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.