We never know where our next job, consulting opportunity, or awareness-building opportunity will come from, and thus it is important to reach out and have as many people know us and what we do professionally as possible.
In my opinion, LinkedIn is underutilized as a networking platform. I’ve met many people that I would have never come into contact with otherwise—and those connections have resulted in speaking engagements, finding new coaching clients, and me providing advice and business to others.
In one year, from 11/27/17 to 11/27/18, I went from 1,521 to 5,272 connections – an increase of 3,751 connections (averaging over 10 new connections a day) – WITHOUT spending hours each week on the platform, and while being quite thoughtful about who I am connecting to, and why.
How did I do it? Here’s several tips, if you’d also like to increase your connections, with little effort.
1. Track your connection numbers, so you can see your progress. I can tell you how many connections I had on 11/27/17 not because I am a numbers whiz, but because I have a spreadsheet, with dates and connection totals listed. I have a goal of 10 -15 new connections a day.
2. Use the algorithms LinkedIn uses to suggest connections to your advantage. Spend some time looking at the “people you may know” section – and seek to connect if any of those people look interesting to you. LinkedIn suggests them because you already have a series of connections in common.
3. Every so often, if I want a burst of new connections, you can go to the “Add contacts” section on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has figured out who are in your Contacts, that you haven’t yet connected with on LinkedIn, and suggest them to you.
4. If you don’t already have the LinkedIn app on your mobile phone, do yourself a favor and download it today. I find myself looking for new connections while waiting at the post office, coffee shops…you get the picture. It makes me feel quite efficient to get my java boost and gain new connections at the same time!
Here’s my number #1 tip…
ALWAYS, whenever you meet someone new at an event, before you go to sleep that night, search them out and seek to connect on LinkedIn. I do this religiously, when I present in front of a new group at a retreat, on a panel, or sit next to someone cool at a table at a luncheon—I want to connect before the resonance built in that interaction fades. Tip #4 makes this easier.
Next year, my goal is 5,000 new connections. I will report back in late November, 2019!
I have so many more thoughts and tips about LinkedIn, that I share with my career coaching clients – if you are ready to take your networking to another level, please reach out to me via Inmail to chat about your goals and how I can help you get there. I have a couple of remaining coaching slots for December.
In this season of giving, give to YOURSELF FIRST! Prepare your network now, for your new opportunities in 2019!
What are your tips for increasing meaningful LinkedIn connections?
Patience is not a virtue I was born with. I am happiest when I am on the go, and FAST! Once upon a time, I finished my Master’s in Public Health degree in 1 calendar year.
I was reminded, today, however, while on a walk along the lake, that sometimes you are forced to take the long road, and that is okay. When I look back over my life, I realize that times I was able to do a lot of walking/running (and examining of my questions and thoughts) were frequently followed by some profound personal and/or professional growth. While in graduate school, I spent hours walking through Boston Common to my third floor walk-up apartment in the North End. Last summer, I trained for my first half-marathon, and on those 8-10 mile runs on Saturday mornings, I thought a lot about my personal relationships, and what I wanted my consulting/coaching practice to look like.
As we get back to work today after a mid-week holiday, I want to share that the long road, in which you have time and space to ask the hard questions and await answers, is sometimes the only way to go. I know that flies in the face of our society’s incessant push for faster and more streamlined, straight-forward ways of doing everything – but I’d like to ask you to hold the line sometimes, and give yourself a bit of grace in doing so. Sometimes you have to wander a bit to find YOUR way.
Where is your long road leading you?
In my graduate-level “MCH Delivery Systems” course a couple of weeks ago, I described to the students the lifecourse perspective, an idea that includes the concept that there are critical and sensitive periods in our lives, from a physiological standpoint, that may have long-lasting ramifications for our reproductive trajectories, and possibly for a lifetime.
This year, for me, has been one of those critical and sensitive periods, for my professional journey.
Today’s date, February 28, is very important as an inflection point in my life and career. On February 28, 2017, I started a new life, one of business owner, entrepreneur, consultant, and coach. On that day, I did not know exactly what the year would bring, and how the business would develop. I only knew that I felt I was making the right step, at the right time, and that somehow the path would reveal itself. Sometimes, that type of faith is all we have, and our only job is to trust it.
I asked EverThrive Illinois’ Administrative Assistant, Joanna Medina, to take this picture of me that morning, during one of the last instances I would sit at my desk. The staff had hosted a lovely farewell breakfast for me that morning when I arrived, complete with a surprise video they created to say goodbye. I came back to the desk (which was in the cleanest state it had been in since I started 6.5 years prior), wrote a note to my successor, and left around noon to teach my “Lessons in Nonprofit Management” course at Northwestern. In March, I spent a lot of time journaling, sitting on my couch, and picking up my daughter from the bus stop; during April – June, I spent time talking to other consultants, coaches, nonprofit leaders, and others in the social good sector. In July, I incorporated Soar Strategies, Inc.
During my coaching training in 2017, I learned how “the being” and “the doing” are equally important. Most of us who have been successful in our careers are focused on, and rewarded for, “the doing”, and we neglect “the being”. In honor of that discovery, I won’t list my accomplishments of the past year (which include running my first half-marathon – oh, I couldn’t resist!), but would rather like to share who I had to BE to move into my new life, and my new career.
1. I had to be discerning – I had to figure out which projects and clients lit me up, and which didn’t, and consciously and consistently go towards the former choice.
2. I had to be self-forgiving – when I didn’t enroll a potential client, or when I didn’t get through my over-packed to-do list for the day, I had to move on quickly, and realize tomorrow is another opportunity to improve.
