LinkedIn, Career Management, Personal Branding, Social Media Strategies for your career, LinkedIn Groups, Engage,

School is out, and the kids are home for the summer. That means they get to stay up later and sleep in. One of the things my kids enjoy is watching movies as a family, and the other day, my son chose Rush Hour.

When Detective Carter first meets Inspector Lee, without bothering to listen to him, Detective Carter starts shouting “Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?” Detective Carter was very quick to assume that Inspector Lee couldn’t understand English.

We are often quick to assume and jump in with our opinions before we take the time to listen or read, and understand where someone is coming from. I have found the same thing often happens in LinkedIn group discussions. It reminds me of talk shows on the radio.

LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool that can do much to spread your reputation. There are many great resources on how to use LinkedIn, and the benefits of embracing it, including the recent post by Mark Lynch. However you have to be careful to really engage, and not use it as a platform to just spout out your opinions. Unfortunately, what I often find is someone who sees a title, an opinion jumps into their head, and they quickly spout it out, without bothering to read what the article was really about, or what others were saying.

One example that comes to mind is Eric Olavson’s blog on 6 reasons why one should not hire a resume writer. While most of the comments were thoughtful and really contributed to the discussion of what Eric had started, in some of the LinkedIn group postings of the blog, a few people decided to just blast their opinion and they clearly had not taken the time to read the article, or the other comments. You do not have to agree with the author, but at least read what they have to say, and engage in a thoughtful manner.

Participating in LinkedIn group discussions is a great way to spread your reputation, however if you just jump in and spout off, are you spreading the reputation you need for your career? Take some time and read the posts. Reflect on what the message is, and how it may apply to you, how you have experienced it, or how it may change your perspective.

What blogs have you read that impacted you or changed your prospective?

Thanks Ed Yourdon for the photo via Flickr