A CEO Advised Me to Spend Less Time on Content and Focus on Having Children: 5 Tips to Keep it Professional on LinkedIn!
Very rarely has a message hit my inbox that has elicited a full-fledged coffee snort. Nothing gets me into sass mode faster than wasted caffeine.
It wasn't because the message was vulgar or aggressive (been there, seen that). In fact, it was posed as a congratulatory note from a CEO of an American energy company.
It started off promising, talking about he had read my post and congratulated me on being a "free spirit" and getting my dream job. I sensed that the message was going sour when he mentioned,
"Goodness at your age working for a software application company does not seem like the dream job...but who am I to judge..."
He continued on to then focus the discussion on my looks, advised to focus on creating a family before it's too late, and ended on this eloquent note:
"If you are married and have children...then don't keep them waiting while you are blogging to the world."
Unfortunately, this message is not an anomaly. Women deal with comments like this on LinkedIn on a regular basis. I have tried to encourage female colleagues to give the platform another chance after they've abandoned it because of unprofessional comments.
I believe in this channel so much that instead of focusing on the aforementioned message, I've put together a list of 5 tips that will help you to avoid being my next blog post subject. Kidding...kind of :) Enjoy!
1. "Views expressed are my own" is nonsense.
You represent your company, whether you are the CEO or an intern. This is especially true when your job title and/or place of work is in your name.
When you make inappropriate comments under a photo, those views, whether you like it or not, are a reflection of your place of work. If you are connected to clients on LinkedIn, your comments will be on the top of their newsfeed. Are you comfortable with that? Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer of UnMarketing have argued that if you're not willing to post a billboard with your name and face beside the comment that you're making online, then don't make the comment at all.
Protect your personal brand and have respect for your workplace, the only person that is significantly affected by your negative comment is you.
2. I love getting flirty messages in my inbox...said no woman on LinkedIn ever.
Imagine being at an important meeting, and just in the middle of some crucial company news, the person next to you turns to you and asks what your astrology sign is.
It seems a little absurd, right? LinkedIn is an incredible resource when used properly. You can follow your favourite influencers, learn from other people in your industry, and keep up to date with important news and updates within your network. Stop interrupting those that want to better themselves.
Spend your time learning and growing, it'll go a lot further than complimenting a person's new headshot.
3. If you're a click away from self-destruction, step away from the keyboard.
I have had messages sent to me that could do serious damage on the sender's reputation if publicized. Cherish your career. Don't send private messages that you wouldn't say publicly, and especially not to complete strangers! Not only is it unprofessional, it's a bad business move.
4. Mum's the word.
Don't give family advice, don't get political, and keep the conversation "networking friendly". If you wouldn't say it in an office, or to a client, do not say it online. Going digital may feel private, but the truth is, your words are louder than they've ever been before. Choose them wisely. Steer clear of controversial topics that could land you in hot water.
5. Be grateful for your wonderful, amazing connections.
Never before have we had this incredible opportunity to share and learn from the people that we admire the most. Take advantage of the opportunity at hand, and treat your connections like gold. Before pressing send, ask yourself how the person on the other end will feel when they read your message.
If the answer is anything other than awesome, hit the backspace and try again.
As for the CEO that gave me the "advice" that inspired this post? I hope that this "blog to the world" serves as a reminder to focus on your own personal growth, because this sassy, multi-tasking marketer is doing just fine.