Learning to network

January 26, 2008

Sharing with others does NOT take away from yourself

Filed under: career, Manage my network, Privacy, think positive — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 10:17 am

I found some excellent market research yesterday that could well help me find work in the future. I wanted to post it to my technology-related blog, but I had strong reservations about actually publishing it (Look who’s been doing my market research for me). “But should I share useful information with my competitors?”, went my self-protective thoughts. “Other people I know are effectively in competition with me for roles, so I should keep this to myself.”

Fortunately I published it anyway, and this morning I realised why this was the RIGHT thing to do. Even if my ex-colleagues are in the same sector as me, offering similar services, and aiming at similar prospective companies, this can still be an advantage to me.

You see I am me, with a different personality, different characteristics, different experience and a different approach from other people I know. If its the right role for me, it is quite possibly not right for the other person, so I would be more likely to get the work. Likewise, if it’s right for the other person and doesn’t really suit me, then why would I want to be doing it anyway? Because we are unique individuals we are not actually direct competitors, and have nothing to fear from each other.

What’s more, by sharing openly with others, when I find a role that doesn’t quite suit me, I could easily recommend that the other person goes for it instead. And because what goes around comes around, other people I know, and who I share openly with, are more likely to approach me if they find a role that they are not ideally suited to. So we continue to help each other, not compete with each other.

Helping each other and sharing is always a better approach than “us and them” – it enriches everyone.

January 21, 2008

How LinkedIn helps you strengthen your network, even by chance

Filed under: LinkedIn, Manage my network, Social Media — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 12:08 am

Scott Allen recently wrote about the way he likes LinkedIn because it helps him make fortunate discoveries by accident – Serendipity, Or Why LinkedIn Really Works

I could not agree more about the way “chance” discoveries help me strengthen my network. And I think this is one of the great reasons to maintain a quality network of trusted business colleagues, rather than casually connecting with open-networking link seekers.

I feel I get a great deal of value for the time I spend “casually browsing” my own extended network. When I successfully connect to someone, I find it’s useful to peruse those people they have brought me as new second degree connections. And it’s often interesting to note who is adding new connections and occasionally who they are.

Its not just that I can develop a better understanding of the industries and markets (my current ones, and others). I actually develop a better understanding of who I know out there, what they are up to and how we are intertwined. Its like being able to see the wiring under the covers, and realising how it all comes together.

And of course spending time nurturing my network can only help it grow – in strength as well as numbers.

January 13, 2008

The blogging dynamic

Filed under: Publishing, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 4:07 pm

Blogging has a very different dynamic from other types of publishing media, owing to several factors, but the most important in my eyes are:
1) Posts are usually short to medium length, but are fairly regular. This churn has meant that people turn to feeds and aggregators to
manage the dribbled snippets of disparate information, but it gives blogs a more casual, conversational characteristic
2) What turns individual blogs into the blogosphere is the community that builds up with interaction between the streams of stuttered
conversation, that whispers and rumours travel, as well as knowledge and information being shared and relayed.
3) The mechanisms that have become common in blog tools and services encourage and feed off this interconnectedness. Links (posting references to others’ posts, tracking back, and commenting) are a powerful source of SEO, if that is your main goal. However, even for the casual non-commercial blogger, connections are a source of inspiration and readership too. Reading other people’s blogs and commenting
on them or blogging about them builds not only your knowledge and that of your readers, but builds a network around you, albeit more transient than the one you have in LinkedIn – this comes back to making sure you do it regularly.
Different media suit different structures.

You can use the passing flow of time in your blog to help you rework material. In a traditional static form that you build up in documents or wikis, you avoid repetition. However in a blog it is relevant to rework something you posted six months ago, because you will have a different view and you can recompose your work in various ways.

You can use this to translate your ideas into chunks that you publish consecutively – like chapters of a book delivered in weekly inserts in a magazine. Not only will it help you reorganise it but you might get a different response if people read it in a different shape.

January 9, 2008

Leading the pack from within

Filed under: career, Learning — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 4:11 am

I know this is slightly off-topic, but Brandon Henak’s guest post in Personal Branding Blog gives a description of leadership that really resonates with me currently…

Find something you are passionate about and learn what it takes to lead by interacting with people who have similar beliefs. Gather the thoughts, opinions and goals of the group, combine them with your vision and help the group achieve them by planning a strategy with them, not for them. Your passion to lead change, in any group whether political, academic, athletic or otherwise, is directly translatable to leading in the constantly changing corporate environment.

January 7, 2008

How are you doing against your Personal Branding checklist?

Filed under: career, Self-marketing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 1:07 am

Its great when someone publishes a list of “X important things you must do in order to…” , because it provides a fantastic way of metering your own progress towards your goals. Personal Branding guest blogger Jason Jacobsohn gives a classic example at with 13 Important Drivers to Developing Your Personal Brand. What could be more reassuring than counting the achievements you have already ticked off? If you already have plans to accomplish the others, it only encourages you further.

In fact, I find it highly satisfying that Jason lists only one important driver that I do not esteem – personal note cards. But anyone who has tried to decipher a scrawled personal message from me in the past decade will appreciate that no amount of gold-emblazoned bonded card stock could ever make my handwriting appear professional.

January 4, 2008

Understanding your readers

Filed under: Publishing, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 8:53 pm

Incoming links shows which paths readers could use to arrive at your blog, and indicates your level of support from your blogging community. However if you want to know how they are arriving, and which are the most common ways they click through to you you need to track referrals.

Once again, your blogging software is lilkely to have some information, but you can improve your statistical information gathering by including some scripts in your pages from one of the following tools:

  • AWStats (Advanced Web Stats)
  • MyBlogLog
  • Google Analytics
  • StatCounter
  • 103bees

The first two seem to be the most respected – although Google is one of the most common, some suggest that their statistics may be subject to some bias. Other tools are available but some are tied to services (like AdSense) and others involve payment (like the good but rather costly Overture).

January 3, 2008

Understanding your community

Filed under: Publishing, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 10:08 am

If you want to know who is linking in to your blog, then the first place you can look is in your own blogging system. Many, such as WordPress have a dashboard with statistics including incoming links. If you still want to know more then you can use one (or more) of the following tools:

Feedburner (http://www.feedburner.com/)
GetClicky (http://www.getclicky.com/)
Google Analytics (https://www.google.com/analytics/home/)
Lijit (http://www.lijit.com/)
MyBlogLog (http://www.mybloglog.com/)
Sitemeter (http://www.sitemeter.com/)
StatCounter (http://www.statcounter.com/)
Technorati (http://www.technorati.com/)

Thanks to Dennis McDonald (http://www.ddmcd.com) for providing this list.

Comments from fellow LinkedIn Bloggers suggest that Technorati is no longer providing a complete picture of incoming links.

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