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Mission: Promote purposeful passionate people to help them reach professional and personal potential while enjoying life to the fullest. DISCLAIMER: This is a PERSONAL blog. Views expressed are my own. Names listed have given permission.

Monday, March 28, 2011

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.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Twitter turns five! Who cares!

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

Mostly becau
se 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 j
ust 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 t
o drunken weekend pictures.

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

But even I see the need to be in the conversati

I was speaking to a peer in charge of communicating with teenager
s 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, s
he 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 min
ority. 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...

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
my typewriter is out of ribbon...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

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 i
n 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 le
arning 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 mo
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.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

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 s
ector 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" JFK

Brock, Drew, Diane and CEO of ST ... Neil G