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Last week my group on Linked In, Trainer Talk, hit an important milestone with the approval of the 1000th member. I’ve been amazed and obviously delighted with the numbers of trainers who are joining up every day. I’m a big advocate of using forums and groups as they are such an easy way of building relationships with people through discussions and offers of help and support. I find that there a lot of trainers on forums who are amazingly generous with their time and expertise. But one of the biggest benefits of using groups is that they offer you an opportunity to build your profile and get known for what you do. And all of this is totally free!

So, how do you get the best out of Forums and Groups?

1. Participate regularly and join discussions. I’m always amazed at the number of people who join Groups and then never bother to participate. Allow yourself time each day to check into your Group, see what’s going on, read and then reply. If you don’t join in no-one will know you are there!

2. Look out for discussions and topics on your specialist area. Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise so that other people can see that you know what you are talking about! Participating in this kind of debate also helps in building up an awareness of what it is that you do.

3. Start discussions of your own and post questions on subjects that you genuinely need to know about. Not only is this good for raising your profile, the answers you get will be really useful to you. And when you start a discussion and get answers from other people in the Group, they are the people that you can then start to follow up and build a relationship with, as they are the kind of people you would like to have in your own trainer network.

4. Post news articles and blog links onto the Group pages So if you have just posted a blog and you feel it is something that will be of genuine interest to the Group members you can post the link. On the Linked In Groups there is a news section where you can do this and you can also set up a feed from your blog.

5. Don’t join too many Groups It’s better to join just one Group and participate consistently rather than being a member of ten and being invisible. Choose your Groups wisely. Think about what you want to gain from membership and the types of people you want to connect with and choose a Group that fulfils this purpose.

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Won't be long!

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