11 Ways To Facilitate A Linkedin Discussion

by Paul Castain on February 21, 2011

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that participating in Linkedin discussions is a great visibility strategy for you.

I thought it might be helpful to offer you a few guidelines that have served me well.

1)    Don’t Post And Run: By far one of the quickest ways to look like a tool. Call me crazy but I actually have this as one of our rules in my Linkedin group. Aside from bad manners, your discussion has a greater chance of dying and dropping off of page one which doesn’t do much for your visibility huh?

2)    Facilitate Your Discussion: You facilitate a discussion by:

–       Expanding on someone’s thought with a new one of your own.

–       Asking them to expand on their thought.

–       Asking them to give you an example.

–       Asking follow up questions

3)    Circle This One Please: Everyone Has A Story And Wants To Be Heard: So make sure you acknowledge the thoughts of the participants. Want to know a secret? People like to feel good by being acknowledged publicly. That’s how you get more and more people hunting down your discussions because they get to feel good all over again. How cool is that? Answer: Way cool!

4)    Enhance The Rock Stardom Of The Dudes/Dudettes In Your Network: Think about people in your network that have a particular area of expertise that can be invited. In some cases I would even talk them up before they get there. Do this (sincerely please) and you have a network of people who will jump into your discussions at the drop of a hat! Oh, before I forget, we should be doing this on any discussion we come across where we know someone who could add value . . . not just our discussions!

5)    When You Disagree . . . Do It Politely. A simple “Thank you for your input” is a nice neutral way of “not going there girlfriend”. But that’s common sense and everyone understands that in the groups. Right? Common sense is always commonly practiced!

6)    Don’t Let Others Diminish Your Virtual Real Estate: I’ve had only a few situations where I thought someone was going out of there way to be an A Hole. In those cases I brought it to the group manager’s attention so I didn’t have to play “Paul Castain Online Vigilante” Do that, and you become an A-Hole by association.

7)    Thank People: Online and offline. Who doesn’t like a little gratitude in front of thousands of their closest friends?

8)    Don’t Grade The Responses: In my coaching practice I always remind people to never grade the question when handling Q & A. Grading in this context would be if I tell Mary that her answer rocks and meanwhile I go silent on the other 12 responses. Way to tell everyone else they suck! Oh, and can we all stop with the “(fill in the name) nailed it” comments. Do this and you shut a discussion down real quick.

9)    Don’t Disguise A Sales Pitch As A Discussion: I despise this one. If you want a discussion, start a discussion but don’t mislead the participants. And those reply privately messages with the sales pitch is equally annoying. Why would someone come back to participate in your next discussion if you just conditioned them to have their guard up? Think Forrest. Think!

10) Don’t Start A Discussion To Blatantly Posture Yourself: I see this one a lot. The problem with posting a question and then going in to “coach” mode is that most people don’t like it because they didn’t ask for it. Certainly not in front of thousands.  Nuff said!

11) Don’t Over Post: It spreads you out way too thin (especially if you do this over multiple groups). Give your discussions a chance to breathe. I would keep it between 1-2 discussions each week depending on the volume of comments you get. To that end, only post one at a time dude!

Tip: Create a word doc with a list of discussions as you think of them. One way to get ideas is to think about the responses you get during a discussion. You might find a great opportunity for a follow up discussion.

Now if you’d like a PDF of these 11 tips plus 4 more, shoot me an email by clicking here and I will get one to you, no strings attached!

If you’d like a handy dandy PDF of these tips, drop me a line at paul@yoursalesplaybook.com and I’ll send you one. No strings attached!

Now get out there and facilitate!

Have you picked up a copy of my 90 page social networking E-Book yet? If not, what the heck are you waiting for? Click here

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  • Great comments, the discussions to posture are so transparent. Even when they start off OK, the author gets desperate and starts selling sooner or later.

  • Always great to see your tips on LinkedIn, you’re by all means one of my personal examples to follow on LinkedIn, now, the fact I don’t really follow it most of the times is another thing! I promise I’ll do better in the future, but in my small experience I can safely say you’re totally right, especially on the first point. It’s like when you leave a comment on a blog and the author never replies to it, you feel left alone, and you feel like your contribution wasn’t well accepted at all.

  • @ Jason: Thank you. I agree. I will tell you, that there is hope because I’m seeing more and more people who are starting to understand how things work and how they should conduct themselves.

    @ Gabriele: I really appreciate the kind words and quite frankly, I need to get better on the blog comment thing.

    Jason and Gabriele . . . thank you for stopping by!


  • Wow great stuff “you nailed it” Paul lol! I really have to agree with everything you said up there. What I dislike is when you maybe post a question in the LinkedIn questions area and get hit with the notorious spammer guy. I had people comment on my question that this individual was a spammer…

    If you want to gain business from LinkedIn discussions then it’s probably best to try and create value and be genuine. Letting people know that you can help isn’t a bad thing that’s why there is the discussions but it has to be done a certain way, “give value often and give it freely” says Jeffrey Gitomer. I believe that makes you attractive and will make people come to you giving you their business. I also think if you follow suit then you will get what you are looking for in the long term too… Right Paul? :^)

    All the Best,

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  • Paul

    As usual for you, Paul, great advice. Thanks.

  • Real Vandal

    Thans for the tips, these are very useful

  • Thanks Paul . . . Very nice of you to take the time to stop by and comment!

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