Sometimes, narratives work wonders rather than do this and do that for your profile to stand out. The hope is — this is one of those times.
“Oh Sum” is all we could decipher. My older daughter was three years old when she shared these words. She would repeat the words after certain activities. I checked with my wife, we could not figure what she was sharing. One weekend, a seven year old girl was visiting us. While playing with her, my daughter repeated the magic words. The young girl did not bat an eyelid. My curiosity to figure out what my daughter was sharing got the better of me.
I paused my conversation midway with another elder and asked the young girl, “what is she saying?” She said, “Awesome” in a matter of fact fashion, puzzled at my search for meaning. My wife and I looked at each other and chuckled — this awareness was worth savoring. In India, we grew up with words like nice, good and great. Awesome was not a common occurrence for us to connect the dots between toddler talk and words.
I shared this story with my Texas team when we were casually discussing about my upbringing in India versus my children’s experience in Houston. Years rolled by, I got a call from one of the sales guys. We had partnered to get something right for a customer. His first words ,“Oh sum” followed by a long pause. It took me a moment to register and I chuckled. I marveled at his ability to remember and relate small details. Incidentally, he was a top performer — talk about the art of remembering small details giving you an edge. In those small details of thought, I found my inspiration on how to make LinkedIn profiles standout.
When we design our LinkedIn Profile landing page, what we fill is influenced by what we like to share. The following video “Design is in the Details”, a TED talk by Paul Bennett made me rethink that.
Paul aptly called this design experience — “blinding glimpse of bleeding obvious.”
Rather than focus on what we should put on our LinkedIn page, why not answer a question, what would I like to see on others page. It provides a touch of honesty to reflect on what our own expectations of others– a soul searching worthy of our time.
Developing it further, in lieu of camcorder in the video, we can sit at our desk and rack our brains on what our audience like to see. Or we can ask them, whenever we get a chance. For example,
“What are the top three items you look for in summary section when you view a LinkedIn profile?” could be a powerful question in its simplicity and its specificity.
In our pursuit of our audience perspectives, we cannot go too far- words of Kurt Vonnegat come to mind as a counter balance:
“If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”
How do you get your profile just right?
When I look at LinkedIn profiles, I think of salt. Too less, you leave audience wanting for more. Too much, there is awkward politeness during the first meal — rest assured the thought crosses their mind while evaluating the next visit.
When the salt is just right, it blends in the background — the food is great and the audience implicitly absorb the deftness of the cook. You know through their action — when they take the second serving.
In reality, it is and it will always be a work in progress. Every attempt is closer to the right balance you strive for.
Inspired by Paul’s TED talk on being in the shoes of the audience, the analogy for deriving the best LinkedIn profile is best presented by this diagram below.
Both circles represent a customer’s view — the left one is you as a customer, the right one is your customer’s view point. The left circle is an abstraction of the golden rule (treat others the way you like to be treated). It is honesty therapy — knowing what you want from others before figuring out what others want. The right circle is inspired by the platinum rule (treat others the way they like to be treated). If your profile reflects too much of the right circle, your genuineness is at stake.
The intersection is the awesomeness that my daughter would so approve — with her raised shoulders, open palms, a smile that matches her enthusiastic voice brimming with joy.
Question for you, what are your expectations when you view a LinkedIn profile?