A review of our May networking event by Jane Pocock of Write it Right.
‘Be a real person, be who you are’. That is the over-riding message I took away with me after Petra Fisher’s talk  at the WBII’s May networking event.
Her talk was about LinkedIn and how to use it to promote your business….but actually it wasn’t about that at all. It was about using LinkedIn to promote yourself – your online presence as a reflection of who you are, what you believe in, your ‘spark’ and your ‘passion’.
I’d been expecting a sort of ‘top-10 tips’ about how to improve your profile to get more connections and more clients. I was therefore somewhat flummoxed when one on her first slides was of a high-heeled shoe which, she explained, she would normally wear but couldn’t because of a foot injury. What did this have to do with LinkedIn?

Clarity & confusion

I was sitting in the front row, pen poised to take notes on the best number of times to post per week, or the importance of using the right key words, how to get endorsements or any number of other practical ‘how-to’ tips, but instead found myself listening to a potted (but fast-talking) biography of how, in four or five years, Petra re-invented herself from being a part-time employee in fear of losing her job to what she is now – a sought-after LinkedIn and social media expert and public speaker.
She talked us through her musings about where her strengths lay, about whether she actually wanted to start her own company, about how she spent her time working on her profile, about how she became more and more active on LinkedIn and about how she suddenly found herself being invited to be a keynote speaker at an international conference.
And slowly, as we followed Petra’s story, it became clear that she was giving us tips on how to use LinkedIn – just not the top-10 tips that I (and I suspect many of the other women present) had been expecting.
With her story she made it clear that your LinkedIn profile and presence is an extension or reflection of your real-life you.
In real-life people will only do business with you if they know, like and trust you and that’s no different on LinkedIn. The means are different of course, but in the end if you want people to get to know, like and trust you, online and off,  you have to introduce yourself to them (so they can get to know you), be nice to them (so that they will like you) and be honest with them (so that they will trust you). And of course, a good first impression is essential.

Be true, be consistent

So were there no 10-tips? Nothing we could take home and promise ourselves we would do the next day?
Well, yes, there were, and among them:

  • use a good, appropriate profile picture
  • when you share a post add your own sentence to it so that your connections know why you’re sharing it
  • update your skills section
  • endorse people even if they don’t ask you
  • thank people when they endorse you, and
  • ask your clients for endorsements

And the next day she also sent us a potted plan explaining how to improve our LinkedIn presence in 30 minutes a day.
All those tips and explanations were interesting and useful and I’m sure I wasn’t the only woman who went home that evening determined to use LinkedIn more actively. But the real added value of Petra’s talk was her illustration, through her story, of the importance of being yourself, of knowing and expressing your passion through your LinkedIn profile.
If you do that, potential clients will see you for what you are, as you are and will get to know, like and trust you.

About the author:
Jane PocockJane Pocock specialises in editing English texts written by non-native speakers – changing good English into great English!