The OG of legal blogging, Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog, tells us today that LinkedIn just added better search capability and that’s good news for negotiators.

I know that LinkedIn is for business because I only go there when I have business energy left in my busy entrepreneurial day. When I’m relaxing, I scroll Facebook and Twitter to see what my friends and nearest colleagues are up to.

I’ve got 600 some Facebook friends, which makes Facebook my time-waster of choice because I can actually keep up. I’ve got 10,000+ “followers” on Twitter and I suppose that’s good for my marketing efforts but, really, who can keep track.

Here’s what O’Keefe has to say about LinkedIn’s new search engine ability.

5.7 billion professionally oriented searches were done on LinkedIn last year. Every day we see millions of professionals find others and get found through LinkedIn search. Whether you’re searching for people, jobs, companies or groups, [LinkedIn] provide[s] the most relevant results based on your professional identity, your network, and how the people in your network engage with LinkedIn (emphasis added).

via LinkedIn search upgrade : Big win for lawyers networking on LinkedIn.

Negotiation Prep on LinkedIn

Lax and Sebenius, the smartest guys in any negotiation room anytime, anywhere (3-D Negotiation a must-read) divide the bargaining task into three phases – set up, sequencing, and table tactics. All three of these phases require research and your negotiation research just got a lot smarter with LinkedIn.

Set-Up is all about finding the right bargaining partners at the right time with the right interests. Before any negotiation, use LinkedIn to search the “stakeholders” on the other side of the bargaining table.

You think you’re dealing with Mega-Billion-Corporation but really you’re dealing with individuals with their own individual agendas operating in a corporate culture with differing interests to be served. Often, the stakeholder with the green- or red-light authority is not at the bargaining table. He or she is often operating covertly to influence the people at the table.

You should first google the life out of Mega-Billion-Corporation to learn its contemporary interests – how well did it perform last year? is it contracting or expanding? what are its greatest challenges in its market? how’s that market doing? is it facing bet-the-company litigation? has it had a shake-up at the top? is it rolling in profits? is it threatened by any pending legislation that might affect its business prospects?

Then go on over to LinkedIn and search for the members of its management team.

You might find that you haven’t got the right people at the table and it’s much better to suss that out early. As a mediator who’s helped hundreds of lawyers and their business clients settle litigation, I can tell you that you don’t want to hear, “I don’t have the authority to do that” at the bargaining table …

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by Victoria Pynchon

Victoria Pynchon is an attorney-mediator and arbitrator. She is also a principal in the She Negotiates Consulting and Training firm for which her blog “She Negotiates” is named. In addition to writing for the legal blog “On the Docket,” Pynchon also authored the book “A is for A**hole, the Grownups' ABCs of Conflict Resolution.