on 12 January 2010
Neal Schaffer is one of those rare and talented people who has the ability to get to grips with a subject, take it apart piece by piece and then reassemble it, so that it is easy for everyone to understand. So when I got hold of a copy of his new book, I was absolutely delighted.
In, "Understanding, Leveraging and Maximising LinkedIn", he takes the reader on a fascinating journey through Social Media Networking in general and LinkedIn in particular.
Before reading Neal's book, I did struggle with LinkedIn and found it difficult to get to grips with. For me, it was just like IKEA flat packed furniture. Fantastic end result, but the journey to build it was a complete nightmare, because the instructions (if I could find them) were all written in `Klingon'.
Neal's book unpacks this completely and is like a breath of fresh air.
He starts by recommending that users set a strategy and objectives they want to achieve through LinkedIn, as this will drive how they use it. In his case, Neal's approach is `Windmill Networking'.
Let me explain this. Imagine your network is a power grid with all your contacts connected to it represented as Windmills. Each Windmill can either generate and put power into the grid, or receive and take power from it - a two way flow.
The concept being that the more networking help you provide, the more opportunity and help for you will also be generated. And along the way you project yourself as personable and true to yourself, so even in a virtual world you come across as a real human being.
Also, as a LION or LinkedIn Open Networker, Neal is willing to connect with people that he doesn't personally know, yet has a business commonality with to build his network.
These are the two main strategies that drive his approach to LinkedIn and he has been very successful achieving his goals, with over 17,000 relevant contacts and considerable business success, at the last count.
And this book is absolutely packed with his wisdom, learned through `trial and error' and is the story of his journey thus far.
Through practical, step-by-step examples, Neal shows us how to:
- set accounts up
- understand the LinkedIn search facility
- understand what is needed to create effective profiles
- differentiate yourself by creating your own LinkedIn Brand
- invite others to link with you, avoiding the deadly `Do Not Know' (DNK) response
- use Groups, Questions and Answers to network
- use Applications
- avoid LinkedIn's hidden traps such as restrictions on invitations
He also explores the recruitment side of LinkedIn, which is a major part. However, he is the first to admit that this isn't an area of prime importance to him, so there is less practical help in this section.
All in all, this is a fabulous book for anyone that wants to get the best out of LinkedIn. It will save you hours of time. As a practitioner, Neal has painstakingly worked out all the short cuts to getting the very best out of LinkedIn, so his advice works and is worth its weight in gold. And all these `nuggets' relate to the free aspects of LinkedIn, he's not a paid subscriber!
What he says makes absolute sense, because he `Walks the Talk'. He avoids jargon (except ironically in the book's title) and has a relaxed and easy to read writing style, which means it is very easy to grasp quickly and put what he is saying into action.
Whether you are a LinkedIn beginner, or have been using it for a while, but not quite got to grips with its functionality, then I would highly recommend this book as an effective way to get the best out of LinkedIn, the world's premier business virtual network.
"Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn" is an excellent book for those interested in making the most of LinkedIn. The author (Neal Shaffer) may take networking way beyond what most people want to do, but as long as you identify which bits of his advice to use and which bits to skip, you will find this book incredibly useful.
The first thing that Neal Shaffer recommends is to be clear about your objective when using LinkedIn. Once you are clear about that, you can create a LinkedIn "brand" for yourself, in line with your objective.
I suspect that most people first seriously use LinkedIn when they are either looking for a new job or preparing for the day when they might need to find a new job. Neal Shaffer explains, for these people, how best to set up your profile and build your network to (a) be found by potential employers, and (b) to sell yourself to those potential employers.
LinkedIn is also an excellent tool for anybody in the recruitment business, or for anybody just looking to fill a position in their own company. Again, this book describes how best to do this too, although I do wonder whether many employers will eventually start going direct to LinkedIn rather than calling a recruitment company.
Beyond recruitment, LinkedIn is also a useful source of reliable information. It has a professional user-base, so if you have work-related questions the Groups section of LinkedIn is a good place to do so. Again, the book covers how to do this.
There are many other uses for LinkedIn too, which this book also covers very well.
Along the way, this book gives details on most parts of the current LinkedIn functionality, including details such as how best to set the privacy options. This is something that many people get very wrong. If you think you might be one of them, I suggest reading this book.
Neal Shaffer also describes limitations imposed by LinkedIn. These won't affect most people, but it's good that he makes people aware of them just in case.
Suitable for both newcomers to LinkedIn, and to people with reasonable experience of LinkedIn, I highly recommend this book.
on 25 May 2010
If you are struggling to get to grips with all the benefits of Linkedin then you need to read this book. It's clear, concise, and I've found that I've been able to dip into it and pick up some valuable advice when I've only got ten minutes to spare.
Neal has clearly conquered Linkedin and thankfully, for the rest of us, shares his advice on how we and our businesses can benefit in the same way.