A huge benefit to networking is that you can ask questions of experts. Even in our Internet-enabled era, asking questions of real people reduces the time it takes to learn things.
From a pure networking point of view, you can also direct questions at specific connections.
And since you’ve acquired expertise that other people may value, you can “pay it forward” by answering other people’s questions. A side benefit to answering questions is that you demonstrate expertise that people might want to pay you to employ.
LinkedIn Answers is the place to both ask your questions and answer those of others. And if you’re researching a specific topic, you can search LinkedIn Answers for both information and experts.
If enough of your answers are rated highly by the people who ask them, you may earn status as an expert on the topic in LinkedIn.
Before you ask a question, research it
Looking for answers already given can save you the time it would take to get answers to your question. Fortunately, LinkedIn provides a handy question and answer search tool.
- Go to http://www.linkedin.com/answers.
- In the lower menu bar, click Advanced Answers Search.
- Enter the criteria asked for on this page.
You can also find LinkedIn answers by typing your question in a search engine and including the word “LinkedIn.”
Ask a question
Go to http://www.linkedin.com/answers and ask a question about a business-related challenge you currently face. LinkedIn will lead you through a few screens, one of which will enable you to direct your question at specific connections.
Note: Write questions or answers, not veiled opinions or sales pitches. Today’s sophisticated web users will see right through less-than-sincere uses of LinkedIn answers and such “questions” don’t reflect well on the people who “ask” them.
Answer a question
Search LinkedIn Answers for questions related to skills you listed in your profile.
Once you find a question you want to answer, provide a succinct answer.
Remember that LinkedIn Answers also show up in search engine results, so your potential audience is far wider than LinkedIn’s vast membership.