Blogging about LinkedIn last time, one thing I neglected to mention was that LinkedIn allows you to “plug in” other applications like WordPress blogs, travel itineraries, Amazon.com reading lists, and Twitter feeds.
Those are pretty personal details. Unless your blog and your reading list are purely work-related, you might hesitate to plug them in to a professional profile. And who wants to tell the world when your family will be home alone while you travel to a conference?
Two LinkedIn applications, though, do deserve mention and merit for law enforcement use—especially those who regularly present to the public about crimes like identity theft and Internet safety. The SlideShare and Google Presentation applications allow you to embed your slide decks directly into your profile.
How sharing slide decks helps you
In the first place, posting your slide decks online helps your community. Not everyone can make it to your evening presentation at the local high school or senior center, and even if you can present more than once, that still doesn’t guarantee reaching everyone.
Making your presentation available online means that not only can absentees see it; anyone in the community can share it with family and friends, in or outside of the community. Think about the reach that has?
In the second place, sharing your slide decks helps your agency. Post them online, and the public affairs office doesn’t have to approve your in-public presentations, or field calls from people asking for help on “frequently asked questions.” Well, maybe they do… but your slide deck(s) make it easier for them to point to good information.
Same for when you hear from other cops who need presentations on your topic but don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Not only do you not have to email them the presentation; they can use it the same way you do: to inform citizens who can’t make it to their talks.
For one client, I didn’t just post slide decks to SlideShare; I then embedded them on the company’s main website. Depending on the deck, I could’ve embedded them in a blog entry, too. They’re a good way to provide visual content without having to deal with video, and embedding them in several places—website, blog, LinkedIn profile—means they are spread around the web, increasing the chances of their being seen.
This is important. If you know enough about your topic to present on it, then making it more available online means it’s easier for people who need your expertise to find you. I know, this makes a lot of cops (and their administrators) uncomfortable. But again, if you’re presenting in public, you’re already putting yourself out there, making those personal connections. Using the web amplifies your efforts.
A word about effective slide decks
Poorly presented slide decks can backfire, which is one reason why their use gets mixed reaction from professional speakers. Make sure yours get the message across without detracting from your live presentation, or being too vague and confusing when shared online. A contradiction? Actually, I recommend ThinkOutsidetheSlide.com and its companion blog. These ideas are expressed much more effectively there.
There is no good reason not to allow officers to put information out for public consumption of all kinds of topics. Slide deck uploads can help both the department and the individual officer, branding the officer’s professional career and “expert” status at the same time that it brands the agency—not only as a trustworthy source of information, but also as one that can be trusted to hire the right people.
What kinds of presentations can you start sharing today?
Image: Lachlan Hardy via Flickr