Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Online Professional Networking / Linked In Class So Far

LinkedIn logo

Thus far, I have conducted five face-to-face online professional networking classes, which focuses on leveraging Linked In for finding business opportunities and professional development opportunities. Class participants are bankers and/or staff from the bank’s support areas and most are very new to social media. I will highlight what has generated the most interest and discussion among the participants.


  • Many were not aware of the "groups" feature in Linked In.

  • They were impressed with the number and diversity of groups.

  • They were impressed with the amount and quality of the information available in group discussions.


  • Participants were very interested in using this feature for finding development opportunities.

  • They were impressed with the extent to which they could easily search and find events based on keywords.

Who to connect with and how to find connections

  • I tied this to having a completed profile. This will allow you to easily search for past colleagues and fellow alumni. This also allows Linked In to suggest possible connections using keywords in your profile.

  • Join groups – keeping an eye out for people who have common professional interests or can assist you with reaching your professional goals and/or you can assist them.

  • Participants also wanted coaching on how to introduce themselves to a potential connection. I focused on the fact that they should connect with people they know or people in which they have a common and logical connection. Always personalize the introduction and request to connect, including how you know them or found them and your reason for connecting with them.

This is what my participants had the most questions, concerns and comments about. I did cover applications such as Trip It, Huddle Workspaces, Slide Share, etc. However, interest was low in the applications, aside from Events. I believe they saw these as features for advance users and for now just want to master the basics.





  1. I completely agree with your points about groups. Until I recently started taking advantage of groups I was not getting much out of LinkedIn. Now that I have found all the great groups associated with training, instructional design, and eLearning I am in hog heaven. Something that I have found interesting is that I use to be fairly active on the discussion board at but now have dedicated all of my attention to the ASTD linked in group because it is more active and includes a larger community of professionals.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I have had a similar experience with participating in groups. Although I am a member of the e-Learning Guild, I was not very active on their site's discussion boards, but in Linked In I am constantly visiting and adding comments. I find it a lot more convenient to access group discussions and to participate. Plus, when involved in a discussion one can easily learn more about the people involved by accessing their profile making it much more personal.


  3. I hope you will share a bit of the detail of what you are covering.

    I agree about the potential value of groups, but like discussion groups in many places, they have a tendency to come and go, fade in/out. The interesting effect for me has been that there's the additional possibility of reaching out in other ways to group members based on discussion. That's something that's new (at least to me) that I had not done in other forums.

    On Events - maybe post some specifics, because I'm a bit disappointed by LinkedIn Events as compared to other sites. I would like it to take off, but I don't think it's quite there yet.


  4. Tony,

    I should preface this comment with noting the fact that our bank is currently being acquired and attendees to my class do not yet know if offers of employment will be extended to them. Because of that the underlying motivation for many attendees is to network for a job.

    That said, I promote using the events feature to identify opportunities to not only learn and build one's skill set, but to also find people and places where one can network for job opportunities. This also opens up great discussions on where to make connections, distribute resumes and land interviews. Attendees are from many areas of the bank with many different specializations, so I also encourage them to look at skill/career specific associations (for me it would be ASTD, e-Learning Guild, etc.) and search their websites for networking events, conferences, etc.

    FYI: For events, I do demonstrate how to search and filter events based on their profession and geographic areas.

  5. "Although I am a member of the e-Learning Guild, I was not very active on their site’s discussion boards, but in Linked In I am constantly visiting and adding comments."
    Linked In has allowed us to connect with many of our old friends, family members, and co-workers. This is a wonderful program to learn.
    "By the way, did you know that networking expert Jan Vermeiren has written a book about LinkedIn? It is called "How to REALLY use LinkedIn" (see: He also gives away a free light version and access to webinars."


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