LinkedIn Tips

LinkedIn is the Facebook of Business.

In March 2011 it crossed 100 million users.

I am user 18, 717, 680 and joined in 2007. Hardly an early adopter.

But I’ve read books on it, bumbled my way through the newbie mistakes and social faux-pas. I’m an unabashed fan, promoter and speaker on how to use it for personal success.

I’ve found and created great value here. Seth Godin often says not to hold on to your best value …I’ve been doing that…sorry.

So here now are my 2011 updated LinkedIn tips. (download to print)

Use them in good health, challenge me on them please and if you find them helpful, forward/tweet to someone else!

1) It’s not a resume. It’s a digital business card + opening conversation. Use the opening section to explain why you are the best at what you do and different than the million other people doing it. Match this to your networking style. Bold, clever, succinct, reserved – make it your words. 2) Newbie tip!! Don’t EVER use the standard line “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Change it every time. Let them know where you met, how you know each other and why you want to connect. In 25 words or less. This will get you a 90%+ connection rate. 3) You don’t need to have a killer profile right away. Take your time. I didn’t expand my original profile from just my name and work title for two whole years! Also, you don’t need to upload a picture right away. Remember the picture is 1 inch squared, make it professional (no photos from weddings) but interesting. Not facebook interesting, something that says “I’m a professional, hire me”. 4) Growing connections list, ( #1 new user stress): 95% people you know, 5% strangers. 1. People you already know well. 2. People you’ve worked with in the past. 3. People you know professionally. Optional: 4. Take your time with this, people who lead in your sector, professional heroes or teachers. Follow your gut: Stranger danger! Ignore invitations from strangers and profile surfers. For now. Tip: Connect first to well networked peers to save time looking for names you both know. 5) Eventually, take a risk on step four (above). Know who you want to connect to and enlist others to help. Be bold, aim high. International contacts, authors and big thinkers are here to meet others just like you. I have tried and it worked with powerful results. 6) “Groups” and “LinkedIn Answers” are a huge amplifier of time invested. Again, connect to those in the know and join the groups they’re part of. Answer questions in groups at least once a month. Look at LinkedIn “Answers” in categories that connect to your business and answer questions with useful resources and you’ll become known as a “go to professional”. This will help you make more contacts outside your immediate network but in your sector. It will help dynamic like-minded people find you. 7) Recommendations are important. Consider who you have made an impact on and ask. When you ask be specific about what business or characteristics you’d like them to highlight for you. Give them an out if they’re uncomfortable. HR people look online for this, have at least three. Tip: Fastest way to get recommendations is consider who has made an impact in your career, connect and do this for them! 8) Have rules. Know who you don’t want to connect you. Set a daily time limit for use. Originally I went from 30mins a week, to ten mins a day max. This is not Facebook! It is also addictive and can waste your time. As in your business life – follow the revenue line!! Time = money. 9) If you’re a book reader, upload what you’re reading ( in the Amazon reading list ) and favourite business books online to help others understand how you think and what you value. 10) Use the status update line to provide business value, not updates on your life. Connect to a business titled Twitter account and you’ll double your audience. 2011 tip, too much tweeting annoys your connections. If you tweet a lot, don’t connect these accounts. Your network will turn off your updates and ignore you.
Final word: LinkedIn is a wonderful tool but is seeking to monetize you! Don’t do everything the program tells you when you join like uploading all your information or resume. Go at your own pace. Making your address and phone number visible is a no-no.Hope it’s of help and value… Contact me any time, LinkedIn rules.

Twitter turns five! Who cares!

Ok ok so this post is going to sound bitter and jaded.

Mostly because it is.

I’ll say it again. WHO CARES?!

Facebook has 500 million users
LinkedIn is closing in on 100 million
Twitter at 5 years has over 75 million

And yet, to many of Canada’s largest charities, the social media policy is simple.

Nah, we’re good. We’ll…take a pass.

I didn’t just offer you a baloney sangwich
I’m talking about a media revolution here!!

Still good thanks. Please don’t do it at the office.

Many have told me, we’ll only invest in one.
So of course they’re all on Facebook.
Let me outright state my bias.
I hate Facebook, it’s too damn messy.
People don’t want to do business next to drunken weekend pictures.

I know it’s the best way to build awareness and community.
Business networking is my comfort zone, LinkedIn rules for this.
I know what everyone is there to do.
We do it, and get back to real life.

But even I see the need to be in the conversation.

I was speaking to a peer in charge of communicating with teenagers for a charity.
Her beat is schools and tweens.
She is banned from Facebook at the office.
She knows that even though she gets paid, she is a fraud. She doesn’t exist.
And it’s killing her.

