Credibility: Your Most Important Ability


Do You Have Credibility with Your Network?

You may have many skills and abilities, but if your credibility suffers or you have no credibility: you have a problem! If your credibility is called into question people will not hire you, will not refer you and will do all they can to avoid you.

Your Credibility Is Key to Successful Networking

Whether you are meeting someone face-to-face, through a Social Network or on-line using Skype or Google+; you must be able to quickly begin establishing your credibility. If your new connection doesn’t see you as credible the relationship doesn’t have the necessary foundation to blossom.

Face-To-Face Meetings

If you are meeting face-to-face; you may be able to create credibility by simply being a good listener. Many people like to talk and being a good or great listener can get you far along the path of credibility. Of course, you may leave the conversation with a not-so-great impression of the other person; but you have done your part to sell yourself and that is important!

Meeting Through Social Networking

When you are meeting someone through social networking the content of your profile must carry the load for you and allow people to draw a positive conclusion about who you are and your values. Your profile must establish your credibility!

Your credibility is established with your headline, picture and summary. Your credibility is enhanced by the completeness of your experience, education, skills, interests, recommendations (given and received) and skills.

An incomplete or sketchy profile leaves questions in the mind of the person viewing your profile. Depending upon the reason for the visit a poor profile may cause them to leave and never return. Are you prepared to run the risk?

I have read many profiles where the intent appears to be convincing the reader of the profile owner’s credibility; that’s the wrong way to go about it! You can’t tell people about your credibility; you need to show actions which allow people to come to their own conclusions either on their own or with input from others; if you are depending upon your ability to convince them… Good Luck!

Meeting On-Line

When you are meeting on-line you must be prepared and present yourself properly; again this is your chance to make a great first impression and start establishing your credibility. This is not the time to be in sweats, curlers, pajamas or anything other than business casual to professional attire.

If you are meeting on-line, you also need to ensure all of your technology is working properly and you know how to use it correctly. This is not the time to be learning. I’m speaking somewhat from experience. I was doing an on-line meeting and I wasn’t prepared; fortunately it wasn’t our first meeting so I had been able to build some credibility; it suffered a little from the fiasco, but I was able to eventually recover. These are mistakes you don’t need; especially with a new contact.

Your Focus Must Be on Building Your Credibility and Success Will Follow

When you have credibility you can often overcome missing skills, experience, education and other characteristics. Having all the characteristics, skills, experience and education, however, cannot overcome a lack of credibility!

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How Not to Use LinkedIn


How Not to Use LinkedIn

Today I received a boilerplate invitation to connect on LinkedIn; which I feel is a learning lesson on what NOT to do! I checked out the profile and connections in common, accepted and wrote a thank you. Shortly after I received this “Tom, I am looking for individuals connected into the community to connect me into some top sales opportunity. Are you a potential resource?”

If I Say I’m Not a Potential Resource Will I Be Dropped as a Connection

As I read the comment it makes me wonder if I will be deleted as a connection unless I agree to be a potential resource. I don’t really care one way or the other; but the invitation and comment do not sit well with me.

I’ve read about the individuals who are interested in networking only if it benefits them. Go back and read what was said; is there anything in this relationship for me? Is there even a hint of a possibility of there being something in it for me. If so, point it out because I don’t see the value!

Accepting a LinkedIn Invite Is the Beginning of a Relationship

The example in my opening is NOT the way you should be networking! The extending or acceptance of an invitation is the beginning of a relationship; a relationship which must be nurtured. When we start into a relationship both sides must first establish some credibility. We need to show interest in the other person, not just an interest in ourselves.

In my example this guy immediately went for the jugular by asking for a referral: this is bad practice. This guy is on my radar. I don’t want people in my network who abuse the relationship or could indirectly impact my relationship with others. I don’t know if I will keep this individual in my network; I will monitor his activities and make a decision later.

It Is a Bad Practice to Refer Someone You Do Not Know

When you make a referral you are putting your reputation on the line in support of the person you are referring. You may think this is only a referral and not a recommendation; but chances are the other parties in the process see it differently. Both the person you referred and the recipient of the referral feel there is an underlying recommendation in your action. With that being the case; you must be careful with who you refer.

I have had numerous people connect and immediately ask for a referral or recommendation and I don’t really know them that well. Needless to say they did not receive the referral or recommendation. They did, however, get a rebuke by my saying I only give referrals when I have had the chance to get to know you.

I’ve also had people, who are connections, but were lacking in their social skills turn around and ask for a referral or introduction. After being insulted myself am I really going to potentially expose my contacts to the same behavior: absolutely not!

I value my relationships, however limited they may be, with my network members and I am not going to subject them to bad behavior from people I find questionable!

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out the UPPROACH site and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!

Top-O-Mind: When Was the Last Time You Thanked a New Connection?


Top-O-Mind: When Was the Last Time You Thanked a New Connection?

With LinkedIn and other Social Media sites it is easy to set your self apart from 99% of the other members. It’s as simple as saying “Thank You”. When you connect with a new person your thank you is the beginning of a relationship; the beginning is NOT simply sending or accepting an invitation to connect!

