Video Interview by Frankwatching: 10 golden tips to use LinkedIn (in Dutch)

May 29, 2009

The crew of Merge Media interviewed me for Frankwatching about how to use LinkedIn to increase sales and for personal branding.

Out of the half hour interview they made a nice selection of tips.

Look at the interview on the website of Frankwatching (in Dutch, 11 minutes). Als je het interessant vindt, geef het interview dan gerust een stem 🙂

Have a great networking day !

Jan

Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach and author of “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” (English) and “Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken” (Dutch)

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Fundamental Principle of Networking: The Networking Attitude

May 27, 2009

In order to get results when networking online and offline, it is important to take into account some fundamental principles. One of them is the networking attitude.

In my networking book “Let’s Connect!” I already defined the networking attitude as:

“Sharing information in a reactive and proactive way without expecting anything immediately in return.”

Let’s have a more detailed look at this definition:

Information: in this definition “information” refers to both very general and very specific knowledge. For example, how to record a television program with a video recorder. Or the specific code of the newest software programming language. “Information” is also about business issues, like sales leads, and about simple day-to-day stuff (like “what are the opening hours of the supermarket”). In a professional environment “information” is, for example, a job opening, a sales lead, a new supplier or employee, opportunities for partnerships, interesting training courses or tips to work more efficiently.

Sharing: this involves two parties. Networking is not a one-way street, but a two-or more way boulevard. It is always about a win-win situation, in which all parties are satisfied. What’s important in this concept is that you are comfortable with both giving help and making requests.

In a reactive and pro-active way: in the first place this means that you offer information or help when you are asked to do so (reactive). But it goes further than that. You can send people information and connect them to each other, without them asking to do this (pro-active). But, of course, make sure you don’t SPAM them. A good approach could be to let them know you have this information and that you are willing to share it. Especially when you don’t know people well, this might be a non-confrontational approach.

Without expecting anything immediately in return: in this era of short-term benefits it’s not a concept that’s immediately embraced by everybody. Let me also stress it is NOT about giving your own products or services away. It is about everything else: what is your attitude when dealing with people. Though it might be hard for some people, this is the one attitude that works best in the long run. This builds trust and makes you more “attractive” to other people.

By giving without expecting anything immediately in return, you will eventually receive much more than your initial “investment.” But you never know from whom or when. And that’s something many people have difficulties with. In our training courses this is always the start of a lively discussion because only a few people see how they can realize this without investing lots of time and money. We’ll see later in this book how we can deal with that and how LinkedIn can help us.

Remember that networking is a long-term game that always involves 2 or more players. You reap what you’ve sown. So start sowing (sharing) so you can reap more and faster!

Not knowing and applying the networking attitude is reason number one why people feel that LinkedIn doesn’t work for them. Because they are only focused on themselves they don’t receive help from other people and get frustrated with the lack of positive responses.

To your success !

Jan

PS: this is an excerpt from the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (of in het Nederlands: Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken). Make sure you download your FREE light version.


How To Survive The 20 First Minutes of a Networking Event?

May 23, 2009

The two previous Saturdays I wrote about solving the uncomfortable feeling that many people have when attending a networking event for the first time and who is the best person to approach to get help for that.

Since I received many responses and requests for more tips, I will add another one.

The first 20 minutes of a networking event are for many people the most difficult ones. I call those 20 minutes the “acclimatisation period”. After this period most of us feel comfortable enough to have conversations with other people.

Question is: how to survive this acclimatisation period?

Next to the tips from the last weeks, this is something that also works very well:

Don’t come alone, bring someone with you.

Then you have someone to talk to during the acclimatisation period which allows for a smooth transition into the rest of the event.

However there some pitfalls to avoid and some tips to increase your results:

Don’t stay together the whole time. To avoid this, agree with your networking partner UP FRONT that you will only enter (and maybe also leave) the room together. The rest of the time you spend with other people.

Don’t come with a colleague. The danger is way too big that you will end up talking to each other the whole time. If you come together: again tell the other person up front that you will split up after the acclimatisation period.

Bring someone from another company or organisation. In this way you have both your own PR agency with you. How? After the acclimatisation period you split up. Then when you are talking to other people you can also think about your networking partner and when there is an interesting match to be made, go with your new contact to your networking partner and introduce them to each other. And of course (s)he does the same for you.

To your networking success !

Jan

Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach and author of the networking books Let’s Connect! and How to REALLY use LinkedIn (both in English and Dutch)



Who Is The Best Person To Approach When Feeling Uncomfortable At A Networking Event?

