Social media and networking platforms like LinkedIn are opportunities to demonstrate and deliver—not merely tout—your value.
Case in point: though I am hardly a master photographer or photo editor, I have learned a thing or two creating and disseminating thousands of photos for various clients. That experience prompted me recently to offer counsel to a LinkedIn connection who frequently posts, almost always with a photograph.
His field of endeavor is far from photography, and it was plain to see he could benefit from basic editing tips.
Praise Publicly, Correct Privately
I should note that my counsel was done privately—remember: whenever possible, praise in public, correct/critique in private. To provide further context, this individual is a public figure whose career has long been under a microscope because of his employment’s public-facing status. In fact, we got to know one another about 30 years ago when I was a reporter and he was part of an organization that received heavy scrutiny from me and other journalists.
In my message to him, I opened with praise and encouragement about what I see he is doing especially well—public communication. Then I got right to the point:
“I enjoy your updates and appreciate your approach to communication….I wanted to pass along a suggestion re: your photos to better convey your points. The more you can tighten shots to better show faces of folks/the overall focus of your message, the better.”
That was the “telling” part, which would have been OK enough, I suppose. But it was only a few minutes’ extra effort to cover the “showing” portion of this tell-and-show process:
“I’ve taken the liberty to trim three such photos from your recent photos, to give you a clearer picture (literally) of what I mean. I realize that you don’t always have the time/ability to trim, based on how you are uploading, etc., but when possible, it will give your communications that much more impact.”
In doing so, I was able to provide him with a comparison of those same photos that he had posted with the versions that he could have used to greater effect. Over the past few weeks, since sending my note, I have been pleased to detect an improvement in the quality of his photos: a lot less coverage of ceilings and big rooms with a host of distracting elements…a lot more zeroing in on the people to whom he is referring in these pictures.
Improvement: More Incremental Than Incredible
Too often, people deploy a full-frontal LinkedIn campaign when they are in need. Can you send me a referral? Can you help me grow my business? Can you connect me with that person in your sphere of influence?
But it’s important to be active and add value, day by day. Although my photo-editing tips might not spark any business for me at all, there’s something inherently enjoyable about providing something of value to another person, no strings attached.
And if you consider this kind of outreach to be too trivial to bother with, reflect on this reality: rarely do we impart something that is absolutely transformational to another’s life. Much more often, improvement comes in modest increments. Over time, those increments can amount to a substantial impact–not only for those you look out for, but in your own career because you gain a reputation as a value-adder.
What small thing can you do today to add value to someone who’s not even expecting it?