3. I had to be (mostly) fearless – a little fear is a good thing. Too much, and you miss out on cool opportunities.
4. I had to be extroverted – or, at least play one on TV! I am an introvert, but when you are a business owner, YOU are the brand. So I had to play the role of an extrovert to network, present in front of crowds, and let myself be seen.
5. I had to be honest, with myself and others – As many of you know, I am trying to eliminate any “lukewarm yes” responses in 2018. This means that I am saying “no” to things, and divesting from projects, at a faster pace that I ever have. It is uncomfortable. But I am trying to only say “yes” to things that excite me.
It has truly been a wonderful year, and ended up going in directions I never expected when I walked out the door at EverThrive Illinois on 2/28/17. I have had some great trips; met some amazing people; and been more present in my own life this year than in many others of my adult life.
I have loved owning my own business, and developing my coaching and consulting practice and services. It’s hard some days, and joyous others. But I wouldn’t trade being “the captain” of my own fate”, and my own boss, for anything.
I thank everyone who has given me advice, connected me to a client, given me an encouraging word, attended a session at which I’ve presented, or supported me in any way. A business cannot be successful without many people in the wings, acting as mentors and sponsors. I appreciate you all, and could not have had the amazing experiences of the past year without your support. Thank you.
Who do you have to BE to step into your next opportunity?
Happy Black History Month!
The other day, while driving home, I found myself thinking about Shonda Rhimes’ book “Year of Yes”. At the end of another long day, I fantasized about creating my own “Year of No”.
Like everyone else, I have long forgotten my laundry list of New Year’s resolutions, as I type this blog post in early February. But one sticks out, and maybe will be a good transitory mantra to my Year of No—I will try to say either “Hell Yes!” or “No” to any request in 2018. No more lukewarm, “I think I can do that”, “it will only be a short-term project”, or “it’s just easier if I go ahead and take that assignment” responses. I’ve realized that those responses don’t make me happy, and don’t allow me to bring my best efforts anywhere. I’ve brought this harsh, but clarifying criterion up in a number of my coaching conversations in January, and I now share it with you!
What would you say “no” to, if you could, today?
Here’s what I will be saying “no” to, for starters:
- Leading another committee, or engaging in committees that I don’t feel like need my unique contribution;
- Packing my days too tight with calls and meetings;
- Packing my daughter’s extracurricular activities too tight (most evenings, if I don’t have an engagement, she does, and I’m driving her around
And, since I hate hearing the word “no” to any of my requests, and least of all saying the word to myself (hello cake!) here’s what I will be saying “yes” to, instead:
- More space to plan, write, and think;
- More exercise (I started yesterday—did 50 minutes on the elliptical);
- More clients, and more ways to serve them (I’m planning a VIP day outline and a retreat in June, Inmail me for more details!);
- More planning of meals, especially dinners (I can’t keep up this pace of eating out);
- More time to rest and sit on my couch;
- More time for family and friends.
What will you say “Hell, yes!” to, or “No” to? Please make a comment below.
Janine Hill is a career coach, consultant, and instructor, working to support those in the social good sector navigate career transitions, have their voices be heard, and be their authentic selves in the workplace. E-mail her if you’d like to schedule a 30 minute chat to learn about how she can support your goals!
After a fair amount of “name paralysis”, I decided to incorporate my new career coaching and consulting business as Soar Strategies, Inc. in early July.
However, it wasn’t until I flew for the first time, post-incorporation, that my name choice was validated by the universe.
I was traveling to Portland, Oregon from Chicago, as I serve as the patient representative for the Women’s Preventive Services Committee, a national group that makes clinical guideline recommendations to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration on various women’s health topics. On the return flight home, I thought about how the name really reflects my approach to coaching:
1. To achieve “lift”, the engines are working at their top power—it is not easy. This is my job as a coach, as I see it—to assist in providing that “lift” for clients. Of course, the client is the “player”, the lift and the engine, but with my questions, support, and (sometimes) challenging, I can provide an extra boost. It is not easy to change your career trajectory, and to do things differently…but I was amazed in that if I looked out the window 2 minutes from takeoff, I couldn’t believe how high the plane had gotten. That’s what happens with good coaching, also.
2. Because I had neglected to make my flight reservations in a timely manner, I was granted with a seat in the very last row, in the middle. I was seated next to two men, with much longer legs than mine. It builds intimacy quickly, when someone’s appendages are in your designated “space”. Coaching is ultimately the building of a relationship, but clients are entrusting us with their dreams, hopes, fears, and challenges usually from the first session—so we have to create that environment of trust, a safe space, and rapport early.
3. Sometimes, in the midst of the coaching experience, you experience a sense of wonder. In the row in front of me, I watched a toddler laugh joyfully as he played with his parents, and it was contagious—he made me smile, too. In coaching, we are privileged to have a front row to clients’ transformation, which is really wondrous, also. He cried a little bit, too, but what I most remember is the laughter.
I thought I would end this article here on a high note, but things are never that simple.
4. Halfway through the flight, we experienced a fair bit of turbulence. After I mentally went through a mini-gratitude review (I was glad my daughter was not on the plane with me; glad that I ate pizza more than 3 hours prior, etc.), the pilot spoke on the intercom and apologized for the bumpiness, but noted that for those on the left side of the aircraft, there was an “electric thunderstorm” below us and that it was one of the beautiful sights he gets to see from time to time from the air. I thought this was a great metaphor for the “hard times” of coaching. Sometimes we say something that doesn’t quite resonate with the client, or don’t get a quick resolve to a big problem in an hour-long session. Our jobs are to call out and wade with our clients through the “messiness”, and, it is beautiful.
Let me help you soar (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).