Simple Actions Can Reap Big Rewards

Your network can be a valuable resource and treating your members with respect and courtesy WILL work to your advantage. People love to be appreciated, especially because it doesn’t happen very often.

Thank Yous Are a Big Deal!

Very few people look for opportunities to appreciate family, friends and their network. We have become so busy and wrapped up in ourselves that the niceties in life have been forgotten. Because society has moved away from simple courtesies you have an open opportunity to show you are different!

Regardless of how busy you are or they are; people like to be acknowledged and appreciated! They like to know someone recognizes their efforts and is willing to say so. Be that person, be something different, reach out and appreciate the things others do!

When to Thank Your Connections

The opportunities to thank your connections are unlimited. As noted above, one of the first opportunities is when you are invited to connect or when an invitation you extended is accepted.

Less than 1% of LinkedIn members take the time to thank new connections.

Connection “Thank Yous” are private emails between you and your new connection. Your thank you is important because it starts to set the tone for the relationship; remember you are building your credibility.

Other times to thank your connections include when they like or comment on your post, send you congratulations on something work related, send you a birthday greeting or share something with you.

You can also thank your connections when they endorse you for a skill or write a recommendation.

How to Get the Most Mileage Out of a Thank You

Any thank you must, most of all, be sincere! Your sincerity will show and conversely a lack of sincerity will show as well; don’t mess it up!

With that caveat in mind; there are ways to get more mileage out of your thank yous. When you send an email thank you; it is between you and the recipient.

When you do the thank you as a post; all of your connections have the potential to see your thank you as well as the connections of the individual you are thanking. Again, you are working to build your credibility and being a thoughtful, caring person goes a long way in building credibility and trust.

If you are thanking people; you just can’t be all bad!

Taking time to tell someone you appreciate what they did or what they wrote is often overlooked because we don’t think it’s a big deal! However, what is you feeling when someone offers you thanks for something; regardless of the size of the effort? You may be a little embarrassed and feel it wasn’t necessary; but you still liked being acknowledged. Your connections are no different; a little acknowledgement can go a long way!

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out the UPPROACH site and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!

How to Be a Great Networker and Stay Top-O-Mind


How to Be a Great Networker and Stay Top-O-Mind

The other day I made a profile change adding a current project. It showed up in the news feed of over 1500 people; yet, only 4 people made a comment or clicked “Like”. My issue isn’t wanting more attention. The issue is are you an effective networker. LinkedIn provides you many opportunities, which take a minimal amount of time, to acknowledge members of your network. Don’t miss out on those occasions!

Be Part of the .3%

Have you ever wondered what it takes to stand out with your network? The simple answer is paying attention! The four individuals who responded are .3% (that’s 3 tenths of a %); 99.7% of my network paid no attention!

You want to be part of the .3%; not the neglectful 99.7% and you can stay Top-O-Mind.

Nightly Notices from LinkedIn

These individuals knew I had changed my profile because LinkedIn told them in their nightly update! The update sent directly to your primary email address. It is so easy to be a more effective networker and acknowledge your contacts. Take a chance!

You can be Top-O-Mind with your network and your contacts provide you the opportunity every time they do something on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or any other Social Media Platform. All you must do is be in tune for the opportunities to acknowledge and stay Top-O-Mind.

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out the UPPROACH site and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!

Your Message Content and How it Makes Top-O-Mind Work


Your Message Content and How it Makes Top-O-Mind Work

What is the purpose of your messaging? What are you trying to accomplish?

Many believe the purpose of their messaging is to “sell their products and/or services” and, although this is the ultimate goal, it cannot be the purpose of the majority of your messages. Customers, clients, prospects, et al will see through this immediately and instead of accomplishing the intended goal; your message will fail.

Note: When I say messages I mean Social Media and Blog posts, comments, likes, etc. Any form of communication to your audience.

The Two Purposes of Your Messages

There are two purposes behind good messaging campaigns:

  • Let your audience know a little about you; and
  • Inform and/or educate your audience on a topic.

You may look at the first purpose and say to yourself he just said it cannot be all about me or my products and services but now I’m being told the messages are to tell my audience a little about me. I don’t understand.

If you bare with me I’ll explain.

A Little About You

When I say a little about you; I’m not talking about what you are selling. What you must do is build your brand. What you want to convey in the brand building process are your personal characteristics, such as:

  • Credibility;
  • Honesty;
  • Integrity;
  • Reliability;
  • Dependability;
  • Trust;
  • Sincerity;
  • Concern for your audience;
  • Consistency; and
  • Value

Inform and/or Educate

The next piece is you want to inform and/or educate your audience. You want them leaving the message saying; “that was time well spent.” You want them feeling good about the message and recognizing the value you just provided.

If you can accomplish those objectives your readers will return and, as long as you continue meeting those objectives, they will keep coming back for more. You want loyal readers because many will ultimately become loyal customers and they will share your content with their connections.

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out our career site and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!

Do You Value Your Network?


Is your network important to you? Do you provide regular value to your connections?

