I discovered that teaching is really good for everything.

I teach at different business schools and universities and I love it.

The money is not good at all though…so lately I have been trying not to teach at too many business schools.

But the benefits for doing it are numerous….

- students will always challenge you if don’t manage to communicate clearly and in a simple way, whether asking questions, not listening or bad evaluation

- you will have to write and read more to be able to teach…as what you say has to be more simple and made in way you can transfer your knowledge

- your communication skills will improve especially when you have 30/40 people waiting for you in a room…the more you speak, the better you get…for public speaking, no other options or training…so to prepare a conference, teach at universities

- you will expand your  network through contacts with universities and business schools…with other teachers, other students, and any events that they organise

- it is good for your reputation and your CV…I always maximise the schools and universities I speak at and put it on my CV/resume or online profiles…companies see that as a strength

- you can use what you teach for your conferences, articles…in my case, I use the case studies I present to write articles and present them at conferences

So first step?

Just call universities or business school, leverage your network….Universities are really hungry for good professionals and people able to communicate their knowledge.

it is really more simple than you think…

One simple rule with students…You give a lot, but you will receive much more.

 

 

 

Back in March, I had to deliver a conference about Social Media for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) and I had a HAHA moment.

2 days before I had given a conference at the London Business School and the students gave me mix feedbacks…but 1 or 2 said that my presentation was lacking of real case studies, real examples, something or someone they could relate to.

So 2 days after, when I had this conference at the Chamber of commerce, I reflected a lot about this (excellent) feedback from my students.

What should I do?

I had already prepared the usual presentation, “Why social media…” How to use it…” “the trends and figures…”. And in the same conference, there was also a person from Linkedin who would talk about social media and trends…

Basically my presentation would be very similar to the presentation of this person…and SMEs in the room would not see a lot of difference.

A couple of hours before the conference, I decided to drop all my slides and I started looking for case studies that I could present…

A case study or a story that the attendees would relate to…

A case study that would explain in simple terms what social media means exactly for them…

So here I am, a Thursday morning with completely new slides, out of my confort zone presenting a case study…a hair salon which used Social Media to get business.

And it was a real success…the SMEs in the room for the 1st time were able to understand what social media means for a small business and what kind of practical steps they could take straight away.

Since then, my whole way of doing presentations has changed…I only use case studies or real stories from clients or from businesses I research on the internet.

I started also writing case studies on Link Humans blog, with case studies about CH2M HILL, Philips, Schawk or UPS the last one. And it is a lot of work but clients are coming to us precisely because case studies are the best way to understand how it works even if it is not replicable.

And people love it…on our blog, the most read articles are those about case studies!!!!

Case studies are better than the usual pieces of advice that everyone is delivering on their blog.

Why using case studies:

  1. It is concrete
  2. It shows practical ways to implement a social media strategy
  3. people understand concreteness straight away so your message gets across more easily
  4. With social media, the only way to learn is by doing…

And you, do you use Case studies, real stories to get your message across?

 

Are blogs dead? No
Are comments worthless? No

Lately I have been rediscovering the pleasure and power of commenting on blogs.
And yes comments are still a powerful way to influence a community, get your name out there, and improve your SEO…

The other day, I commented on a blog where my comment was the only comment. And this article has been retweeted 60 times…and my comments was really easy to see at the end of the article. So people could see my name attached to the article and the topic around.
For me the benefits of commenting on a blog are:

  1. Build a relationship with the blogger: bloggers love other people to comment on their blogs, it is like someone passing by your house. If you look to establish a relationship with someone, start with a comment on the person’s blog
  2. Get your name around a specific topic to position yourself as an Expert. I have been noticing that when googling my name, the comments I made on different blogs appeared really high in the searches…so it clearly influences the relation between your name and the topic being discussed on the blog…so be STRATEGIC
  3. Improve your SEO. Whenever you put a comment on a blog with traffic (whether qualified or not), you will always improve the SEO for your blog or your name (when googling your name)

Howerver, I have a slight disclaimer: Don’t put the boring comment that I see all the time…”great post, thanks for sharing it”….if you can add some flesh on the bone, it is even better.

