Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Guest blogger Don Heymann gets specific, and that’s really good

guest blogBlogmaster’s note: I met Don at the very start of my entrepreneurial career 19 years ago, and I admired him for his resolve as an entrepreneur–now over 30 years (!)– and his choice oral and written words.

In the pandemic I have reached out to old friends with  whom I have drifted apart to rekindle relationships and this guest blog piece is the result of one of those contacts. I am glad to be back in touch with you again, Don, and thank you for you astute observations today.

Simple and Specific: The Key to Understanding in Your Writing

You might think that being too specific in your communications might confuse busy readers or distract audiences, but it’s quite the opposite. Using simple language and being appropriately specific in your descriptions have been proven to increase understanding and retention. Here are some examples:

  • Memorable: “The man proceeded down the street.” “The tall man with wavy grey hair scurried down Park Avenue.” The second sentence is more memorable. Why? Because it paints a mental picture; you can “see” the man and the action.
  • Believable: Two employees show up late to work and both make excuses. One says, “There was an accident, and I ran into some traffic.” The other one says, “There was an accident on Elm Street, near the Stop & Shop. Two lanes were blocked off – a black Mercedes flipped over.” The second story is more believable because it’s specific, not vague. And it’s more compelling because
    people can “see” it.
  • Precise: (Example 1) “Most people expect to own a home, but a lot of them can’t manage the financing.” (Example 2) “Eighty percent of adult Americans expect to own their own home, but only 45 percent can actually afford it.” The first sentence is mildly interesting but vague, the specificity in the second sentence makes the point clearly and precisely.

Being specific helps your reader understand and engage, but it’s more memorable and relatable with simple language. This is especially true when you want your LinkedIn profiles or social media self-branding posts to rise above the clutter. For example, you might want to avoid vague and overly used terms like “mission-driven,” “results-oriented” and even “passionate.” Aren’t we all?  Instead focus on what you specifically bring to the table to benefit your target audience.

Some people also think using big, fancy words is a reflection of intelligence and erudition. But again, the opposite is more likely to be the case. Smart, insightful people try to connect, to achieve understanding and acceptance… through simple language.

So, strive to be a credible communicator – avoid clichés, fancy words and jargon, and choose simple language and specific examples to successfully convey even complex ideas.

As an active member of LinkedIn, I read hundreds of profiles and posts every week, and I see a broad range of writing quality – terrific, good and not-so-good. If you’re looking to attract a potential employer, new client or partner, how you write is as important as what you write.

With every LinkedIn post, you’re leaving an impression about who you are and how you think, because people naturally equate clear writing with clear thinking. It’s a fundamental attribute that will help you engage the people you want to reach.

 

For more than 30 years, Donald L. Heymann has been an independent writer and content strategist, working across many industries, including healthcare, science and technology, consumer products, finance, social services, public affairs and philanthropy.Profile photo of Don Heymann

Clients have included Pfizer, PepsiCo, J&J, GE, Merck, IBM, Anthem, Citibank and Unilever, as well as such leading non-profit and social service organizations as The Nature Conservancy, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Save the Children and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

In addition, Don is an adjunct instructor in marketing and strategic communications writing at NYU’s School of Professional Studies, and he conducts effective writing workshops for business and non-profit groups.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Change is good; well, most times

There’re rumors of changes coming on LinkedIn. Is it a good thing or just same-old-same-old-change for the sake of change? A tweak here, a snip there?

Well as you may have experienced, we never know what will change on LinkedIn day-to-day, just that some things disappear then reappear the next day, or go away completely. Perhaps they blog about the soon-to-be-deceased section, perhaps not.

Perhaps they add some new service or section, and then irregularly give it to us, globally, inconsistently, slowly.

PS, LinkedIn, if you are reading this. I am STILL waiting for LinkedIn Live. I’ve asked twice. I am a LinkedIn expert (read my profile and my articles and my posts, etc.). Others I know you have given it to have anemic profiles and use LinkedIn sporadically. I am not sure I;ll ever understand how you create equity among members.

There was a reduction in force at LinkedIn recently. Fewer people to make it a better product, fewer professionals to help other professionals. Yes, the economy is cratering, unemployment at double digits, but can you really convince me you are not able to support a staff with the subscription prices and advertising revenue you must be raking in? Especially in this free-for-all among recruiters using your high-priced service aimed at them? Rhetorical question.

That’s change, I suppose, but not in a good way.

