable peer. But of course, I had to earn that.

I had the good fortune to spend some 1-on-1 time with him comparing notes as we walked in NYC yesterday. We agree on so many planes.

From that walk I was on my way to meet with one of his referrals, one of his most valued clients. In the appointment we found there is good potential for business opportunity. By Steve setting the tone, I carried the responsibility for developing concepts into reality, pain into relief.

I did not expect him to pre-sell my services. I was just fortunate to receive his warm endorsement as a referral. I rose to the expectation he set for me and his client.

As you know, business relationships take many forms and work in different formats. LinkedIn is my musical instrument to bring great connections into harmony and watch the creative sparks fly.

It makes my job easy if one connection’s profile speaks for him/herself with just my brief introduction to the other person. Like Steve, I serve as the catalyst, then I step aside. They carry the music on to new levels.

I am pleased to have facilitated the first steps in many success stories, and I hope you see how vital LinkedIn can be, BUT (and a big but) your LinkedIn profile must speak for you and express why you do what you do–really well.

That’s one first giant step, then perhaps comes that meeting, or two, (or three), one at a time. One thing leads to another. Sales success is iterative.

Nothing starts unless the first step is met.

 

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

My book; your book.

goJust got the email I was awaiting from the American Bar Association:

LinkedIn® Marketing Strategies for Law and Professional Practices: Techniques That Work has officially launched into production!

It’s been a work in progress since late May 2015, when I first met with them to put forward my concept for a field guide to smarter use of LinkedIn  as a marketing tool.

Coming in February 2017.

From the back cover:

Hundreds of millions of global businesspeople use LinkedIn daily as a power tool to forge connections, nurture relationships, search, assess, and choose professionals they can rely upon. Like any tool, using it right brings optimal effectiveness.

After 7 years coaching and training professional practitioners: consultants, attorneys, CPAs, insurance producers, financial planners, and multipreneurs–just about anyone offering services–I was convinced we need a field reference guide, time-tested, broken into short blocks covering each LinkedIn section.

We professionals work tirelessly to perfect our marketing and branding to clients and answer:

  • “Why choose me?”
  • “What unique experience can I offer?” and
  • “How can I demonstrate my value and skillset?”

Building our brand takes time, deep thought, and continual tweaking. A few embrace this ongoing challenge. Most shiver at the thought and stop short.

Here’s what this book does differently: it doesn’t tell you what to do, where to click, with directions that go stale soon after publishing due to a change in LinkedIn; rather, it explores long term marketing techniques and concepts: how and why to make each LinkedIn section work, and based on actual experiences.

It explains how to manage your brand within your LinkedIn profile: an essential skill, no matter what field you practice in, adding special focus on attorneys and other professionals under the ethics and compliance guidelines in their industries.

The book you are holding will lead you to express why you do what you do, and thus convince clients that you are the one they need.

With thanks to all who contributed and participated (many of you reading this blog post).

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Working smarter, not harder; investing with quality not quantity on #LinkedIn

toolboxYou know my take on LinkedIn: a power tool in your self-branding toolbox.

I could not agree more with the author of a recent article I found, as she says in the very last line of the article, “For me, it’s all about teaching people to work smarter, not harder on LinkedIn.”

Yes, that means it takes time and effort to think deeply about how you want to portray yourself:

  • in words and phrases smarter than the competition, unique among seemingly equals, in your own words, as if you are actually speaking to the reader, who has limited attention span and time to “get” you.
  • well crafted sections, one by one, telling your story in different ways and in multiple contexts to paint your image. Impressions, right? To make him or her contact you.
  • a high quality, reliable professional entourage of connections around you to cheer you on, and you them.
  • your “why you do what you do” accentuated by recommendations and real knowledgeable skills endorsements echoing “how well you do that.”
  • and a final observation, the right keywords peppered in your Headline, Summary and Experience sections, as well as Skills, to be found in the search engine that LinkedIn really is.

Now that’s quality over quantity and if that means extra work on your part, it’s an investment in yourself.

Anyone care to argue? Ok, I didn’t think so…

 

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Cancel me not

timingI had a great day planned. One appointment after the other, all in the same direction and efficient. Then the changes started. One thing after another.
All very politely delivered, with the polite offer by the changers to reschedule.
The remainder is a messy day, crossing the county in a most efficient way with this 3 hour hole in the middle.
I could get angry. That accomplishes nothing.
And I get that business priorities change and everyone’s schedule is their own and my visit is one more item on the agenda.
“He can reschedule. He can be delayed. He can always come back.” Or at least that’s the mentality in today’s service economy.
And get my correct message here: I do it too, however, only when unavoidable, in respect of the other person’s schedule too, but not to clients, not to prospects.
Doctors say they reserve the right to charge you for a last-minute cancellation. Taking their example, my contracts to teach at a company or firm state that a specified charge is expected for schedule changes or delays 5 or fewer business days ahead of the date we agreed.
I just wish I had the same capacity to charge prospective clients who change our scheduled sales meetings in the same way.
Alas, it’s just not possible.
But I ponder: why is one use of time different, more expensive, more acceptable to cancel than another?
A question and practice to mentally debate yet never finalize in my mind, or my target’s.
What do you do to preclude this from happening to your schedule? Please make this a conversation.
Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Keeping up

top of mindLinkedIn announced some changes are a-comin’. Soon.

