Welcome to today’s episode of LinkedIn with Louise. My special guest is Michelle Kaplan, the Corporate Poet. One of the reasons I brought her on because I think the way Michelle uses LinkedIn is really interesting. And she stands out and she definitely stands out in my newsfeed!
Michelle works with ambitious and achievement oriented leaders, aspiring and established entrepreneurs and executives who are actively seeking more fulfilment in their careers and home life and transformation for their teams, organisation and family. Michelle is a published author, I have her books beside me here, and she has been recognised as in Amazon’s top hot new releases for inspirational poetry.
Right Michelle, that is enough of the blurb let’s get you on. Welcome to the podcast.
Thank you so much, Louise, it’s so great to be here.
Michelle, what is a corporate poet?
A corporate poet is really a blend of leadership coaching, and professional development training.
I’m also an author and a poet.
I was working with a client one day. I use my poetry as a vehicle and a tool for self discovery, you know, within my coaching, my training classes, and client one day said, Wow, like, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a corporate poet before. And I really love that. I really can’t take credit for creating the name. And I really hope that they’ll eventually be more corporate poets. But it’s really the blending of all my 30 years of HR experience, coaching and being an author and writer.
Okay, so my first question on that is, did you use to do poetry for fun when you were working? Or did the poetry come kind of later?
Hmm, that’s a good question. The poetry really came from me for self discovery. for clarification. My life was like pretty separate. For many years, I I’ve worked in, you know, corporate, America, pretty much the eight to six day – 8am to 6pm. Kind of day, yeah, on a regular basis.
I would wake up really early in the morning, which I still do around like four o’clock in the morning. I got up early. And it really kind of grounded me whether, you know, some people might call it like a form of meditation. But for me, it was just a way to get clear about what I’m doing. I’m very goal oriented, as well as kind of creative. I really wanted to get clear if something was bothering me. I wrote, really, it was like my personal journal. And then I would go to work. And I’m a single mom, you know, at nights, I was busy.I kind of had to kind of create that time. But I found that when I didn’t write that I really kind of got lost in my head, like the week just kind of was not flowing. And so it’s kind of like breathing to me, too, right. So that’s what I was doing for many years. And then just recently, you know, really wanted to integrate who I am throughout the day and not have it so segmented.
I know thought. And so I’m thinking about, we all have things that we do to kind of get out of the jumble of our heads. I started my running. Where I get up early. There’s definitely something about going first thing in the morning, where I get up and I go and I come back it’s very much it sets me up for the day
Yeah, no, I totally hear you. It’s kind of like, you know, whether you make the time early in the morning or you know, later. But to have that time, I mean, you know, for busy achievement oriented people, you know, the day is really for so many others. So to really carve out even an hour for yourself, whatever that looks like, yes. Oh, wonderful.
It’s wonderful. And so Michelle, you came to me, because you wanted to learn about LinkedIn.
After working in corporate for so long, and it’s a completely different tack for LinkedIn, isn’t it then as a entrepreneur as it is to working in corporate, so talk to me about how you used to view LinkedIn when you were working in your corporate job.
In September, I left corporate on a full time basis. You know, after doing that, you know, it was just kind of something intuitively, I just kind of wanted to really branch out on my own and do my own consulting with coaching and training.
I focus on psychological safety in the workplace and emotional intelligence and change management and incorporate I, you know, honestly, when I was in my full time corporate role, I did not go on LinkedIn daily, I would probably say went on about once a week. I used it from a networking perspective. And I really just saw it as like, you know, you put your resume out there, you have your credentials. And sometimes people would reach out, but mostly, I was getting a lot of, you know, different sales type solicitation.
When I left corporate, and I realised that the folks that I want to work with that, you know, I want to attract are on LinkedIn. But I didn’t know much about it. I mean, I really just knew that you just post your credentials in your experience. So I was kind of like, how do I, what are all the tools? There’s so much and I just didn’t know how to effectively use it. So that’s why when I met you. I had heard you speak, I was just thinking, I need to figure out LinkedIn a little bit more and understand it, and they’re right. When you’re ready. The teacher shows up
All right, talk to me about what is that you do? And how? Well I want to talk about how you use LinkedIn.
I mention that I know a corporate poet who shares poems on LinkedIn. And honestly, Michelle, every time I mentioned that people go, oh who’s she, I want to connect with her. Because it’s so different. And so interesting. So talk to us about what do you do what you share on LinkedIn? What do you post on LinkedIn?
I’m a writer, and that is my business, for years I’ve been posting, I write daily, on Facebook, and on Instagram. And I’ve been posting for years on that on those two platforms.
My business is my writing is my books. Once I left, corporate full time I started posting. I’d say it’s about six months now, where I’ve been posting on a pretty regular basis. I just use that as another place where I post my daily thoughts, you know, so I’m really just posting my journal up there on LinkedIn. That’s definitely part of it. And then I also just did my first live virtual workshop with your help.