We are getting reports of an upcoming change in the Settings and Privacy function’s format. That would be a good change. Anything would be better,, since it’s unwieldy now. It’s confusing to understand and hard to maneuver. Bring it on.

Finally, the great minds who geek the LinkedIn algorithm (that in part determines what works best for being found in a search) have decided that 6, not 3 hashtags make for more eyes on your post. So take a little more time to add to your post with 3 more #s and be seen more too. No one knows, exactly how this works, but my colleagues do routinely share new findings, so bravo to them, and I am glad to share this with you.

Yoda might postulate “Change, good is it?” Well, most of the time.

Keep up with changes as they come along, adapt them to your daily routine, and you can benefit.

But you have to be in to win it, as the advertisement says. LinkedIn is not a spectator sport.

Tomorrow: wordsmith Don Heymann gives us some guest blog ideas to chew on how we write, high quality as always!

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Gray or not, a LinkedIn aura needs to surround you

auraGray on top? Many of us are. (Or were until hair salons reopened.)

Many are working longer. Some will never stop, including me.

My network includes hundreds of septua- and octogenarians who are vital and unafraid of technology and relevant  in business today. It’s refreshing.

It’s exhilaratingly impressive to know an octogenarian with a radio show, a septuagenarian with more MLM marketing energy than two 35-year olds, and so many other storybook characters of all ages and interests in between.

Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) have so much to offer. I offer my own special sauce of  LinkedIn expertise that I as a fellow boomer learned from a living laboratory of other boomers, in almost 9 years teaching these recently under- and unemployed, experienced workers.

But the LinkedIn phenomenon skipped a lot of them, or they didn’t pay enough attention to it while employed. Now under different circumstances, they have to come up to warp speed, really efficiently. Pressure mounts, days tick away, Their LinkedIn profile is under construction.

I created an e-course for boomers and in doing so was challenged by the lack of graphics showing grey-haired employees. Ageism? Lack of demand? 

Meeting the new demand for this soft skill LinkedIn training in an unemployment environment that is forecast to end the year at 10%, I will teach two zoom courses on this topic for AARP in early September. Same course repeated once in the afternoon 9/2 and once in the evening 9/9.

Now to a different audience, seasoned (also salt-and pepper) coaches, Mike Mittleman and I, are teaming up to teach recent college grads. What’s most rewarding is that parents want us to get their kids out of their houses and for this new generation of workers to become taxpayers, asap.

With a little polish, we developed this project to provide our expertise to two generations, parents of, and college grads too, at once in an integrated online program of 5 courses (resume writing, cover letters, LinkedIn profile techniques, networking into a job, and interviewing) that is technically possible to all to access, of course at a price the expertise we share.

“You can’t pick my brain, it costs too much” as the article suggests. It’s too good a program to pass up, but perhaps I am a bit blinded by the gloss on our end product.

Shine on, class of 2020, and their parents in buying this for them, knowing the competition is fiercer than ever before and the challenges more daunting in a cratered economy of 10+% unemployed.  

 

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to Basics Tuesday: location, location, location

LI_locationsearchLook at your own LinkedIn profile and be sure that you have identified the largest, nearest metro area as your geographic location.

Not the name of your little town. Click the blue pencil right under the banner in the top right corner of your profile page.

Select from the dropdown, as I needed to do:

LI-metro city

Why?

First you want to show you are working in as wide an area as possible, unfettered by town limits. If there were “global” as a location, many of us would choose that but it’s not in the dropdown…

Second, and most importantly, in LinkedIn’s search function. no one will select, or find you, if they can’t remember the name of your little town as a search criterion, but they are more likely to find you if they  associate you with a metro area.

LI_metro_search

{Ignore my above recommendation if you are a residential real estate agent specializing in just one town, but really, am I right: very few can tie themselves to one town anymore?}

PS, NYC metro folks, change your location on your Intro Card (as in my top graphic) to “New York City Metropolitan area,” which was changed a while ago from the earlier (now renamed) “Greater New York City Area.”

Don’t worry, the search will still find you, although it still shows “Greater New York City Area.”

Now doesn’t that seem weird? But we have to move on, in a New York second. 

 

 

 

 

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

In every step you take

2steps

I meet professionals in all walks of life, some crawling  s l o w l y  into a new position, some sashaying into a new profession, others jumping into a new industry, and many running the ever-rotating career gerbil wheel, too many aimless in their end vision.

What do you want to be when you grow up? No matter how old you are, how do you express that on your LinkedIn profile?

Have you stopped growing? I hope not, for your sake.

