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Inextricably Linked…In

Karen Lindsey, owner of Karen Lindsey Consultancy, shares her views on what should be shared on LinkedIn.

‘What is this doing on LinkedIn? My God, whatever next. Pets corner or what! How about putting on a business article instead.’

I came across this rather prickly comment whilst reading a LinkedIn post, a post that had piqued my interest. This response was relating to a heartfelt explanation of why a member hadn’t been posting as regularly as usual.

A lady called Angie explained that her dog had taken a turn for the worse since his cancer surgery and she asked for people to bear with her whilst she cared for his needs. It struck me how honest her post was and how she had undoubtedly laid her corporate persona bare.

What should be posted?

I’ve been a member of LinkedIn for many years. I’ve realised the importance of being ‘connected’ especially as, like so many others, I strive to once again kick start my business.

Since returning from a long sabbatical, I’ve noticed a change on this particular platform, namely, the type and style of posts featured. The question being, is it a change for the better? Should LinkedIn remain totally business-focused as Mr X’s stoic point of view suggests or should we welcome posts that also sometimes expose the soft, downy, vulnerability of the people behind the occupation?

The pandemic has determined for many, especially those working from home, that our professional and personal lives have inevitably become entwined.

Jason Squires, a social selling expert, said: “It’s unsurprising that LinkedIn has evolved into a platform where its users talk about all aspects of their life, not just business. For me, talking about a mixture of business, work and personal life should be championed, not discouraged. It has undoubtedly brought people closer together through the on/off lockdown periods, as well as helped maintain (and build) business relations when face to face wasn’t possible.”

Staying connected

Talking about all aspects, thankfully this also includes our wellbeing. We are now aware of the benefits and are encouraged to share, whatever the catalyst, when we are struggling emotionally.

Lucia Paredes, a happiness coach, explained: “Connection is one of the key pillars for happiness. Human interaction, feeling part of something bigger than us (a community, our sense of belonging), is what makes us feel alive, happy and fulfilled. With the pandemic and several lockdowns, this has been thwarted. ‘Remotely’ sharing the highs and the inevitable lows with an individual’s network, facilitates that need for connection and belonging to be met.”

Connection is essential on so many levels. I like to gain an insight into a person’s personality and choose to do business with individuals that I not only feel confident can be trusted and are capable to deliver, but that also I feel able to develop a personal connection with.

I applaud the authenticity and yes, accept the vulnerability of the likes of Angie. So, surely, it must be a good thing to let someone occasionally glimpse behind the glossy exterior of the corporate image?

Personally, I will continue to reach out to forge new connections by posting a variety of business-orientated ‘event industry’ styled posts. Rest assured, however, that I won't be sharing pictures of my favourite meal at a restaurant or airbrushed selfies. But yes, Basil, my Australian Labradoodle (pictured), will continue to feature. He is simply part and parcel of my business and personal life, inextricably linked.

Furthermore, as we once again turn the proverbial wheels of business and together face the many challenges ahead, should a fellow professional bravely and candidly share how heartbroken they are having to nurse their pooch through illness, regardless of our individual standpoint. How about we consider rewarding their honesty by freely extending a hand of compassion?

I’m sure this taboo-busting action could make all the difference to the person’s well-being and future recovery both in their personal and ultimately their business lives. So, to answer Mr ‘X’’s question ‘What is this doing on LinkedIn?

My unequivocal answer would be because the world has changed and so, thankfully, has the likes of LinkedIn. In my opinion, where this professional platform is concerned, it’s certainly a change for the better.

karen.lindsey@klc-uk.com