15. Use Power Words
Using certain ‘power’ words can take your writing, and thus your results, to the next level. The use of just a few words that elicit emotional reactions within your readers can take your LinkedIn profile from bland information to powerful sales pitch.
Since we’re trying to avoid using unnecessary descriptors, it helps if we can choose the rights words in the first place.
For example, why say ‘very good’ when you could say excellent, or fantastic, or superb? Why be ‘extremely knowledgeable’ when you could be an expert, or an authority?
There are some words that are inherently easier to visualise than others – Find them, and use them. They’ll make your profile stronger.
To get you started, here’s an excellent post by Jon Morrow that provides plenty of power words for your perusal.
And there’s one word in particular that’s stronger than any other. Any ideas?
Any time you can directly involve the reader by using you, do so – it’s far easier to visualise something if it’s about you.
Compare these sentences:
James was playing tennis
Imagine that you’re playing tennis
The first sentence is OK. But who’s James? Do we care about him?
Maybe. Maybe not.
But the second sentence, now that’s better. You’ve probably played tennis at some point. If you
have, you’re probably remembering it right now.
How did it go?
Were you great? Were you terrible? Did you have fun?
See how easy that is to visualise?
Allowing your readers to project themselves onto your writing is one of the strongest tools at your disposal. Your writing can help them to imagine all the ways you can make their lives easier.
Use it wisely, and use it often.
16. The Fifth Rule of Fight Club… One Tense at a Time Fellas
The use (or more often misuse) of tenses is one of the quickest ways to confuse and irritate your audience. Have you ever read a document, report or CV where you constantly had to reread sentences in order to understand the author’s meaning? They probably committed this terrible crime, and if you want to avoid doing the same you’ll need to follow a few simple rules.
I’m going to keep this short.
Pick a perspective and a tense for each section of your LinkedIn Profile, and stick to it. This is greatly aided by the planning process – if you know what you’re going to say and you’ve arranged it into a sensible order, it’s much easier to be consistent.
There are times when it’s OK to change. For example, if you want to temporarily switch tense for the purposes of an example or anecdote, that’s fine. Whatever you do, though, make sure that your reader is aware of what’s going on… Don’t simply leap into past tense without explaining yourself.
If you change tense, say so immediately. Don’t get all the way through a sentence or paragraph before qualifying where or when it took place – it messes with peoples’ ability to visualise what’s going on. Worse, in fact, it forces them to go back and alter the visualisation they’ve already had.
Most importantly, it’s annoying to your readers, and that’s reason enough not to do it.