Three Ways to use LinkedIn to Enhance Your Existing Relationships: my guest post on the ALDE blog

I’m writing a series of guest posts for the Association of Lutheran Development Executives blog in advance of my presentations at their 2014 annual conference in Florida. The first is called “Three Ways to use LinkedIn to Enhance Your Existing Relationships,” and you can read it here. How are YOU using LinkedIn to make good relationships even better?

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Rapportive helps Gmail users make relevant LinkedIn connections

Every day, you access a great source of additional LinkedIn connections: your email inbox. There’s a good chance that many of the people who send you email would be good additions to your network, but you may miss the opportunity thinking you’re already connected or just because LinkedIn is out of sight, and therefore out of mind. If you’d like to change that, and you’re a Gmail user, it’s worth taking a look at Rapportive.

Rapportive, which was purchased by LinkedIn in 2012, gives you a snapshot of an email sender’s social media profiles–including, of course, LinkedIn–from within Gmail. That means you can see at a glance whether you’re connected to a given sender and you can start the connection process right from Gmail. Rapportive provides information about more than just LinkedIn: you can also see whether you’re connected to a sender on Facebook or whether you’re following him or her on Twitter–and you can even see the sender’s latest Tweets. Rapportive also allows you to add notes about a given connection that only you can see, much like the LinkedIn Contacts app.

Here’s an example (see screen capture below): Jon Nelson had emailed me the other day, and I noticed he and I weren’t connected (see red arrow). I clicked on the “connect” button, and Rapportive allowed me to customize the message.

rapportive

Is it likely that I would have connected with Jon had I not installed Rapportive? Possibly.  But using Rapportive reminded me of the opportunity a lot more quickly than I would have realized on my own.

Want to learn more about Rapportive? Check it out here–and let me know what you think.

StayFocusd helps you change bad habits–and spend more productive time on LinkedIn

Bad habits: we all have them. As you get a little older, you realize the key isn’t eliminating them entirely. It’s more a matter of finding ways to mitigate them and steal back some time and energy for things that really are worthwhile.

That’s why I love the Google Chrome plug-in StayFocusd, an app designed to limit your time on certain websites. You’ll notice I didn’t say “eliminate” time on certain websites: part of the genius of StayFocusd is that you still can give in to the occasional urge to check out Facebook photos, watch YouTube videos, or check out the latest headlines on The Onion. However, by limiting your time on those sites, you’ll do so much less often–and be more aware of how often that temptation kicks in.

Here’s the catch, though: any time you avoiding spending on one time-sucking, unproductive website can easily be reallocated to another time-sucking, unproductive website–unless you have a plan. And that’s where LinkedIn comes in.

I’ve written before about how you can use LinkedIn effectively in just 10 minutes a day. Chances are, some of you reading this post already devote that much time to LinkedIn every day–maybe even more. However, there are probably some of you who don’t, and who have been trying to find the time to make it work.

You probably see where this is going.

So here’s a simple solution: take an honest look at how you spend your time on the web (there’s an app for that, too), and then use StayFocusd to reel it in. Maybe spend 10 fewer minutes on Facebook or Twitter and commit to spending that time on LinkedIn instead. Don’t assume it will be easy at first–you may even need to put an “appointment” with LinkedIn on your daily calendar–but know it is possible. All it takes is a little discipline…and a little help from your friends at StayFocusd.