LinkedIn vs Outlook

During a workshop one of the attendees, Patrick, was really skeptical about LinkedIn. It was clear that he was not going to use LinkedIn. He sat there with his arms crossed and listened. After 5 minutes or so he interrupted the presentation and asked a question.

“This is all great”, he says, “but I still don’t see why I should use LinkedIn. I use Outlook, all my mail comes in there and all my contacts are in there. So why should I start using LinkedIn when I am already using Outlook?”

It was clear that Patrick was not ready to use LinkedIn. So I had to bring it down one notch and talk about the Why? Why do you want to use LinkedIn?
In this case I want to make clear what the advantages are over an email program with a database of contacts, Outlook.

In the video I talk about 3 advantages of LinkedIn compared to Outlook:

  1. In Outlook, or any other program with contacts on your computer, you are the person whom is changing and entering the details of your contacts. When a contact changes address or phone number you will have to make those changes in the software. In LinkedIn the owner of the profile will change their details. So any changes are being maintained by the owner not you.
  2. In Outlook you can not see what the connections are between your contacts. You will have to find out about the connections in conversations and enter those manually in Outlook. LinkedIn is a great software. All your details and that of your contacts is data. LinkedIn is able to find connections. The software will reveal connections between people that you are connected to and even to people that you are not connected to. LinkedIn can show you your connections, their connections and even their connections. So up to the 3rd grade. Suddenly you get access to a huge database of people that could help you.
  3. The workshop was about getting clients via LinkedIn. So the last point is about attracting clients. You use Outlook to receive email from your contacts and send email to these contacts. In LinkedIn you can profile yourself in a way that when contacts of your contact land on your profile see what you offer and may contact you. If you are clear about who your target audiance is and what you do for this group you will attract clients.
  4. After the workshop I had a longer talk with Patrick and he is a happy signage supplier. He has some great customers all over Europe and is not really looking for new business at the moment. He did have an issue with finding trainees whom really wanted to learn his trade.

    Patrick teaches about his trade in school and sees that there only a few young people interested in really want to learn about all aspects of signage. He wants the best of the best to come and learn from him.

    So I showed him that these young people are also some sort of a client that you could attract. Then he really saw the light and wanted to learn more about using LinkedIn to attract the best and most interested trainees. At this point I suggested that Facebook would probably be the best tool to use for his needs.

    Do you use Outlook or LinkedIn or Facebook for your contact database?

By Erno Hannink

Sparring and accountability partner for entrepreneurs who create sustainable positive impact. Explores decision-making. Shares his insights on this in, articles, books (Dutch), podcast, newsletters, and tools. Has a life mission to reduce social and ecological inequality. Father of two children, husband of M., runs, referee for the national soccer league, and uses stoicism for calm. Lives in the Netherlands. Speaks Dutch, English, and German.


  1. I pretty much agree with your view. However what I miss on LinkedIn (or I just don’t know how to find it) is people sharing their contact details. If you export your contacts from LinkedIn and import them in your Addressbook or E-mail application, you only have a name and an email address. No address, no telephone.

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