Blogger’s note: I met Lynnaire Johnson, a fellow highly-followed LinkedIn coach, when she initiated the connection. Not that I am shy, but as you will read below, NZ’ers are beyond welcoming, and she was a delight to zoom with one afternoon, which was her tomorrow morning (how’s that for mixing up tenses and time zones?). We struck a great connection and I look forward to more conversations.
I offered her a Friday guest blog spot to educate us. I give you Lynnaire, Saturday, as in tomorrow!

When people first learn that I live in New Zealand, they often ask if it all looks like the scenery in Lord of the Rings? (Answer: no, but a lot does.)

Then they ask if we are part of Australia? (Only as much as Canada is part of the US.)

Tucked away at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, we are 5000 kilometres closer to Antarctica than we are to New York. Which makes us very isolated indeed. (And, no, there are no polar bears. There aren’t any at Antarctica either, just penguins.)

At this distance from anywhere you could be forgiven for thinking that we are not an advanced nation. But that wouldn’t be correct, either.

We were the first country in the world to give women the vote (1893) and our current prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, became the world’s youngest female head of government (37) when she was elected in 2017. The first man to reach the top of Mt Everest was our own Sir Edmund Hillary. We also gave you actor Russell Crowe – although Australia does like to pretend he’s theirs – and of course, LOTR movie creator Peter Jackson hails from here.

Being so far from anywhere, New Zealanders (commonly called Kiwis – oh yes, we gave you that fruit, too), love to travel. Which is ironic as the name comes from our flightless native bird. It’s fair to say we are nomadic in that respect. Or rather, we were. But not any longer, for the moment anyway.

As we are not a nation to give up easily, we have become online nomads. Instead of travelling to foreign countries to meet new people, we meet online. And an excellent channel for that, for businesspeople, is LinkedIn.

I have been on the platform since 2008 but only in 2020 did my network suddenly widen to all corners of the globe. I am now connected to and have had meaningful conversations with people on every continent, even as far away as Iceland.

Along with this sudden expansion of my LinkedIn horizons has come the realisation of the importance of building relationships on LinkedIn. I knew it in theory, but the practical reinforcement has awakened me to a whole new world.

We may not be able to meet people in person – although my chances of getting to Iceland even before the travel restrictions were zero – but there are no restrictions on meeting on Zoom. And now that LinkedIn offers a direct link to Zoom to set up meetings, it is even easier.

This combination of circumstances – a pandemic coupled with technology advances – has wrought considerable change in the way we interact. Before, we might have been wary of meeting with someone we didn’t know on Zoom because we feared they might want to sell to us. Now, we casually Zoom with complete strangers because we are all missing the human connections we previously took for granted.

If you have not considered the wealth of opportunity at your LinkedIn fingertips or explored it very far, let me encourage you to do so. My experience is that you will make new friends, learn about different countries and cultures, improve your industry knowledge and perhaps even do business with your connections. You will never know what possibilities are out there unless you begin the conversation.

If you’re unsure about this, start with me. I’m a friendly Kiwi who loves to talk with people from all over. Send me a LinkedIn connection invite mentioning you saw this post and let’s begin that conversation. What do you have to lose?

Lynnaire Johnston is a LinkedIn strategist and trainer from New Zealand, where she is ranked No.1 in her field. She has been a broadcaster and editor, and in 2020 wrote Link∙Ability, 4 powerful strategies to maximise your LinkedIn success (available at all online bookstores). She works with individuals and businesses internationally to help them achieve their professional goals using LinkedIn.