Showing posts from September, 2016

Why Relying on LinkedIn Messages Can Be Risky

From time to time I hear about misunderstandings and mishaps caused by poor communication through LinkedIn messages.

There might be cases where you turn to this channel because you are trying to reach someone and you don't have their contact information. Or perhaps you are using it because you commonly use LinkedIn messages among friends for routine communication.

But for many people this channel doesn't work very well and to rely on it for critical messages can be a risky practice. Your messages might not be seen or they might be seen and then lost.

First of all this happens because many LinkedIn users create a profile and update it from time to time but then rarely log in so they don't even see that there are any messages. Some light users might also log in but they are not familiar with the user interface and don't notice the pending messages. Others might see the messages, but visiting rarely they always have to wade through spammy recruitment messages and adverti…

How Writing Preserves Your Thoughts

In a post from January 2012 -- How to Have More Ideas: The Magic of Notebooks. -- I argued that most people have ideas all the time, but then they let these ideas flutter away, never to be seen again. Some other people are careful to write all their ideas in notebooks. Re-reading these notebooks later makes you realize how much you think of is quickly forgotten. That is why writers are inevitably people who have the habit of writing down ideas before they are gone.

Writing down all your ideas in notebooks or electronic equivalents does preserve the basic idea but sometimes this is just the germ of a concept, the starting point for further work. More recently I have realized that writing out your thoughts more fully preserves these thoughts very effectively. Looking back now over the posts I have written for this blog over the last nine years I find now many thoughts that I developed a few years ago and have simply forgotten.

Between posts for this blog, freelance articles, speeches &…

Facebook's Underrated Role in Professional Networking

Most of the people I meet when I speak about networking are aware that LinkedIn can play a role in your professional networking. Few understand how useful Facebook has also become over the last few years.

Just five years ago people would often say that LinkedIn is good for professional networking while Facebook is a waste of time. The stereotype of a Facebook feed is an endless flood of cat pictures, invitations to play games and tacky advertising. Some people keep a Facebook account just for friends and family business and others don't bother at all.

But Facebook has changed and in the last five years it has become increasingly important for professional networking. This shift probably started in 2011 when, spurred by the launch of Google+, Facebook added the option of "following" people rather than becoming their friend -- a much more practical solution for business leaders. At the same time people who had grown up on Facebook moved into the workforce, keeping their h…

Speaking: When Silence Works Better Than Words

One of the easiest ways to improve your public speaking is to become better at using pauses. Initially people are afraid to leave pauses, especially at the beginning of their speaking career when they are still nervous. Other people tend to speak without breaks because they are trying to recite a memorized text -- never a great idea. See How to Memorize a Speech Effectively for the correct way to do this.

But a speech without pauses is much more tiring to listen to and people can miss key phrases as their brain struggles to parse a continuous stream of sounds without a break. It is the audible equivalent of trying to read Sir Thomas Malory's La Morte D'Arthur in the original, unpunctuated edition or a sentenceallruntogetherintoonebiglumplikethis.

Adding pauses helps people to understand what you are saying, it helps to attract attention and it helps to emphasize the key points. You can use pauses in several ways:

The Pause at the Beginning. One of the most common mistakes I see…

Why Email Leaks Can Affect Everybody

In two recent posts, Best Practices for Writing Leak-Resistant Emails and The Enemy is Listening I explained how you can never stop all email leaks therefore it is prudent to write defensively. Discussing this with other people I realize that when most people think about email leaks they are thinking about the big stories, where malicious hackers extract email databases through security flaws in the network, or when a rogue human walks out the door with a copy of the files. But there are also countless minor leaks that can affect almost anyone, even if they are never careless.

Emails can leak in so many ways you would be very brave to rely entirely on your security processes to protect them. What's worse is that often a mail leaks and you have no idea that it has. Perhaps the leak wasn't even at your end, because an email sent to someone else can easily leak at the other end, too.

So how do emails leak exactly?

Misaddressing. One of the most common ways that messages can go as…