You’ve heard the expression, “Instagram vs. Reality.” But what about LinkedIn vs. Reality?
I was recently waiting for a train with the commuter crowd at Penn Station on a weekday morning when an Amtrak employee came around to ask everyone how they were doing. The response was not exactly the liveliest, but instead of letting it go, the gentleman from Amtrak kept pressing the crowd as if it were an 8 p.m. arena concert, not an 8 a.m. train waiting room.
“I SAID, HOW are you all DOING?”
Still unsatisfied with the response, he continued: “Now, I know a bunch of you consider yourselves LinkedIn influencers. I know you’re out there posting motivational messages and getting hundreds of likes. But where’s that motivation in real life?”
I was floored. He was totally right. So many of us paint ourselves as “rock stars” on LinkedIn, but what does that translate to in real life?
While I waited for the train to arrive, I got to thinking about how we can showcase some of that LinkedIn oomph in our professional (and personal) lives in an impactful way.
Make a great first impression
I recently attended an awards luncheon where a friend and colleague was recognized for her work in the community. This colleague is a great example of someone who kills it on LinkedIn, but is also full of genuine enthusiasm in real life. In her acceptance speech, she shared tips for boosting your own confidence and making an impression, and one was to always give your full name when introducing yourself.
What?? So simple, yet something that makes such a difference … and also something I’m terrible at doing. I’m sure many others feel the same. But you wouldn’t only have your first name on your LinkedIn profile, would you?
Just like on social media, you need to make a lasting first impression, so introduce yourself with confidence! Make eye contact, share your full name, and share a smile.
You probably wouldn’t say no if a liked and respected current or former colleague asked you to endorse them on LinkedIn. We should be just as quick to endorse each other in the real world. Whether at the office or at a networking event, don’t be shy to shout out others. Not only will you encourage and motivate them, but you’ll also inspire everyone around them to achieve greatness.
Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn, either. While there’s a fine line between confidence and sounding like a know it all, don’t discount your achievements. It’s important to lead by example and build credibility, so go ahead and share relevant successes and how you accomplished them.
Engage in thoughtful discussion
Happen to stumble across an interesting article or insight relevant to your field? Share it! It doesn’t even have to be work-related, as long as it gets people thinking creatively. Instead of sticking to a strict agenda at your next team meeting, think of a thought-provoking question to get people talking, and ask meaningful questions.
Whether you’re a C suite executive or an intern, it’s just as important to be your authentic self in real life as it is online.
So, are you living up to your own LinkedIn profile?