I just got off the phone with a client that I invited to be part of my network on LinkedIn and he had two questions. "What is LinkedIn?" and "What's in it for you Brendan?" as in why would I want to be connected with him. The explanation went something like this.
Me: LinkedIn is a networking tool most commonly used by working professionals that lets them connect with one another. It allows a person who is looking for you to see who you know and whether or not you know some of the same people. It also allows people who are connected with you to recommend your work via testimonials. Finally, it gives you a structured one page bio that lets you present your professional and educational background along with interests and accomplishments.
Client: So it's like MySpace for grown-ups?
Me: Yes, but without the dateline investigations
Client: OK, so what's in it for you?
Me: Well, I am taking a risk by being associated with you, but hopefully not everyone knows as much about you as I do. What I'm hoping though, is that when a potential client finds my profile, they'll see and recognize people I'm connected with and see that I can be trusted before they even talk to me.
Client: Oh... well that's a good idea, I think I'll give it a shot too. Thanks B-man.