LinkedIn Skills - The New Networking - thom singer

LinkedIn is HOT right now and everyone is trying to figure out what LinkedIn skills they need to succeed. Without a doubt LinkedIn is the current darling of social media. But will like all the other flavors of the month, it may eventually get hit by user burnout. I began writing and speaking about networking in 2005. While that was a few years after LinkedIn was founded, it was hardly mainstream. In my keynote, “The New Networking” the audience is challenged to discuss how networking is different in 2019 and networking is not different in 2019.

Yes, you need a LinkedIn profile. Everyone who is a grownup with a job should be a LInkedIn member, as this is where people go to discover information about you and your company. Some wonder why people need to be provided this information, but in our social media crazed world, you have to be in the game or your are invisible. If someone seeks you out on LinkedIn and you do not appear, they assume you are out of touch and they move on.

You should also be using your LinkedIn skills to do research on every person you meet with. The information you discover could help you quickly establish what you have in common.

Beyond The Profile – A Mix of Personal and LinkedIn Skills

The old saying “people do business with those they know, like, and trust” is true. But in today’s world most look for shortcuts. People think they “know” others too fast. It used to be a process to get to know somebody, and “like and trust” would come along in the journey (or it wouldn’t, as you will not like or trust everyone). Now we assume we know them because we have read about them online. I am not saying this is a good thing. Without this process our business relationships come up short. In fact, when your can really get to “like and trust” these days they have more value.

LinkedIn is simply a tool. You have to get beyond the profile and build true connections. But your LinkedIn skills can help you get a leg up on your competition and discover long term opportunities. Professional networking in 2020 is different than it was ten years ago. Understanding how to communicate with your LinkedIn network will impact your bottom line.

The New Networking

In a world of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, online resumes, text communications, etc.. you have to discover the mix of technology and human-to-human engagement. The skills listed to succeed in most modern jobs are much different than twenty years ago. Avoiding these modern soft skills will get you overlooked. LinkedIn skills matter. However, thinking that “likes”, “links”, “shares” and “follows” really equal relationships will leave you in the dust.

In the new networking we must embrace the technology and we must embrace the face-to-face time with people. While there are outliers who are social media marketing wizards, most of us will not go viral. We need to have skills including how to use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc… But we also need to have the skills companies want when it comes to personal communication skills. If you cannot relate to people in a live setting, you cannot succeed over a 50 year career.

LinkedIn Skills Data and Serving Others – Find The Balance

There is a lot of data in our online world. LinkedIn skills allows you to see amazing amounts of information about the people in your network, But data alone is useless. Having access to a person’s information is not the same as figuring out how to use that knowledge to make a meaningful connection.

The people who succeed the most are the ones who help others. Yes, we have many examples of jerks who make tons of money. Yet over a lifetime, the ones who get involved and build relationships do find they have a better more well rounded life. Success is not just about the old “corner office” or making the most money.

All opportunities come from people. Even in a world where companies like Indeed allow people to cultivate amazing amounts of information about jobs, candidates, employers, etc… Many bosses say some of their best hires still come from networking. Yes, the right pedigree and skills matter, but many people still want to have a personal referral.

Networking Is Important for Introverts and Extroverts

Recently I was not selected to speak at a large association conference. The meeting planner shared with me that two people on the committee complained that the concept of a keynote about networking was unfair to introverts and might be a trigger to shy people. I was shocked that they told me this. First of all, if they had seen me speak they know that I am a believer that introverts are better networkers (they ask more questions and listen closer than extroverts). Secondly, just because networking might be hard, does not mean it is not important.

My favorite audiences when I speak are filled “left-brained professionals”. These are the best people as they are usually problem solvers. When I show them they have paths via their LinkedIn skills and their voice, they take action.

Being an introvert is not something bad. Our population is split between those who get energy from large group activities and those who get drained in these settings. Neither is better or worse. My message is not about changing one side or the other, but how each person can do things while still being true to themselves. You don’t have to like networking events to maximize your participation in the face-to-face business world.

Check out my podcast episode about “the New Networking“.


Thom Singer is a motivational speaker and professional master of ceremonies / EmCee.  He is the host of the popular “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast and the author of 12 books.