Blogging is a human feeling especially for bloggers who consider their blog to be an intimate part of who they are…so commenting is even more powerful than retweeting or commenting or liking on Facebook.

Do it to establish relationships and position yourself in a specific sector/industry/niche!!!

Last week I gave a speech in front of 150 people during the Social Media in Recruitment conference…I especially explained how a company used Linkedin to recruit and got effective results having its costs cut by half (from 7000£ to 3.300£), and the time to recruit lowered (from 2 months to 40 days).

But my concern at some point was not about the presentation itself…it was about the timing of my preparation. I had to deliver it straight after lunch at 1.30 pm. When I learnt about the time of my presentation, I really felt concerned.
I would have to deal with a sleepy audience in the middle of their digestion…How could I change things and make this presentation more appealing?

What to do?

A week before the conference, I met with a company willing to use our Social Media expertise…the company is called PowerVote.
When I met with Didier Moulin, the managing director, I knew straight away that this product would help me to get over my concerns for my conference.

Power Vote!

PowerVote allows you to get your audience engaged…in an easy way.
It is a voting system where people use a small device with numbers on it and they can choose the answers available.
The idea I used was to ask my audience a first set of questions (which channels do you use to recruit)…then at the end another set of questions (which channels do you plan to use more) with the same answers.

Result?

And it is brilliant, I loved it…and the audience loved it as well. You touch a device, you feel engaged in the process, you participate, you give your point of view…you see the results of your vote…it is a Social Media tool.
The feedbacks were great and I still think we can use the results from the audience.

At the end of the day, my speech went well and I think the voting system really helped to get my audience awake and attentive.
Well done for this simple idea, Power Vote and I only can recommend other people to use it for any presentation.

Number 1 in Europe?

I was wandering around the internet and I came across this interesting image from Viadeo, the professional social network.
And interestingly enough they pretend to be number 1 in Europe with 8 million members.
I took my excel spreadsheet and started doing my maths.

 

In France, Linkedin has 2,2 million members and in the UK and the latest figures that I took from this infographic is 5.9 million members.
Overall if you add on Uk+France+Netherlands+Spain = 12.2 million members or more than 8 million.

So in Europe, Linkedin is number 1. And obviously this infographic is inaccurate!!

Why would they claim they are number 1??

However what is interesting from this infographic is that 40% of connections are made with someone within 5 miles radius. We tend to network locally and that is important to understand.

The people on Viadeo are slightly younger than on Linkedin (43 years old vs 37 years old).

Now the big issue for Viadeo is: Can they survive? and if so how? Local markets obviously, niche markets, china and india…because the way we do business in China, they may have a competitive advantage…But why lying on European figures?

Let’s see what is going to happen…And by the way, if someone from Viadeo want to explain these figures, I would be more than happy to include it in this post…I am open minded!!

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Linkedin launch party Paris

Last Thursday I was in Paris for the launch party of Linkedin in France. We were around 50 in the room, some happy few and some known faces from the French internet.

Now Linkedin has been growing steadily in France and even though it is still behind Viadeo in terms of members, Linkedin is growing quicker than Viadeo (72% last year). Linkedin in France, it is 2,2 million members vs 4 million for Viadeo.

On this picture, you even can see Loic Meur who was filming the event…

So now what’s next?

For Linkedin in France, the goal is to increase the base of its members and cope with the increasing needs from their clients…advertising or recruitment solutions. The office is set to grow quickly and currently there are Laurence Bret, the EMEA marketing director and Guillaume Larronde, account director and probably 2/3 new staff will be joining forces.

The biggest issue for Linkedin in France? To manage to get French people pronouncing properly Linkedin…once it is done, things will move faster!

What about the competition with Viadeo?

I don’t think it will be relevant…the positioning is different but I am sure that Viadeo will lose ground over time…Remember, The winner takes it all!

So it was good to meet with Lilian Mahoukou, Eric Tenin, Hervé Bloch, Jean-François Ruiz, Jean-Noel Chaintreuil and the CBS outdoor team (Cyrille Lavizzari and Sarah Shepherd)

And as a bonus the video, “How French people pronounce Linkedin…Linkeeedddin!”

