7 steps to network yourself into business opportunity

Network our way through the recession?

There is a funny video about Linkedin going the rounds that I found from @jackiecameron1.

Unemployed people sign up to Linkedin in a desert of jobs. Everyone is networked, but to each other, to no one has a job.

What use is networking if there are no employers in the group?

Networking is not hitching a ride!

What is very apparent in the rather delightful (and accurate) spoof  is that no one is doing anything.  Everyone is trying to hitch ride on everyone else!

Who in that network is trying to make anything happen? Who is inviting other people to help, even for free?

Networking out of a desert of jobs

To take the metaphor of the desert further, if anyone got the group organized to look for water, they might find some!

Why doesn’t anyone start some useful activity?

The simple answer is that no one there trusts anyone else. If they did, they would invite them to do something!

How do we begin to organize that group?

Here are 7 steps for organizing a group who seem to be out of ideas, out of resources and who don’t know each other well.

A  Show Confidence in Your People

#1 Begin!

#2 Be active.

Do something! Sit down and make a sandcastle! See who helps.

B Help Your People Gain Confidence in Each Other

#3 Change the sandcastle so that people are helping each other.

Move your position so that you are handing sand to the person building. When another person joins in, move to the the end of the line.

#4 Move the line slowly in the direction that seems most promising.

At the same time, get people to sing so that they become more aware that they are a group.

Keep your attention on the sandcastle by-the-way!  People are only going to be bothered with the sand castle if you are!

C Work with People Who Trust the Group

#5 Position a reliable person at the end of the line while you start a new line.

Make sure the person at the end of a line knows to sing out if they see anything unusual on the horizon.

D Bring Information About Opportunities Into the Group

#6 When someone sees something unusual on the horizon, don’t create a stampede.

Move the whole bicycle wheel, by changing the direction that the sand moves. Move the sandcastle builder to the other end and reverse the direction of sand. In an orderly way, move the other spokes. Keep it playful!

E We Are All In This Together

#7 Continue and continue!

You might decide to abandon your group and go it alone.  Yes, it might be slow moving the group along and it might feel as if the group is slowing you up.  But aren’t your chances of finding water higher in an organized group looking out for each other?

It is easier to think straight when things are really bad

It sometimes feel that deserts are too much to cope with.  I am also going to tell you that deserts are better than abandoned farm land. You are lucky. Yes, you are!

Let’s imagine, you simply find yourself in a abandoned but essentially sound farm.  You don’t start building a useless sandcastle. You do something useful.  You start to plough the land and plant seeds.  The difficulty is that you have now fixed your group to that field.  You will be unable to move slowly across the horizon to a better place.  In modern parlance, your solution is not scalable!

That’s why I like the idea of deserts.  We are willing to abandon sandcastles and rebuild them elsewhere.

When you chose your seed project, build something, anything, where we can see results and where we can all help! Keep the projects short and sweet so that people can see results and move them as we spot other things on the horizon.

Experiments in extreme living

What I want you to do is to build something with the resources under your feet.  And invite someone else to join in.

When the person joins in, give them a prime spot and support them.  Invite another person.  Keep building.

That’s is the challenge. That is the task!

3 jawdropping facts about Linkedin members in UK

I’m a member of LinkedIn, the professional networking site. You probably are too. If you live in the UK, you are one of 1.8m members. Around 30m people in the UK are of working age. So about 6% of us are LinkedIn members.

So, is it worth belonging to LinkedIn? And if you are, who are you likely to meet there?

I painstakingly took some numbers off Google Adplanner and I have three surprises that will make you rethink Linkedin membership.

When you’ve whizzed through the headlines, narrative and graphs, tell me what you make of this picture.

#1 College graduates in UK do not dominate Linkedin

That’s a surprise isn’t it?

Check the graph. Linkedin in the UK is dominated by people in the range of “some post-school education but less than a degree”.

Education & Gender on Linkedin from UK (drawn in Chartle)
Education & Gender on Linkedin from UK (drawn in Chartle)

Should we be surprised?

About 25% of people in UK have a degree. 33% of male Linkedin members in the UK finished University. Slightly fewer than 30% of female members of Linkedin in UK have degrees or graduate degrees.

So the facts go in the right direction.  Graduates are more likely to join Linkedin than people with other levels of education, but, because three-quarters of the population have not been to university, even members who have no further education at all outnumber those with a first degree.

This is a salutary lesson for us all. Even on Linkedin, the real world dominates. And in the real world, most people do not go to University.

#2 People who earn 50K pounds a year (or more) dominate Linkedin

I will surprise you again.

In the next two graphs, we see that people whose household income exceeds 50K a year dominate LinkedIn.

Salaries of Men on Linkedin UK (drawn in Chartle)
Salaries of Men on Linkedin UK (drawn in Chartle)

OK, this is not so surprising in itself. After all, Linkedin is a high-end service. Google also reports household income. Average income in the UK is about 20K per person and if two people work, 50K is an average amount. So we shouldn’t be surprised to have Linkedin users from households who earn 50K a year.

(BTW, a 50K salary puts a person in the top 10% of the UK.)

But given that Linkedin is dominated by ordinary people – may be this figure is surprising?