At this point most of you reading this know that social media is here to stay
And while it stays it’s changing the world.

You are in the VAST minority. Don’t kid yourself.

Why am I telling you this?

1) I’m BEGGING you to help my favourite charities catch up. Be ready for the call.

2) Join me for a cup of tea while we watch the Luddite Captain sink the Titanic

Should be fun.

So! Please take Digital Leap through the roof!

My beloved CSI
You are a daily inspiration
And I covet you daily
I’ll send more people your way to be terrified at what you represent…

The titans of social media in my tiny little world continue to stomp around… making trouble and disturbing web 1.0 users

I will gratefully watch,
listen and learn.

Congrats though Twitter.

I would have come to the party
but my typewriter is out of ribbon…

Timeraiser – What a year!

When was the last time you really stepped out of your comfort zone?

Because of a program called “Timeraiser” I did for the past year…
It was uncomfortable and surprisingly exhilarating!

It all began when I joined a LinkedIn group called UnitedWay Toronto GenNext.

A group that was all about “giving a damn” in your city and engaging young professionals.

The first event coming up was called the “Timeraiser 2010″. As someone who works in non-profit, I thought the idea was both brilliant and fascinating.

I went to the event, it was affordable, fun, in a hip and trendy location and had incredible music
(Franklin’s Fault – Incredible live band blues, jazz, funk )

Got swept up in the bidding and the concept of actually having my own original piece of art!

I work up the next day and thought, hey no sweat…I used to volunteer 40 hours a week!
But that was before the wedding ring, dog, cat, baby etc…

It was an interesting year. I met some crazy professional volunteers at a Blue Jays game, which actually led to my first blog post.

Took me outside my comfort zone
as I usually only volunteer with charities I donate to and know well.

Met many amazing professionals and continue to volunteer at the uber-professional Acces Employment Services in Toronto. I joined GenNext for a Speed mentoring evening of theirs. Very well organized, great use of time, highly recommend it.

Even when I helped out with PR for the event I was learning how to use new Twitter functions.

Did some board and other community work – all to end up back at the 2011 event.

Last night was a lot of fun. I picked up my art and capped off an amazing year.

I meet so many people who tell me “I need to get out more and network”
but I know, it’s tiring! Exhausting just thinking about it.

Let me confess here:
Timeraiser gave me the motivation.
GenNext makes it easy.
The charities make it way too much fun to do something good for this world.
Make no mistake I engaged in some $$ making business networking at the event
I met new people who are professionals like me and are now part of my network
I’m a CBC radio junkie and got to meet Garvia Bailey, host of Big City, Small World

It GAVE me energy. Aided my happiness and success in work and life.
I feel almost guilty for going through the experience and ending up ahead.

So! Join GenNext on LinkedIn , Twitter or online today.

Don’t miss Timeraiser 2011 in your city or in Toronto in 2012
( I’ll be there! )

Thank you deeply Timeraiser and GenNext team, you have given me a great gift.

I am eternally grateful.

Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business – Nancy Lublin

As someone who works in non-profit
I’m supposed to love Dan Pallotta’s “Uncharitable

He was given a huge plenary spot at Canada’s biggest fundraising conference this past year. Rave reviews but my challenge is that I find his message important, very valid but pointless.

Yes the non-profit sector is of huge value.
Yes the people who work in charities should be paid more and respected for their contributions.
Yes governments and the public should be more understanding of the cost to make change.
But that’s not how the world works.
Things that should be, may never be.

Like how the nice person in high school never got any dates.

Enter Nancy Lublin and her new book. What the?! Nancy why do non-profit types always have to be iphone-twitter-hippy types riding their bicycles down a hallway?!!?
Ok, that’s better thank you.

Anyway…for profit people are always telling non-profits “you could learn something from us”.

Kind of like how your mom always tells you …
“you could learn something from your cousin Harold/Esther – he/she’s a doctor/lawyer”

But in fact Harold/Esther is always in debt, owns a too-big house, drives a 7 seater Escalade alone and has never helped anyone in this world besides themselves.
Meanwhile your Aunt Charity has always owned her own business, has traveled the world and drives a Prius when she could drive a Benz and helps others every single day of her life.