Is the word “passion” overused?

Sometimes I realize that people don’t even know anymore what it is.

And when you are being asked: What is your passion? It is a daunting question.

I read this article written by Dan Pink

“I’m seeing quite an increase in the number of people turning a hobby into a business,” she says. “You start innocently by making cakes or taking photos in your spare time. Friends and family admire the results and recommend you to others. Before you know it, you are your own boss and making a living from doing what you do.”

This is how people find their way. Instead of endless self-examination and the search for some inscrutable holy emotional grail, they act.”

Have you found your way like that?

In my case, I plan to go around the world…not very original…but I plan to do it through the food and local dishes. I plan to call it the “world in 80 dishes” in reference to Jules Verne’s book “Around the world in 80 days”.

Food is my “passion” or something I really love. I think that it is a great way to reach out to people and find a common ground.

But I don’t think that I will turn my interest into a proper job, I don’t want to be a professional cook or open a restaurant, I just enjoy sharing and eating food with people.

What do you do with your passion? Have you managed to turn it into a job or do you keep it aside?

But in a more simple way,

What are you great at? What comes easily to you?

What would you do – or are you already doing – for free?

Auto-DMs are as personal as an airport announcement about unattended baggage.

I came across that article yesterday.

And 2 days before, I had received 3 auto DMs from the same person.

The more people have power, the more they start abusing the system. That is a simple rule of life.

We created the cars, but we also created the car accidents.

We created Twitter, but we also created the DMs on Twitter.

These people don’t realize that they annoy everyone and instead of adding a human touch to their communication, they actually harm their reputation.

People have the impression of being looked after till they understand that this is an automated DM…you feel like a betrayal after a love relationship. It is even worse than doing nothing.

Basically there are 2 type of annoying DMs:

1) when you start following someone, a DM saying: “you can join me also on my Facebook page…” or “Welcome, I have a book as well”…and so on

2) a type of DM which is spreading quickly, the spam DM, where people send you spam DMs promoting their articles, new stuff, workshops…this type of DM is worse as we are following people on the basis of trust. Result? Unfollow!

Twitter, as Social Media in general, is all about conversation and building trust! Do you think you build trust with auto DMs?

Now if you want to spread an article or something specific, you need to build the relationships first…And once is done, you can ask with a personal message, if the person could kindly retweet your article.

There are no other ways, no ther shortcuts.

So please, stop your auto-DMs, you are wasting your time, and people’s time!

I have been taking pronunciation lessons since the end of January.

I have been also giving conferences in English about Social Media, Social Networks…and picthing Link Humans to different businesses…But I still think I should improve my oral English.

Now I landed lectures at Regent’s college and London Business School…So pressure is on.

But my problem is that everyone was giving me excellent feedback: “oh your French accent is great” “it was a great conference” “your French accent actually makes you even more knowledgeable” and so on…

So I could not be bothered to improve my Oral English until one day, someone told me that to lecture at a high level business school or deliver webinars, I would have to improve my accent and up my game to appear more authoritative.

Here am I, pronoucing my “O”s in a different way, trying to say the “the” not in a French way, and so on…Now I am training my breathing and singing Mongolian songs to force my mouth to say the “O”s in a very English way.

But actually I love it…

My coach told me that I will never lose my Frenchness but if I improve, it will impact all my content.

Feedback is essential to improve, and sometimes we should not be afraid to say what we really think instead of putting things aside and saying a simple “it was interesting”.

This simple feedback I received forces me to go after a better way of communicating and improving my communication skills…

Feedbacks are our only way to improve and get better at what we do. So thank you for the Feedback you gave me Clare, it was a huge gift.

I luve zi English feedback :)

By the way, I will be running my 15th Opened Linkedin Workshop tomorrow, see you there!

My good friend and LinkedIn specialist Lincoln Coutts talked to me about Michael Dell’s profile on LinkedIn the other day.

