Linked … In

We have a women leadership group called WISE at work. The mandate is to foster a community to support each other and make sure women have a strong voice and leadership presence. I was asked by the committee to give a talk about LinkedIn tomorrow at a lunch & learn session.

The reason that I was selected to share my experience is because of my active LinkedIn profile and strong communications expertise and credibility. I happily accepted the invitation.

Here are the a few aspects that I’ll share with the WISE members tomorrow.

* The Why. Like everything else in life, it’s important to know why you are doing certain things before you go ahead to do it. What do you want to achieve? What’s your goal? What does success look like? Just a few years ago, you could easily ignore your digital footprint and it wouldn’t affect your real-world interactions. Today, it’s no longer the case. Your digital presence has an effect (either positive or negative)on your career and business. Whether you are looking for a new job, getting a promotion, or exploring new business opportunities, your online presence shapes how others view you.

So, to me, why I’m an active Linkedin user is because I want to establish my personal branding on this huge platform. It allows me to project an image as a seasoned communications leader who has vast interests in story-telling, culture building, leadership, change management and globalization.

* The Tricks – the How and the What.

There are different ways to maximize this online tool to meet your personal needs.

1. Make sure you have a complete profile – your professional glamor shot, the concise and updated summaries of your experience, the endorsement that you can get and you can give, etc. This is your online business card, so let it speak and make it shine!

2. Build your network with quality connections. The number of connections doesn’t matter. What matters the most is WHO they are. I receive random invitations everyday but most of the time I ignore them. It’s the one that can add value to your overall goal and that you want to have a connection with & be associated with.

3. Listen and engage. I’m a savvy reader. I read lots of books and I’m particularly interested in topics such as strategy, leadership, and culture, as well as how Communication can play a role in all of these areas. One of the things that I like to do is to search the book authors and follow them and read their posts on LinkedIn. Most of them share their theories and thoughts on a regular basis such as Susan Cain, Brene Brown, Adam Grant, etc.. Once you know what you are interested in, make sure you regularly share relevant and valuable posts. That will not only help you to be kept on top of people’s mind, but also establish your personal branding. Caution: Don’t do it just for the sake of doing it. Do it when you see it adds value. Your network do not want to read junky updates because we all get tons of it everyday.

4. To become an influencer and thought-leader in your respective area. Start to find your own voice and write your own posts so that you can inspire others and connect with people that have common interests at a much deeper level.

* The Impact. At the end of the day, meeting your own goal through the online platform is encouraging and satisfying, but the most rewarding experience is when you can help others. A couple of months ago, a young Communication professional that works for a healthcare company in Montreal reached out to me for connection. I accepted her request because part of the reason was that her company is a reputable healthcare company. A few days later, she sent me a private message requesting a coffee chat because she wants to understand what it takes for someone to land on a position as mine. I said yes to her because I want to help. Helping others is the best thing one can do, right?

At the end of the day, it’s YOU, and only you who take full control of your reputation and image, online and offline. So, build it, shape it, enhance it and master it.

“Help the people in your network. And let them help you.”

– Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn

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