Not only will for profit folks get a lot out of this book but non-profit folks will get to take a look at where we excel and often forget to take credit. In Lublin’s own words:

“Simply put, really great not-for-profits are brilliant at doing more with less.
We understand the power of zero
We motivate employees to work past five o’clock with commitment, creativity
and passion totally disproportionate to their tiny salaries.
We engage our board members to truly add value to our companies.
We don’t pay them a dime – and actually, most of them pay us!
We skillfully land donors (aka customers) with an artful ask and the promise of getting almost nothing in return other than the knowledge of – and warm fuzzies from- doing something good.
We manage volunteers and get them to produce amazing results-
say, houses or playgrounds or millions of dollars in revenue-
without a competitive interview process, financial compensation,
or the threat of termination”.

Hell yeah!!

You just won’t be proud when you read this book.
You’ll pick up a ton of good stuff you can use at work and in your professional life.

Fun features:
– Get more work and loyalty from your employees
– Get more from engagement from your board
– Communicate with your donors/customers better
– Get more results and communicate better with boomer/millennial volunteers/employees
– 11 questions at end of chapter is better than traditional summary sections
– Case studies and secrets of how the best brands get results
– Master storytelling and relationship building for the purpose of closing
– DO MORE with LESS ( isn’t that the mantra these days? in this book is how )

Ok ok, Palotta’s book is really good. But it’s a call to arms.

This is a working book for all that will help you get results.

You tell ’em Nancy!

Presentation Zen Design – Garr Reynolds

Confession 1: Even though I work in an “office” with four walls, wear a suit and tie, push paper – I think visual design is the sexiest part of business communication and I resent that I suck at it.

As such this book was an indulgence, a pleasure to read, the perfect companion to a high end coffee at 7am or a glass of wine at 10pm.

So many reads these days are friggin textbooks and it’s just exhausting!!! Thank you Garr R.

But Paul, I’m not a designer…this book is “for those of us not trained as professional designers…we know what we like but lack the visual literacy to articulate” and tweak our own stuff!

SO MUCH $$ VALUE HERE. Excellent use of your time if you use Powerpoint.

Confession 2: I have been a total typography nerd since high school. I can name 150 fonts, I am viciously loyal to 4 and can tell you at what age I made something by the typeface I used. Don’t you judge me!!!

FINALLY a book that tells you what font to use for what type of presentation and WHY in two pages.

FINALLY someone who explains what jpeg, gif, tiff, png is and why it matters when using them in any format ( print, presentation and web ).

So many tips here on the use of text, graphics and other resources when printing.

As a Powerpoint addict who dreams of actually using it well
– this is the best read of 2011 so far.

Oh,also, a quick note from Golden Crab 2010 winner Promod Sharma on free visuals

Words that work in business – Ike Lasater, Julie Stiles

Hate the title, the tag isn’t bad:
“A practical guide to effective communication in the workplace”.

It should have been called “confessions of a jerk-wad boss who learned how to be a human being and help others do the same”.

I liked that the writer, a former partner in a law firm fesses up to his challenges and previous solutions. With peers, subordinates and family.

This is a very thin book – worth every second of the read.

Focus on the concept of “NVC“, non-violent communication.

This is NOT touchy-feely let me assure you.

This book will help you:
– Deflate office tension
– Communicate more effectively ( and how to coach others )
– Express your needs more quickly ( without wasting time with “hurt feelings” )
– Not be a bad boss ( and get more from employees )
– Help others help you get better!

This is a MUST READ for anyone manager and above.

The glossary of words associated with office talk was of huge value.

How do you address humanity and still get the damn work done?
– This is the book

Ps. If you are having trouble with people. Read this book.

The Power of Pull – John Hagel, John Seely Brown , Lang Davison

This book goes far beyond the title…
“Pull” is a trendy word right now.

Focus on the tagline: “How SMALL Moves, Smartly Made,
Can Set BIG Things In Motion”.

This book really rocked me because it gave voice to so many frustrations I share with others – but confuse me and I can’t put them into words.

Why do I hate an office environment that treats me so well?
Why do I resent a business model designed for my comfort?
I believe the “system” is broken, but WHAT exactly is broken?

Powerful ideas on how to harness the power of 2011 and beyond tech:
– You can’t staff up, so use your customers as employees using web 2.0

It also really helped me to get over mental hurdles to understand the following super hot items better:
– Why is web 2.0 better?
– Why is twitter so powerful for business besides broadcasting?
– Why should I expand my network beyond my comfort zone?
– How do I expand my network within my comfort zone?

Most importantly it finished off with a powerful model for change.

– Are you a change agent who feels powerless because you’re alone?
– Are you middle management and feel you have no power?
– Are you TOO big and are trapped by success?