To be like Michael Dell on LinkedIn is to be exclusive (check his profile here)

What Michael did on his Linkedin Profile is to put a simple sentence:

“Please do not request to connect with me unless we know each other or have worked together”

He is being exclusive…And that is where the power of the network lies.

You need to be exclusive to accept only people you know in real life or people who bother to put a personal message explaining why connecting.

At the end of the day, LinkedIn allows you to leverage your physical network and if you have people you can’t trust in your netwok, how are you going to ask for an introduction to a LinkedIn contact?

Obivously in the case of Michael, as he is famous, he needs to protect himself from constant unsolicited messages.

But for you, simple user, the key fact comes from your ability to use your network on LinkedIn.

And what if your online network is filled with unknown people?

Time to discover the pleasures of exclusivity!

I run a workshop  on the 16th of February in London on How to use Linkedin…and I will be talking about exclusivity!

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The other day I was reading an article talking (Thanks to Romain Thery) about the end of follow friday and the guy was explaining that the Follow Friday trend is almost dead.

Micah Baldwin

The Follow Friday was “invented” by Micah Baldwin in 2009. And it was done in a spirit of really following the person he was mentioning. Now it has become a boring list of thank you for the exchanges or for the friendship…or whatever. But every Friday, we can see these boring lists of #ff.
Being quoted by Micah Baldwin at the time was a rare opportunity and it had real value. It was a good way to discover a new person, someone you could be interested in following.
Now some people have even set up automated follow fridays and they #ff the same people over and over.

A guy even created a website called End Follow Friday explaining that it is a new form a spam!

Result?
There are still some people doing #ff but the trend seems to be in the end of #ff. On my TL, less and less people are doing #ff and in the UK, the end of #ff seems to be a step further than in France.

The victory of Quality over quantity

At the end of the day, the end of the #ff is a good news. When you see these lists of compulsory #ff, you realize that quantity has replaced quality. Because you want to please everyone, people tend to think that the more names they put, the better.

So it is not about who to follow, it is about who to please. The real spirit of the exercise is perverted.
And the end or the death of the #ff can’t be a real problem as quantity is the rule…the only way of creating real value is to be able to advise who to follow in an authentic manner. If it is quantity, you don’t believe anymore in the real value of Follow Friday!
Networking and relationships rely on Quality bonds, and quality bonds can’t be handled with quantity.

So by bye Follow Friday….

But I am not afraid…it will be replaced by something new maybe wrapped around more quality.

Apologies

I have realized lately that the content on my blog had become much more boring than it used to be.
Why?
Because I don’t put as much personality as I used to do a year ago.
So apologies for that.
Apologies to my faithful readers.
Now it is time to be back.
I must say also that my personal life changed so much in 2010 and the personal side affects your writing whatever you do.
Your blog is a bit of yourself.
So if you are affected by external changes, your blog is affected too.
When I was writing more thought-provoking articles, I really attracted a lot more people around me.
I got my clients through blogging, I got my current my business partner through blogging, I got very good business contacts through blogging…
And now things seem really quiet.
But I feel I am back, back to what I used to do and say on this blog…

Dead blog
I think that blogging is an intimate part of oneself and that is the reason why blogging is so difficult to sustain over time…
The other day, I had this strange conversation with a client:
The client: “I want to write a blog to reach my clients and get more traffic”
Me: “Do you like writing?”
The client: “No, and I don’t look forward to it”
Me: “So you should not write a blog”
The client: “Yes but I have to”

End Result?
What do you think the end result will be?
5/10 articles and a dead blog and obviously an harmed e-reputation.
What does a “dead blog” tell about you?
I must say that keeping a blog over time is time-consuming and it is a bit of yourself that you put out there…so blogging is like living, you have your ups and downs!

Are you sure your profile on LinkedIn is not boring? Do you have these words on it?

I came across this article which gives us the 10 most overused buzzwords on your LinkedIn Profile.

The most used phrases on LinkedIn profile are (depending on which country you are in):

  • Extensive Experience – USA, Canada, Australia
  • Dynamic – Brazil, India, Spain
  • Motivated – UK
  • Innovative – France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands

Obviously, you should not use these terms and clichés on your profile…it does not add any value to what you do and who you are.

