Use Question and Answer (Q&A) in LinkedIn

1 11 2010

Perhaps an overlooked feature of LinkedIn by many members is the Question and Answer feature.  You can access Q&A under the “More” Tab, and then click on “Answers” in the menu at the top of the LinkedIn page.

As I often spoken and written of LinkedIn as a networking site (and not a job search site), one of the best ways to connect with others is by helping others.  With the Q&A feature, you can share your knowledge and expertise with others, most often LinkedIn members with whom you have no relationship or connection.

When you answer questions, you display your knowledge and expertise.  You also get to read other members’ answers.  When the author of the question likes your answer, they may send you a message in response, and thank you for the input.  You can then begin a dialogue in LinkedIn, and at some point, ask the other person if they would like to connect, or they may ask you.

Others who answer the question may also like your answer, and interact with you as well.  And, the author has the opportunity to select the “Best Answer”, and if you receive “Best Answer”, it will be noted on your LinkedIn profile.  You can develop credibility and a reputation for providing “Best Answers” in one or more categories.

At the same time, you may like answers provided by others, and you can reach out to them as well.  All of this provides the opportunity to engage in a LinkedIn dialogue with others who share common interests and common knowledge and experience, all of which provides the means to connect with members who would otherwise remain strangers to you.

Start by browsing around the “Answers” area – there are Open Questions posed by others in your network.  You can also search in the “Advanced Answers Search” tab through a variety of categories and sub-categories.

You can also find questions under the “Answer Questions” tab and select Open Questions that are listed, or browse in a variety of categories.

You can also utilize LinkedIn to gain knowledge by asking questions using the “Ask a Question” tab.  I had a problem with my website which my web hosting company was unable to resolve. I posed the question in LinkedIn and received several helpful answers which ultimately solved the problem.  In another situation, I wanted to obtain some information about a personality assessment tool, so I found the appropriate category, posed the question, and received a number of helpful responses.  I have connected with a number of other LinkedIn members with whom I have exchanged Q&A.

An important note of caution: be selective with your Questions and your Answers.  Stay with areas of interest and expertise.  Do not spend so much time with Q&A that you neglect other important ways to network and connect with others.  Be careful voicing your opinions if they are controversial as you may insult or offend someone else.  Your communications in LinkedIn can be flagged, and LinkedIn can suspend or close your account if you cross appropriate boundaries.

Take advantage of this wonderful feature – share your knowledge and expertise, learn from others, and make new connections.

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