You will be taught:

– When to create a change movement
– How to build the platform
– How to invite others to participate
– What results look like

There were times when so much was coming out of this book, so many ideas, realizations and applications that I was rocking back and forth in my chair because my brain was buzzing.

It certainly made the other people at Starbucks nervous.

The book ends with a few statements, but one I like…

“This will be a long march. But it is an essential part of our journey”.

I like this because change type people, techies always say
“OH MAN! This web dohicky is going to instantly change the WORLD!!”
and I wake up the next day and it seems all the same

Progress is understood
Goals are set and benchmarks are agreed upon
It shows you when you know change has been made.

Just LOVED it

Getting Naked – Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni’s books are the most approachable books on vital business knowledge I have ever read. Using the “fable” format is powerful.

This is Lencioni’s latest book. I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear about it, but a confusing caveat
—This book is the LEAST practical of all his previous books. Previous books tackle very “core” subjects:
Better meetings
Breaking down Silo’s
Effectiveness in leadership
Team dysfunction etc…

This one attacks something needed in 2011.
The reason we all ended up in this big mess of a recession.
The reason we’ll not find our way out for a while because of a lack of…..


Not in a wussy, soft way. But in a real sense, in a way that will make us money because of the power that this kind of honesty creates.

Why is this not a practical skill? Because many people don’t want this.

Your boss is probably one of them.

But one day, you are going to be the boss.
And you need to start working on these skills today.

If you have ever found power in honesty, candor, direct but constructive dialogue
– this book is like opium.

I read it in 24 hours, couldn’t put it down.

Patrick Lencioni rules.

Get the book, find out why.

Ps. I can’t guarantee this book is for you but I CAN say that one on the list is.

Switch – Chip and Dan Heath

From the guy’s who wrote the best selling “Made to Stick “. Switch also is a best seller.

This was one of those books that translates well to audio.

A perfect commuter companion – what better time and place the immense difficulty of change than in a broken transit system?

This book is a best seller that steals wholesale from the model of thinking called “Solution Focus“. No problem, it works as a larger walk through of the model and is just filled with great examples of how to make this model work for you.

It’s not a “system” or “program” – solution focused is a way of thinking
(shifting our brains away from the problem and ‘blame’ focus we have now).

If you have ever said “I want things to change” but just gave up at step one.
This book is for you.

It will truly help you to:
– Understand the roots of large and small behavioral change
– Convince others of the need for change and their part in it
– Give you more tools to create a change strategy
– Create a usable model to apply this to all parts of your life

Warning! In this model, change will not be as painful as it may just feel like letting common sense take over. Not all change is pain. Some people like the pain.
If you like the pain and not the solution, don’t get the book.

Practical, real life change is at your fingertips. If you like solutions. Get the book.

An important note, if you like some of the mentions of “solution focus” I have a Canadian leader of the model right here in my network. His name is Alan Kay and he’s just finished a book called “fry the monkeys, create a solution“.

A new place is born – YNP Canada

This is my hat
and tonight it goes off to:

Brock Warner,
Diane Faure and the team at Stephen Thomas Ltd.

Now, I’m not going to lie.

I’m openly pissed off and jealous that they made the first move.

Others have tried, so many have flapped their jaws about it ( me included )

But no one bit the bullet, ate the budget and came out, network swinging.

Someone had to do this. Sure I hold private events for my network. But a big brand, a respected player in the community had to come out and take the lead.

Not only was it branded well but a well chosen speaker nailed the tone and the topic.

Drew Dudley and the ST team said the “unspeakable“. Something I’ve been dying to hear from the many fundraising “associations” but just could not and would not be said.

We know the system is broken.
So make sure you know how to work it, understand why you’re here
and when the time comes…..
Quit. Get out. Follow your heart, dreams and gut. There is success there.

I loved that Drew quoted from my beloved Seth Godin and Robin Sharma.
He asked us to consider how we value ourselves, our work and not to judge ourselves against the barometer of others.

I met so many new people! Very refreshing
A nod to the Humber class of 2011 great to see you out.

Although ST team… tsk tsk. Where was the commercial? The speech, ST hand stamps?

I already respected your team but I wouldn’t refer you out of just gratitude – I will on the fact that you made this happen because it was the right thing to do and you kept your institutional integrity. Which is so rare.

This team continues to, as Seth Godin says “ship”. FIRST.

A real contribution to our community was made tonight.

A new safe space for young third sector professionals ( I won’t say nfp Drew… )

Very exciting stuff. I look forward to future events…

Sleep well ST – you did some real good today.

“Leadership and learning are indespensable to each other” JFKBrock, Drew, Diane and CEO of ST ... Neil G