Networking From Your Sofa

Member news | June 22, 2020

The FACC-NY network is composed of a diverse mosaic of talented, experienced, and open-hearted professionals united by a desire to share their knowledge, nurture meaningful connections and succeed professionally. In this #MemberInsights series, we invite a guest member to contribute timely and relevant tips and insight for adapting your activities to overcome immediate challenges and plan for the long-term. 

We continue our video series with from Stacee Mandeville, the founder of Red Leaf Coaching, who provides communication skills coaching to executives in a myriad of industries within companies such as Merck, HP, General Electric, JPMorgan, Levis, Business France, Deutsche Bank, Verizon, and Citigroup.

Hello? Is anybody out there? Networking From Your Sofa

Not so long ago, we all went to networking events to drink wine, shake hands, and exchange business cards with fellow entrepreneurs. Sadly, our events now have a different vibe: we're stuck at home, networking with our pets. And if your pets are like my mine, they're pretty stingy with their business referrals.

It's pretty obvious that the most natural place to do your remote networking is LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is great, because, done correctly, your profile does a lot of the work for you. All you need is a great photo, an eye-catching headline, and an interesting “About” section.

But, this is easier said than done, because I see a ton of “meh” LinkedIn profiles out there. 

Here are a few tips to help your profile work harder for you:

Firstly, your LinkedIn photo is your primary gateway to opportunity. People see your picture and make a snap judgement (we all do it!) before taking another step. So, I'm always surprised when I see profiles that have that little blue person icon instead of a headshot. I personally will never connect with someone who has no photo, and I’d be hesitant to connect with someone whose photo is too blurry, too dark, or too casual.

If you’re someone who has a less-than-fabulous headshot (or, gasp, no headshot) on your LinkedIn profile, the first thing you're going to need to do is have your picture taken, preferably by a professional. If you can't get a professional photo shoot (I'm looking at you, quarantine) you can still get a fairly good photo using your iPhone. Watch the accompanying video for insider tips on how to strike a pose.

The second opportunity to attract attention is in the little blurb under your name. This section should contain more than just your job title and description. It’s not a bad idea to include some kind of a “helping” statement. For example “I help companies protect their reputation and their clients assets through use of cutting-edge cyber security”. And, if you know anything about SEO, it’s wise to try to include some searchable keywords, as well.

Thirdly, if your “About” section is just your resume or CV, you're missing an opportunity to give people a glimpse of what it's like to work with and interact with you. Here’s where you can add personal touches, and even more searchable keywords.

So, now you’ve beefed up your profile, and you're ready to make connections. If you find  sending a cold email or LinkedIn message to a stranger off-putting, you’re not alone. And if you’re anything like me, you might not like receiving them, especially if they’re selling something.

So, think about potential referral partners, the people already in your network with whom you have an established relationship. Ask them if they're interested in being a referral partner, where you introduce each other to potential new connections. Schedule a time for a virtual meetup, open up your LinkedIn profiles, and do targeted searches within your networks for the kinds of people you’re both trying to meet. You want those who fit your criteria, and with whom they’re comfortable making a warm introduction on your behalf.

Now, with the help of a fantastic photo, a personalized and intriguing LinkedIn profile, and warm introductions from referral partners, you’ll be ready to leverage the connections you have to get the connections you want, even during quarantine.

If you’re interested in connecting with me, here’s my LinkedIn profile.

I look forward to networking with you!

If you’d like additional coaching on elevating your executive presence using body language, go to www.redleafcoaching.comFACC members get 20% off one-to-one coaching packages.