Sunday, August 07, 2005

180. Art of Diplomacy

Most people (including me) have not been trained in the art of diplomacy. This being said, a good book to read is probably The Art of Worldly Wisdom, by Baltasar Gracian. I just love that book. The author writes in such mysterious prose that you never know exactly what he means, but you get the message nevertheless. And every time you read it, it's a different message! It's fantastically weird...

To use LinkedIn well requires diplomatic skills, such as how to initiate and sustain goodwill and friendly relations. The word "diplomatic" here is not too strong, because it is no longer about merely managing one's "social" relations. Diplomatic relations are different from social relations, in that there are political aspects involved, and any LinkedIn power user immediately understands the political nature of all social and professional relations.

Yet diplomatic relations share with social relations certain common aspects, such as being considerate about others and trying to help whenever possible.

It is important to keep in mind that diplomacy is of utmost importance, more important than the mere "information management" aspects of LinkedIn (e.g. number of connections, endorsements, etc.).

Indeed, since LinkedIn is an information technology, there is the risk that users will jump on the bandwagon and start using it like as if it were a huge database that must be populated as fast as possible with connections.

I admit that it does look impressive to see that a person has over 1,000 connections.

But that doesn't mean much if you're not getting exactly what you want out of LinkedIn.

Pursuing one's goals and achieving them requires strategic foresight and execution abilities.

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool, and I'm a big fan, but it's still just a tool to serve a goal.