Is it proper to even call them connections?

For most the answer is “No!”

The Problem with Networking

The problem is that people, maybe people like you, just sit back and do nothing with their network. Sure, they may add a new name every now and then and some people add names regularly, but, sadly to say, that is the extent of their effort.

A Network Is Not Something We Think of Only in a Time of Need

Here’s what I see as the problem. Most people are not proactive or even active networkers. They are simply name gatherers. They look at the process as a way to keep track of people in the event they, the individual, need something.

Is Your Network Collecting Dust?

Their network is essentially something set aside that is collecting dust. Periodically they will pull it out, blow off some of the dust, add a name or two, and then put it back into the corner.

A Valuable Asset Waiting for You to Take Action

Your network can be one of your most valuable assets; if you would allow it to take that role. Your network can be a treasure trove of opportunities and good fortune and the better that you are at networking and the members of your network are at networking; the more value you both will receive.

Networking Riches

I’ve told this Story before, but I’m going to briefly tell it again. There once was a woman who joined LinkedIn because she wanted to build her business. Not only did she want to build the business; she absolutely wanted it to flourish.

Taking her interest and desire she joined one of the many LinkedIn groups and immediately started to get involved. She participated in discussions, asked and answered questions, and added value to the group in many ways.

In the Spring of 2010; British Petroleum (BP) came knocking. They had a problem and they thought this woman might be able to help. Basically BP knew they had many more problems than the oil spill.

This was an opportunity that came to her because of LinkedIn.

Now for some personal insight into this individual; she isn’t even particularly good with LinkedIn. I watch her profile and she has been stuck around the 360 mark in connections for close to one-year. How many other opportunities may exist that she is missing because she isn’t proactive?

Periodically I view the profile of my connections to see what they are doing and to see if they are providing any value to their network. Most of the time I am disappointed by what I see in recent activity.

Most of the time the activity is either not there or it is simply the adding of new connections. There are few posts or status updates. What does that say… OPPORTUNITY!!! Because there are few that are proactive… Opportunity is there for those that are willing to work at it; try it on for size and see if you can be a better networker.

Conclusion

As I said in my previous post “Your Network – Are You A Collector or a CONNECTOR?” from my observations it appears that over 97% and probably much closer to 99% of the people on LinkedIn do not add value to their network; it is up to you to make the difference!

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Do you approach things with an UPPROACH? With the idea that when you make a change; it shouldn’t just be a change – rather it should be a change for the better. This was the premise that caused UPPROACH to be born. The idea of don’t just do it; do it better!

Tom Staskiewicz speaks, coaches, and consults on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

Your Network – Are You A Collector or a CONNECTOR?


Networking is more than a collection of names and addresses.

Sadly most people feel that they are networking when they simply add someone to their list of contacts or connections. This is not connecting; this is collecting. If that is your intent then your time would be better spent collecting coins, stamps, sports cards, or some other true collectible. There is much more satisfaction to be gained spending your time in this manner!

Today’s Social Media tools allow you the opportunity to easily go beyond the mere process of collecting. If you are not taking advantage of these tools; the only difference between collecting business cards and shoving them into a drawer, a card file, or a Rolodex is your storage media.

True Networkers Understand that Networking Is More then Collecting

True networkers understand and value relationships. They recognize that there are different levels of relationships and that all relationships start out as a simple connection. They also realize that the depth of a relationship develops over time.

True networkers understand that networking is a give and take process and an exchange of value. Networking is not the act of accumulating names in the event that you may need something in the future. True networking means that you are intent upon offering value to your network hopefully in exchange for value being returned; value that may be received now or sometime in the future. The when is not important!

How to Move from Collector to Connector

If you are involved in any Social Media the process of providing value is simple and does not require large amounts of time. Here are examples of easy ways to provide value:

  • Share articles you find interesting;
  • Provide relevant comment on posts made by members of your network;
  • Like posts made by members of your network;
  • Thank people that invite you into their network;
  • Thank your new connections when they accept your invitation to network;
  • Add new people to your network; which indirectly expands the networks of your connections;
  • Share your expertise when members of your network have questions;
  • Congratulate members of your network when they receive promotions or accept a new job;
  • Comment on the status updates of your connections; or
  • Help your connections make new connections.

In my unscientific observations I find that the simple act of being grateful and thanking someone for connecting sets you apart from over 97% and more likely 99% of the networking population!

The truth is that most people feel that simply accepting or making a connection validates their networking but that’s not true. That is just a start to the relationship; if you want to be a successful networker you must be reaching out and adding value to the relationship.

Conclusion

If you want to be an effective networker; don’t get caught up in this idea that by having a large number of connections will somehow make you a great networker. It doesn’t! A great networker is someone that regularly adds value to their network and cares about their connections.

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Do you approach things with an UPPROACH? With the idea that when you make a change; it shouldn’t just be a change – rather it should be a change for the better. This was the premise that caused UPPROACH to be born. The idea of don’t just do it; do it better!

Tom Staskiewicz speaks, coaches, and consults on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.