How do you explain the great things you learned along the way, from job to job, industry to industry (remember: skills transcend industries and jobs) and like the metaphorical experience cards I have spoken about here before, how do you pull them out when needed, put them away when finished, and how does very act of extension and retention makes you valuable?

Keep adding to the experiences and skills you bring with you. Tell us why you from the POV of the skill set that defines you.

Explain in your LinkedIn profile narrative how this is an additive, experiential process, even an experimental one, like layers of the onion that make it so rich and flavorful.

But you must explain how you learned to walk before you ran.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Guest Blogger Ken Labach’s view of the world

guest blogKen Labach, a relatively new networking colleague I met in the pandemic era via a favorite zoom networking group, is a DC-based technology and privacy attorney who fills the gap as a board level advisor between legal, technology, and commercial operations. He is quite a conversationalist and laughs a lot. So I liked him immediatley. And he shares my political views, not to be mentioned in this blog, but that makes him even more brilliant! Thanks, Ken, for rocking my world.

 

For the last twenty years I’ve had a map of the world on the wall in my office.  Not a conventional map, but one that shows the world with the South at the top, East to the left, and centered on Africa.  The map is getting a lot of exposure now that I am having more video conference calls and from time to time, people will ask why I have an “up-side-down map” on my wall.  That gets us talking, mainly about conventional thinking and how it can blind us to the alternatives.

worlsupsidedown

I don’t have an “up-side-down” map on my wall, it’s just a regular map with South at the top.  On this sphere we all live on, South at the top is just as valid as North at the top.  There is no definitive right and wrong way to orient a map.  These are just different ways of looking at the same globe.  Each is a unique perspective and reveals different aspects of the world.

And that’s why I like this map.  It reminds me to look at the world around me and think about different perspectives.  It reminds me that while conventional viewpoint has great value and generally leads to the predictable and accepted response to a situation, that conventional viewpoint can, sometimes, get in the way of a new answer, a better idea, or an innovative solution.

When I’m faced with a challenge, I like to look at as many perspectives as possible.  I’m looking for the maximum number of choices and the widest range of input so that I can make the best decision possible.  Quite often, it is the conventional viewpoint that leads to the best idea or a solid answer.  But sometimes turning my perspective “up-side-down” redefines the world and reveals another better route I can take that can lead to a creative solution.

I think this technique applies in many situations, even building a LinkedIn profile.  I struggled with how to present my core message to the world of colleagues, clients, employers, prospects, and friends.  It was only by going through this process and adjusting my perspective to each potential reader that I was able to make sure I got the message and presentation right for me.

Profile photo of Ken Labach

Ken is always looking for that new and creative way to help his clients succeed.  He owns and manages Labach PLLC, a boutique law firm catering to software developers and companies.  When they need guidance on winning key contracts and customers, his understanding of the market for business software is the experience they need to show their company in the best light, and to get comfortable with the demands of a corporate customer.  In addition to drafting and negotiating software contracts, he guides customers on software security and privacy policies, and advises them on the legal issues that come up on a daily basis.

 

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Fakes, frauds, and fiends

secure signs-1172211_1920

LinkedIn is rife with fakes these days. We can define these fakes if you think critically of how they present themselves to you, actually nuisances: non-people, with fake profiles, attempting to connect to you, and/or adding likes or off-context, short,  milquetoast comments to your posts.

Their profiles usually appear as headshot pictures of young women, showing them seductively dressed (definitely not business attire!), appearing as university students with very few connections and no substance to their profiles.

So,  to “So-phia,” with the low-cut blouse from the University of Southern North Dakota (I made that up to not name the university that was actually shown) with 5 connections and no profile narrative, I’m onto you. Scammer.

As the graphic above shows, secure, valued, included is earned. Unsafe, useless, outcast are perceptions of critical thinkers

Readers, please be selective and responsible in your connections and acceptance of others’ comments. I’ve said that here often before. Now I gave you another reason: false profiles.

So let’s put a stop to this, together.

Delete their comments, report them to LinkedIn as suspected fake profiles, and reject their connection request by blocking them. Click the link in the previous sentence for the procedure. Keep this handy as it’s going to come again and again and again.

I’ve had to proceed accordingly every day this week. Some days for multiple fakes stacked up in my messages and connection requests.

LinkedIn is self-policing. If you see something, do something: deny, block and report them. 

Completely changing the subject, look for guest blogger Ken Labach’s unique view of the world (literally!) tomorrow.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Psst, wanna know how to get your recent college grad out of your house with a job? Have a swig of this!

secret sauce

I always wanted to know my blood type. So I asked at my recent appointment and was pleased to find out I among a narrow 8.5% of Caucasians, so I guess that makes me rare. B+.

