Here Are 5 Ways to Do It… Using LinkedIn and Virtual Tools
As a result of the global pandemic, personal and professional hardships are being faced across the spectrum. In particular, normal, face-to-face interactions came to a screeching halt around the globe, seemingly overnight. No one really knows the long-term impact this will have on the economy and society as a whole, but we sure feel the short-term ramifications: Traditional ways of conducting business in the real world are on hold. You need to learn new ways to thrive through tough times.
Building your personal and professional network is critically important to long term success. No one goes it alone. Leveraging your network not just to help yourself, but to help others, may prove to be something that has never been more important – or more personally rewarding – than it is since the advent of Covid and beyond.
Reach Out and Connect Someone
Adjective: compassionate: feeling or showing kindness, sympathy and concern for others.
As a result of extended social distancing mandates, people in every profession are finding it more difficult to network and create new meaningful and productive relationships. Knowing you’re not alone in this challenge allows you to be more empathetic and compassionate to others who are in the same boat. That’s why it will feel good to be proactive in finding ways to help alleviate some of these imposed barriers for people that you admire and respect.
Here Are 5 Ways to Do It:
1. Make a direct introduction
Simply stated, this is about connecting people you think might benefit from knowing each other. Just fire off a brief email telling them why you think they should connect. Include a flattering one-line description about each person and share a link to their LinkedIn profiles for more details. Then, leave it to them to connect on their own.
2. Be a reference
People are often reluctant to ask for references. It just seems to be human nature. So, why not write LinkedIn recommendation for some of your favorite connections without being asked to do so.
LinkedIn recommendations are valuable testimonials that people indeed read to learn more about what it’s like to work with someone. They’re social proof of someone’s expertise and value written from a trusted perspective. And yes, they do make a difference in evaluating people.
3. Give public recognition
Help elevate someone’s reputation and personal brand (and make their day at the same time) by giving him/her public recognition. This can be as simple as re-sharing someone’s content in social media or mentioning someone in a post of your own. I never expected this recent mention in a post written by a friend in New Zealand. Not only did I appreciate her kind words, but by sharing the advice I had given her in the post, she was also helping others who read it.
You can also show your appreciation to colleagues or people that you’ve worked with by sending them a Kudos on LinkedIn. Kudos is a fun and easy way to recognize an individual or a group of members by mentioning to your connections or the public how they’ve excelled.
4. Host a virtual networking event
Have we had too many Zoom meetings and virtual happy hours during the pandemic? Oh, yes. Even so, this is still the best way to overcome social distancing. It’s nice to actually see friendly faces, even if you can’t meet in person. Host a Zoom meeting with a handful of people who don’t know each other but probably should. Limit it to 5-8 people so that the conversation is manageable and intimate. In the invite, you can provide links to each person’s LinkedIn profile. The objective of the call should be for participants to get to know the others on the call, with you providing valuable context for how you think they might benefit from connecting with each other.
5. Make a phone call
You do know that your mobile device actually makes voice calls, right?? Really, it does! No scheduling. Just pick up the phone, like the old days, and dial it.
The key here is to just check in, with no other objective than to say hi, find out how they’re doing and what they’re up to. There should be no self-serving reason. Listen intently. Ask what kind of connections or information might be helpful to him/her. Even if you can’t facilitate now, something you learn or someone you meet at a future time might trigger you to reconnect later.
Start Sharing Your Network Today
First, show your appreciation with those who have helped you in the past. You know who they are – they are top of mind because, at some point, they gave you their valuable time to share advice, information, resources, or even just provided a sympathetic ear or helpful sounding board. It could be a current/former colleague, classmate, partner, manager, etc.
Then, explore your extended network. You’ve likely invested a lot of time growing your connections on LinkedIn, but you don’t know where everyone works today. Download your LinkedIn archive for a full snapshot of your network and LinkedIn activity. Included in the full download, you’ll receive a CSV file of all your connections, along with their current job titles and employer name. It’s a goldmine of potential relationships for you to rekindle and share.
“You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want in life.”-Zig Ziglar
Being a proactive, compassionate networker is not just about helping others get through a uniquely tough time, like the one we’re facing now. Adopt these practices now and make them a natural habit that you practice regularly.
You’ll find that helping others tends to have an incredible boomerang effect. With 20/20 hindsight (pun intended!), you just might learn that Karma is a powerful and wonderful thing.