Tip o’ the Week #231 – Linking LinkedIn and Outlook, look!

LinkedIn has been going for over 11 years and has resurged in user base and usefulness after seemingly getting really popular initially, and then fading a bit (remember Friends Reunited, anyone? – somebody should come up with FiendsReunited.com, though there are many such strange things already on the internet).

LinkedIn has so many uses if you’re looking for details of someone you’re due to meet – maybe you’ll spot a common interest or people you both know, that can help build rapport during the first meeting. It’s even useful to get an idea of what the person looks like, with only a small proportion of idiots on LinkedIn putting pictures of their baby/dog/car/bike/etc as their profile picture. If only the same could be said of the internally-published Outlook Contact Card pictures…

ToW #192 covered LinkedIn a little but it’s worth revisiting the really slick integration to Outlook, as it’s not enabled by default and since most of the ToW readers will be on LinkedIn, it’s worth setting it up. Especially useful when you get LinkedIn requests from colleagues – maybe a sign that they’re soon-to-be-ex-colleagues, so it’s worth having their details easily to hand should you need to keep in touch with them in future.

When you have the Outlook Social Connector set up with LinkedIn (it’s built into Outlook 2013 so you don’t need to go and download anything – older versions can get it from http://linkedin.com/outlook), then Outlook will  download useful info for you when it recognises someone’s email address on the LI network. Here’s an example before it’s configured – click on the arrow to the right to expand the People Pane for more information. You may even get a notification at this point that LinkedIn is enabled but you need your password to continue.

 Assuming it isn’t enabled yet, the next step is to go into the View tab, look under People Pane and check Account Settings. Tick the LinkedIn box if it’s not already configured, provide your credentials and bingo.

Once you’ve enabled the connector and assuming it’s going to allow download of photos and other info, then Outlook will create a new Contacts group in the People section (CTRL-3, remember?) and it’ll cache elements of your network’s contacts therein.

Without even restarting Outlook, you’ll see the same emails as before will have more details about external recipients – clip_image008just hover over the person’s mugshot and you’ll see their details, and click on the down arrow within the contact summary to view their other information – such as phone number, if they’ve published that in LinkedIn and are allowing their network to see it.

LinkedIn may be the best business social network / recruiting shop window site out there, but don’t hold out much hope for LinkedIn: The Movie.

Tip o’ the Week #228 – Lync Q&A

clip_image001Presumably, we’ve all been on a Lync conference call where there may be a presentation going on and in parallel to the voice conversation, there’s a rampant side-channel of IM traffic which the presenter has no chance of keeping up with or maybe even seeing. One or two company car drivers may have experienced this, recently… Still, it’s not like the old MCI conference call days, at least… (Everyone’s been on one of those calls…)

There are a few simple ways to make the experience for both presenter and attendees better, however. Step one: please don’t present a PowerPoint by sharing your screen (since you won’t be seeing the Lync window so you can’t tell what people are writing about you) – this was covered back in ToW #111, but in summary, it’s a whole lot better (on network performance, on usability for attendees, on UX for the presenter) if you upload the presentation and deliver it within the Lync meeting. More here.

clip_image004If you have your PowerPoint file in email, try dragging it onto your Desktop clip_image003(temporarily), then click on the PowerPoint option under the Manage Presentable Content option within the Lync meeting. Should the file already be somewhere else on your PC, you could navigate to it within Explorer and

right-click on the file whilst holding down the SHIFT key, and select “Copy as path” to copy the full file path and name to the clipboard. When you then click the PowerPoint option, just paste the name in and it will immediately upload your file.

It does need a little planning in advance, as it takes some time to upload and process the file (depending on the size & complexity of the presentation). Presenters can upload multiple PPTs to the same meeting, and then switch between them at will – so if you have 2 or 3 people presenting, they could each be uploading their files in the background – being careful to not accidentally start presenting in the middle of someone else’s spot.

Q&A and Polls

clip_image005If you’re running a Lync meeting with lots of attendees, then it might make sense to switch off the “meeting IM” noise channel, and instead use a managed Q&A system to collect input from attendees and provide answers that can later be exported and sent around. Start the process by going back into the Manage Presentable Content section and kick off a Q&A (assuming you are a clip_image007presenter) – if you’re in the middle of presenting some other content, this will surface as a tab on the “stage” to the right of the Lync window. Both attendees and presenters can switch between these tabs at will.


Q&A sessions allow people to ask questions and any of the “presenters” in the meeting can supply answers that clip_image010don’t interrupt the meeting; attendees can see each other’s questions (and filter out the noise of others to show only their own, important, queries) and presenters can also start & stop the whole Q&A process, resuming meeting IM as appropriate, and can also save a transcript of all the Q&A to distribute later.

clip_image012Polls also feature in much the same way – similar to Yammer or older LiveMeeting polls,  you can clip_image014ask a question and get people to vote on the responses provided – with attendees seeing the Poll show up in the “Presentation” tab, while presenters can manage more options about whether people can see each other’s responses etc.

If the presenter is following best practice and using PowerPoint presentations within the Lync client, then s/he will be able to switch at will between PPTs and Polls, smoothly and professionally. clip_image016Just go back into the same menu option as before, and you’ll be able to switch between multiple PPTs or Polls in the “Presentable Content” section.

If you’re going to host a Lync meeting with more than a handful of people, it’s worth having a practice with these features. Don’t show up looking like a rank amateur.