Conversely, a B+ GPA average in school is not remarkable or even a differentiator these days. Competition is intense. That grad needs to buff everything else up to make a showing as best in class.

Literally.

I try to be positive (get it?). Grads, you should be too in your job search.

Statistics out of context can tell different stories to different people. Your job is to rise above the above-average, to the top 8.5% or less.

That B+, above-average resume and cover letter will not get past the bots to human eyes: I learned this from a guy who really knows his stuff, and now your son/daughter can learn tips, techniques and templates from my esteemed experienced, colleague and friend Mike Mittleman.

Did I mention I liked working with him too?

We are partnering to co-produce an online package of educational materials for the recent (class of 2020) college graduates and rising seniors (class of 2021) looking for their first all-important career positions. It’s titled “Your First Career Position: The Best In Class Program.”

Parents want them ideally out of the house, to become taxpayers. Period. Isn’t that the way of the world? It’s just even more competitive in our COVID new now economy!

We are collaborating on e-learning modules in the package on networking, interviewing, and I am slathering on my special LinkedIn sauce to make it all tie together.

A package of courses. Hours of e-based learning in one place. Decades of experience on the topics that must be shared.

Stay tuned.

Grand announcement coming soon.

Not a B+ work, rather an A+ tour de force to set your dependent on to independence, and no blood will be spilled, I promise!

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Back to Basics Tuesday: don’t do the “dead cat bounce”

cat-3161795_1920Animal lovers, forgive me, but I have been looking for a name to a rather infrequent, yet disturbing LinkedIn phenomenon that I see, and finally found it: the “dead cat bounce.”

Wikipedia defines it generally, rather than the specific financial market term it originally is, as:

any case where a subject experiences a brief resurgence during or following a severe decline.

Here’s what I define as the “LinkedIn dead cat bounce:” an announcement on my Home page: (the yellow highlighting is due to my use of the search function for this obscure specimen that crept across my screen a few days ago and slunk away):

FIRSTTIME

Am I to be excited? Is there a scout merit badge for reawakening? Like that announcement’s supposed to entice me to read the post, which I will likely not, since they spent no time heretofore on brandishing a LinkedIn brand, much less polishing it!

So like observing a formerly-bounced now-dead cat, I avert my attention, not really wanting to see what that looks like.

And I can count on there being no brief resurgence of interest from that person later regularly contributing to LinkedIn, beyond the whimper that I just saw.

That type of reemergence from an absence is only forgivable if they just came back to earth from another dimension or a distant galaxy, and then I bet they will have lots to tell us.

But that’s not the case, is it?

Bounce like you are a live professional, on your toes no matter how far you leapt, and spring like a living, contributing professional, adding to the conversation of LinkedIn going on continually, not just once and then to disappear.

Contribute, opine, add, share, congratulate, be a giver.

No one does business with a dead cat. Don’t fall out of the sky and bounce just once, your last thud.

Today's LinkedIn Nugget

I don’t “emoji.” Let’s strive to actually use real words, unconstrained by symbols, OK?

dontuseemojisFriday was World Emoji Day.

Ho hum. (Notice there is no frowny-face here.)

Imagine a world in which we use rich human language, from my fingers to your eyes, to/from everyone we are connected to. Not lazy emojis or “likes” that are LinkedIn hit-and-runs. Let’s “off” emojis. Let’s boycott pre-fabbed LInkedIn comments to click on and skulk away.

Tell me why you like, celebrate, support, love, obtain insight, are curious. Go beyond the already pedestrian norm of click-and-go.

Use words, dear people. Key them in, with thought and intent. Take the time and show you care. Be real. 

My friend and colleague Kimberly Rice interviewed me on this very topic and several times in the conversation I implored the listeners not to just “like” the podcast. Yet, against admonition, we received dozens of “likes,” one “heart,” but I was heartened by several people adding comments.

OK, that’s a start. Who’s with me to change the least common denominator?

Perhaps this is my newest one-man LinkedIn crusade: to urge you to do better. I suspect some of you will be able help me break this laziness habit and following my lead, urge your connections to offer sincere and intelligent comments.

Rather than a quick ponder “Hmmm, I wonder which of these 6 emojis is best?” in the time you take to decide, you could have keyed in a nice comment, even a simple “bravo/brava!”

So folks, DO NOT “like” this blog post. Tell me WHY you like this blog post.