May 16, 2009

In the blog post of last Saturday I gave a tip to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling that many people have when they go to a networking event.

The tip was, use a sentence like: “It is my first time here and I don’t know what to expect from this event. Do you have any idea how this event works (or can you explain me how this event works)?”

The question I got afterwards is: who is the best person to approach to ask this question?

In general you can approach any other participant, 95% of the people you approach will help you.

But there is one person you are going to get the most help from: the organizer or the host. It is part of their role at the event to help other people.

However they don’t always know that someone doesn’t feel comfortable or can use some help.

So it is your job to tell them that.

One of my favorite lines in my presentations and training courses is: “Help other people to help you“.

As human beings we like to help each other (especially if it doesn’t cost us any money and just a small amount of our time), but we need to know how we can help others.

So if you want some help, just tell the organizer or other people!

Have a great networking day !

Jan

Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach and author of the networking books Let’s Connect! and How to REALLY use LinkedIn (both in English and Dutch)


Why Become a Member of LinkedIn Groups?

May 13, 2009

People are used to coming together in clubs and associations in real life. Sharing ideas is also one of the first things the Internet was used for.

So I encourage you to become a member of one or more Groups or start one yourself. Once you are member these are the benefits of belonging to one:

– By asking questions in the Discussions-forum you are able to receive help from the other members.

– You can see the Profiles of the other members. This gives you direct access to additional people who might not be in your first, second or third degree network.

– You can contact other members directly. Many people don’t allow to be contacted directly (they disable that option in their Account & Settings). However, the standard option in every Group is that members can contact each other directly. Almost nobody knows this option can be turned off.

– By answering questions in the Discussions-forum you not only gain visibility, but you also have the opportunity to show your expertise. As a consequence, your “Know, Like and Trust” factor increases. When you answer questions, make sure you give good answers and don’t make it a sales pitch.

– By sharing articles in News you also raise your visibility. Again don’t make it a sales pitch. It is OK to share links to your own website, blog or article that features you as long as it gives other people more insights or helps them in some way.

– When responding to a question in the Discussions you can add the URL of your website. This gives your website more visibility and helps to boost your ranking in Google and other search engines. However, don’t overdo it. One, maximum two lines.

– Some extra advantages of being a member of a Group which also organizes meetings where the members can meet each other face to face:

1. You can ask who else is going so you can make a decision if it is worthwhile for you. You can also make arrangements to meet other people there. This helps a lot when you are not comfortable in new environments.
2. If you have never been to a meeting, you can ask about the past experiences of other members and which expectations you can have
3. You can make arrangements to car pool so you don’t only save some money and are friendly to the environment, but also can maximize your networking time.
Remark: Tips about how to prepare for live networking events, what to do when you are there and how to follow up, can be found on the networking CD, “Let’s Connect at an Event”.

I strongly encourage you to become a member of one or more Groups. I also encourage you to be an active member: help people and share insights. This will make you more attractive for other people. They will make contact with you and consult you in your area of expertise, whatever that may be.

To your success !

Jan

PS: this is an excerpt from the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (of in het Nederlands: Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken). Make sure you download your FREE light version.


How To Solve Not Feeling Comfortable When Going To Networking Events?

May 9, 2009

Lots of people feel uncomfortable when going to receptions, conferences, training courses and other networking events.

Especially when they don’t know anybody and it is the first time they attend a meeting of that particular organisation.

Being an introvert myself, I still have that feeling of not being comfortable in my belly when I’m in that situation.

One way of dealing with this helped me and many other people that participated in our training courses: address the issue.

How can you do that?

Approach someone and use a sentence that looks like this: “It is my first time here and I don’t know what to expect from this event. Do you have any idea how this event works?”

When you do this two things will happen:

1) The uncomfortable feeling will immediately drop with at least 50%. Why? The biggest reason why we feel uncomfortable is that it is a new situation. By addressing that feeling, it will go away. This may sound a little weird, but try it and experience the difference !

2) 95% of the people you approach with a sentence like this, will immediately offer to help you. Or they share that it is also the first time for them which makes you “brothers in arms”. Feeling supported in any way will also help you to focus on the other person or talk about other things. As a result the uncomfortable feeling will disappear further.

Have a great next networking event !

Jan

Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach and author of the networking books Let’s Connect! and How to REALLY use LinkedIn (both in English and Dutch)


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