In February, LinkedIn announced that their publishing platform—formerly just for invited influencers—would be opened up for all members: The Definitive Professional Publishing Platform. By now, most (if not all) LinkedIn members should see the tell-tale pencil icon in the update box on the LinkedIn homepage, which means you can publish just like Richard Branson and other big-name influencers. Why bother? Two simple reasons. One is enhancing your professional profile on LinkedIn, but that isn’t as powerful as the second reason. The other reason you should write and publish on LinkedIn is that writing forces you to understand the topics you think you know even better than before.
Publishing for a better professional profile
LinkedIn is the online professional resume of the 21st century. LinkedIn is the place to do it if you want to know what someone has done, what their skills are, and who they have worked with. From the earlier post—5 Easy Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile—you know how important it is to have a solid LinkedIn profile and how to make it shine (and if you don’t know where you stand, LinkedIn’s handy Profile strength meter on the sidebar of your profile will tell you). Publishing through LinkedIn’s publisher tool allows you to reach a broad audience, further enhancing your profile with examples of your expertise for the world to see.
As valuable as the extra boost to your profile is—and over time, I believe LinkedIn might rival general blogging tools as a place to publish professional work—that isn’t the only benefit. In fact, I’d say the greatest benefit of writing out short (I recommend about 500 words) posts is that writing succinct summaries of ideas helps you bring those ideas into clear focus.
Writing for understanding
One of the “tricks” to explaining technical things to an audience is to “explain it like you would to a ten-year-old.” Simplifying the ideas so a ten-year-old can grasp them makes it easy for anyone to grasp the concept. Here’s the catch—most of us don’t think in those terms. We belabour our ideas, strategies, and tactics with terms, concepts, and assumptions, making it harder to understand the ideas ourselves.
But not when you write it out and explain it succinctly.
Forcing yourself to distill an idea, a concept, or a plan into its most important point brings everything into laser-focused clarity. What’s the point of this post? Do you already have it in your head? Publish to increase your professional profile and publish to understand topics better. That’s it. Do you think that single sentence just popped into my head immediately? No. It took starting with a draft, a kernel of an idea, and hashing it out in my head. Then, thrashing it out on screen. Then, bashing it out on the keyboard.
The process of writing forces ideas into clarity. And once you understand your ideas better, you can explain them to others better, and then… And then, you can make those ideas, plans, and dreams into reality.
But first, you need to write it out.