When we look more closely at the graphs, we see that education makes it easier to earn household incomes of 50K+, but there are lots of people out there with ordinary education levels who also have household incomes of 50K+.

To spell this out:

  • If you are a male Linkedin member, with a graduate degree, you probably earn 50K+.
  • This is also true if you have a Bachelor’s degree – but about a third of ordinary degree-holders on Linkedin earn in the 30K to 50K range.
  • If you are in the dominant group, “the post-school but no degree” crowd, you are more likely to be in the 30K-50K range but, there are as many people in this group earning 50K+ as there are degree holders earning 50K+ ! There are also more of this group earning 50K than graduates earning 50K+ – largely, I suppose, because there are fewer people with graduate degrees in the market.  “The post-school but no degree” crowd rule, OK?  Fonzi, still rules!

Burn this on to your brain.  If you find someone with high household income on Linkedin, they could come from almost any education level.

We have two apparently conflicting facts.

  • Education helps us earn money!
  • But earning money telling us little about a person’s education!  There are just as many high earners from lesser education levels (at least on Linkedin).

The pattern for women on LinkedIn is similar. But, it is confused by the over-powering dominance of women in the “more than high school but no degree group”.  They rule even more than they do among men.

Salaries of Women on Linkedin UK (drawn in Chartle)
Salaries of Women on Linkedin UK (drawn in Chartle)

#3 The high earners in Linkedin are young and the younger members of Linkedin are high earners!

This is the really stunning surprise!

See at the next graph.

The 25-34 year old group have high incomes AND they outnumber older people with high household incomes!

Have a good look at that graph and burn it onto your memory –

Who are the big earners on Linkedin UK? (drawn with Chartle)
Who are the big earners on Linkedin UK? (drawn with Chartle)

Now to the interpretation.

It is not a surprise – though nor is it acceptable – that women earn less than men. We should also disentangle the more complicated picture at the the mid-age levels. But we all knew this already.

More importantly, where are the older high earners? Why don’t they join Linkedin? Are they that complacent, or are they outnumbered by young people in real world too?

I did check with the UK Government Statistics Office. And I spoke to a professional statistician. They don’t have numbers going from high salaries to age. They have a 1% sample of taxpayers and they present data from age to salaries in percentiles. Their reports suggest – as common sense suggests – that the workforce is dominated by people in the 40-49 range who also have higher salaries.

So what is happening here?

Because we haven’t any baseline data for the UK working population, we have to work with some sweeping generalizations – never a good idea.

It looks as if Linkedin is attracting younger people who are high earners.

Remember these things.

  • 29% of men on Linkedin in UK who have household salaries of 50K+ are aged 25-34
  • 35% of women on Linkedin in UK who have household salaries of 50K+ are aged 25-34
  • 57% of men on Linkedin in UK who have household salaries of 50K+ are aged 25-44
  • 68% of women on Linkedin in UK have household salaries of 50K+ are aged 25-44

Interpretations?

Possibly, because women tend to partner men who earn more than them? Worth exploring, I think.

So what eureka moments did I have in this time-consuming micro-analysis of Google AdPlanner?

  • The typical member of Linkedin in UK does not have a degree (700K out of 1,8M)
  • The typical household income bracket of UK Linkedin members is 50K+ pounds.  University education makes it more likely you will be in the high earning group but people who finished university are outnumbered by people who didn’t or didn’t go at all.
  • The high earning bracket is dominated by 25-35 year olds!

How will I use this in practice?

  • I am going to find out who are the young (25-34 and 35-44) women on LinkedIn with household incomes of 50k+.
  • I know that less than half will have a degree but I can fine-tune this information AND find out what they do.

What will you do with it?

Being attractive to large groups, crowds and communities

Eeee . . ., why do I have empty seats? Where are my students!!!

Much of my life, I’ve taught in Universities. As we all know well, our ability to lecture varies enormously. Some people pack the rooms, and students from other courses are sneaking in the back. Some people empty the rooms, and are never quite sure how they do it!

Most of us are somewhere in between. Delighted when we delight the students and a little curmudgeonly when students are missing because we would just love to know how the stars pack them in.

Oh . . . that’s where my students are!

I was privileged to work alongside someone with theater training, who taught marketing, and who had worked in broadcasting. This was great! She could hold a room AND explain how she did it.

She asked questions about her performance differently. Instead of seeing everything as function of what she did or didn’t do (and also entering a negative emotional spiral when an hour wasn’t too sparkling), she thought about what the class was doing.

She thought about people entering, and taking their seats. What were they feeling and what were they doing? How they changed as she entered? How they reacted when she flicked the microphone switch to green: go. How they listened to her first sentence. How what they felt changed? etc.

She understands classes well enough to choreograph their reactions.  Whatever she did was aimed at producing a wonderful collective experience.

Now I have found someone else who can explain charisma!

I am a member of Xing, which is the European equivalent of LinkedIn. It’s worth looking at because it runs on slightly different lines.

Erica Nelson posted this brilliant article in Xing’s group for Global Business Women group. It is about how to write an attractive blog.

It’s also sage advice for thinking about presentations, lectures, meetings, and for that matter, going to a party! Erica also writes here.

Thanks Erica!

OOPS!  Link seems to have broken.  I’ve written to Erica (2 November 2009)