One morning you will look at LinkedIn on your desktop, and rubbing your eyes, it will look a lot like the version on your smartphone.

I am not sure I am in favor of that, but they didn’t consult me, so it’s time for me to admit that the LinkedIn designers won and I give in.

I honestly do not know anyone that really likes the smartphone version. Myself included. I ask a lot of people this. Confirming my opinion, they say it’s no where as intuitive as the desktop version and that’s not saying much at all.

Crunched into a small screen, many things you can do on the desktop just don’t exist on the smartphone. No one has ever been able to explain why they cannot be exactly the same on both. But that’s not an issue any more. And maybe that techno-gap has now changed.

I just wish the smartphone version would look exactly like the desktop version. But that’s not in the cards. I have to keep up and so do you.

One way is to be sure you have the latest version of the LinkedIn apps installed on your phone. Do not disregard new app versions.

Be practiced and ready when the desktop version changes.

That is all.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Personalizing #LinkedIn connection requests on the fly (or rails)

3dotsliappLast night on my way train ride home from the workshop I co-presented, I pulled out my smart phone, opened the LinkedIn app, and asked 3 attendees to connect with me.

I liked them, thought we had much to offer each other, and wanted to keep the contacts warm.

You know me, I really stress the importance of a well crafted, personalized connection request. I had the time, and initiated the effort.

In transit, I had to use the LinkedIn app. The LinkedIn app, flawed as it is (see earlier blog posts on this), does allow you to send a customized, personalized, warm connection request to another person. You just need to know where to look for this gem! Here’s how:

Key in a name on the search bar at the top of your screen.Tap the three dots to the right of the search field (I drew a red box around for emphasis).

Tricky huh? LinkedIn is {unfortunately} full of such hidden nooks and crannies!

The next screens you see allow you 1) to choose “Personalize Invite,” (among other things) and then 2) to write a personalized invitation to connect.

Notice in the second screen below that LinkedIn suggests you give the intended connection context: where you know that person, to which I will add: where you met, and/or what you spoke about, and/or a mutual connection, etc., in sum, useful clues who you are and what you offer him or her.

3dotsliapppart2

Do not always expect a prospective connection to open your connection request soon after you sent it. Sometimes it takes days/weeks, so you need to give context of who you are and what you offer, thus to refresh their memory, just to be on the safe side that your connection request will not go unnoticed or seem suspect.

I wish you more successful, and meaningful connections, and to start them out the right way!

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Eyes off the road for #boomers

retirementjobs-comMaybe I should have kept my eyes completely on the road, but during a drive to Boston this past weekend, I happened to notice a sign whiz past me on a building, showing the location of the offices of RetirementJobs.com.

I just looked at their website and was intrigued, especially by their certified age-friendly employer program.  It’s a great idea, especially when I hear the tales of overt age discrimination that my students face. Since I have no track record with them (and cannot recommend them yet), I like the concept and woud be interested in their success rates.

I just emailed them to inquire about offering LinkedIn for underemployed boomers webinar classes. My three-part series that I’ve taught “live” in classrooms in Westchester County, NY would be ideally repurposed.

Seems they can use some LinkedIn pointers too as there is no mention of LinkedIn anywhere on their website.

I’ll let you know if they nibble. But have a look, if you dare to take your eyes off the routine, established path to finding a job when you are post-50 years old.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

On limits on #LinkedIn

wordsI am now writing the back cover of my new book and was alotted 250 words. Seems like a lot. It’s not.

Numerous edits, slices and dices. Almost there, I think. We’ll see what the marketing and editorial staff members think.

To accomplish this 250-word oeuvre, I took my own advice (as routinely offered to my students) to create a few completely fresh-paged versions, cut and paste the best of each attempt into a final draft, like shuffling cards.

Voila! I had a pretty good version to end with yesterday evening. I’ll be taking a fresh look at it this morning to make any final changes.

So it is with your profile, section by section.

You will never get it just right the first or second or third time. And you have character limits in some of the sections on your LinkedIn profile, most notably the infamously challenging Headline (just 120 characters including spaces) to boil down your entire career into so small a space and attract further reading, so several attempts should be anticipated.

It takes days of on-and-off work and perhaps several iterations but for your best self-branding, it’s worth it. To you and to your prospective clients.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Takeaways from the #LinkedIn chief

oprah_and_weinerCEO of LinkedIn Jeff Weiner was a guest on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday last week. In a 45 minute interview, he told a lot about his personal philosophies. Both seemed to enjoy the repartee like friends chatting around a fireside.

I especially enjoyed 3 points he made in his comments; you will want to use these takeaways in re-evaluating how you portray yourself to the reader of your respective LinkedIn profiles branding yourself and your company:

Point A: Demonstrate “I am the type of person you want to work with because:

  1. I dream big,
  2. I get stuff done,
  3. I know how to have fun.”

Point B: Tell “I believe…”

Point C: Talk about “I am most proud of…”

You can’t go wrong doing this if you are sincere and intelligible.

Get started!