On LinkedIn it is about being visible with action words and a simple but punchy presentation.

The 4 rules for crafting an efficient profile are simple:

1) Short: Attention span on the internet is really short so I would advise not to write dozens of lines but a well thought paragraph

2) Simple: No bullshiting or complicated words that consultants may use, but simple and straightforward words. Short sentences with a verb is really enough.

3) Actions and Achievements: Instead of putting the boring “I lead a team and manage an office of…” put “I lead a team of 10 designers and managed a 2 floor office” for example. It is all about figures and concrete examples more than the boring profile. If you wrote a book or wrote a specific article, name it! Remember that the achievement you chose must be aligned with your goal on LinkedIn.

4) Personal: I think that on LinkedIn it is good to put something personal on your summaryand what I mean by personal, I mean something different. What makes you different? “And by the way, I am a scuba diver in exotic islands”. It shouldn’t substitute the professional part but only make it a little bit more lively.

So what does your profile look like? Is it boring?

If you are in London next week (18/01), we run a Linkedin Workshop and we will be talking about profiles!

Are you growing fed up with the word “SOCIAL”?

Now everything is Social! Social Media, Social interaction, Social Community, social engagement…

You Kids are social, you dog is social, the companies need to enable social interactions and social exchanges between people. You name it!

What does Social mean?

Social comes from the Latin word “socialis” which means “companionship”. Social is everything related to life in community.

And obviously we have been living in communities since the very beginning of the Man’s birth.

So basically almost everything we do is social. In the past people used to live in small local communities connecting with a limited number of people. They were socializing. And the main place of socialization was the church.

So everything they were doing was within their community. Everything was social as well!

Now the church has been replaced by internet.

Yes we do socialize today when we interact within communities, we start talks or conversations, we exchange ideas or projects.

We socialize in everything we do in that sense.

But we do socialize as much as people in small communities used to with the church or the local butcher.

Why this word “Social” has become such a trend?

It is difficult to explain but we put a new word for something that has been existing for ages.

But the biggest difference with the church is that we can interact with much more people and anywhere on the planet. The number of ties we can create is much bigger. And obviously the leverage is much higher.

The best part of the mass was not the mass itself but after the mass…where people discussed and met to exchange information, news and social currencies (jobs, marital updates, valuable help and information…).

So Social is everywhere, but do we need to call everything we do on the internet “Social”?

It is my new battle, getting twitter more human than robot…a bit idealistic and pointless probably but you never know!

Everybody is saying that Social Media is all about conversation and real humans. You give some power back to the consumer, the individual…Small is really becoming beautiful.

But the longer I spend on Twitter, the more I get appalled by the the automation of Twitter.

1) Some people send automatic DM (Direct Messages) to their followers saying “Thanks for following”, it is meant to be cool and to give a human touch to the tool, but actually it looks like spam, it does the opposite effect.

The best example is Automated DM, it happened to me a couple of times…replying to the DM thinking it was an authentic and personal DM but actually, my reply never got anywhere “the sender can not receive this DM as he is not following you…”

2) A lot of tweets are automated tweets, where people only susbcribed to a specific site or blog and send automatically the articles on their timeline. Ok I do understand that it can be sometimes helpful to do that, but I love talking to a real human and not an automated retweeter. You can do it but keep it low!!

3) I even discovered recently some people who installed a tool where they follow back automatically anyone following them. And if you happen to unfollow them, it will unfollow you automatically. It is a tool to grow your follower base…without taking into consideration the person. You are just a number.

The technology is getting cleverer to really mimic the abuses of life and Twitter is one these tools.

But over time, if you automate too much and don’t put any human touch on Twitter, it just can’t work.

Twitter is a conversation tool where you need to engage, and do a mix of everything. You can’t behave like a robot or remplace your presence by a robot.

Yes a lot of tweets can be boring “eating some beaf and salade” but at least it gives something human…and once you get your audience right, you can develop a more human way of communicating.

We want to liaise with real humans, fullstop.

You can join us at Link Humans as we run workshops on how to use twitter efficiently but humanly :)