Yes, that was something you and I kind of created together wasn’t it? There’s so many features on LinkedIn, that people are not using, and they’re not even really aware of. And I think one of the great features is the LinkedIn events.
Exactly. I mean, we started working together and that when you mentioned that, like something kind of clicked for me when you spoke that Louise because a lot of times, you know, some people like to read poetry, but also a lot, a lot of people like to hear it. And also, you know, your first question, which I get a lot, which is what is a corporate poet, when you actually see it in action when you attend a live event? Or even if you’re watching the replay, right, you know, they’re all recorded. It’s not so different, it’s not so far off. I mean it’s using poetry as a vehicle for self discovery, you know, through somebody else’s story, you get a greater sense of your own. And that’s really the intention of you know how I use the poetry within my work. I wanted people to see it. So you helped me with that.
And we set up an event. You did a link to when people signed up to create a new event? People then signed up to attend the event. I’m really interested in the lead generation forms that LinkedIn have created now for events on company pages
For example, if someone’s thinks, well, like we do webinars, once a month, we should be using events. You create the event, and you give it a title, and you have your cover image and everything. And then you have a link for people to access the event, like the webinar or whatever. And then you can click a button that says, Do you gather registration, and it pulls in the person’s LinkedIn details, including their email. So at the end of the event, you have a list of the people who attend who said they were attending, and their email addresses, which means you can then send out, you know, your slides or your workbook, whatever, inside there.
I think it’s a great tool, and I’m very proud of you for using it.
The next one that I’m planning on, for April 16, which will be much more of like a poetry experience for, you know, working parents. And, through my poetry, kind of want to express it and give some food for thought for kind of what’s next.
It’s also great for leaders, you know, to foster empathy for a very important group of their work population there.
I’ll be reaching out I mean, it’s, I feel like with LinkedIn, or most with many platforms, but it’s specifically with LinkedIn is very important to me that, you know, you still need that ongoing support, you know, because I do want to try out different things like you could only do so much at one time, right? You’re taking in all these different things that you’re learning. And now I just want one expand upon it. Now that I’ve gotten the basics. Yeah, you want to, you know, really leverage and maximise what’s there.
Let’s go back to your poems. They’re short generally, aren’t they?
Yes, you know, weekends I write longer, I have a little bit more time. So, I have something I call that Sunday musings, which are longer poems. But it’s for me, it’s like whatever comes out. I don’t necessarily have something set, sometimes it comes out, like I just wrote something this morning that I’ll probably post at some point when I feel up to it. But it was just one sentence. And it felt like complete, right? In other times, I’ll just write, but I don’t write all day. I mean, a lot of my poems I write within about 10 minutes, it just kind of flows out.
I love that. Well, as a, as a busy person. I like that they’re short.
Sometimes I get to see on a Sunday who’s reading and what’s really great also is that I get a lot of private messages on LinkedIn.
It’s all in the inbox. It’s all in the inbox. And you know, it’s like, it’s so funny, because I know, for social media, you’re supposed to have like, all these followers and connections and all these likes, and, and I know that I guess I’m supposed to want that. And that’s great. I appreciate it. But honestly, what gets me like, really motivated and inspires me, is that one simple message, like I posted something two days ago, and it was about sharing your voice, and I got, like, just like three private messages. And from two people I didn’t even know. And just sharing what it meant to them. Right? Because that’s the beauty of poetry is that, you know, it’s universal themes. We just have different details of our stories. And, you know, I don’t even remember how many likes, it was a couple a handful. You know, I don’t even look at things like that. I guess I should. But those three messages meant more to me then, than everything else.
That’s the beauty of working with you is it’s not just like what you know, but how you show up, and, you know, really just very approachable, it’s just easy to understand. It’s like, Oh, I didn’t even realise this. And then it just feels very doable. Right. Which isn’t that the whole point?
Yes, absolutely. In the workshop that I did this morning, one of the people in the workshop, he’s worked with a lot of different people from digital marketing agencies . And he said to me, you know, Louise, this is very refreshing, because it’s not about going out there and connecting with as many people as possible. It’s really about building up a network, and for three people to be impacted so much by what you’ve posted, that they send you a private message. I just think that is brilliant. You know,
I wrote a poem a couple of years ago, my daughter is now 14, but when she was 12, you know, she was starting middle school and sixth grade, and she joined the cross country team, so for running, and I was like, okay, like, let’s try it. I don’t know how we’ll do. So, she had her first meet. And I think for that age, like you run, like one and a half miles. And it’s not like a 5k type of thing. You have a shorter time.
I remember rushing out of work, right. I work a half hour away. I’m rushing out of work early to go to her first track meet. Yeah. And I get there. And I see her, you know, that the race is starting, and I see it going around. And then I see it’s over. The race is done. And, you know, the kids are greeting their parents, and they’re getting in their cars and like heading out.
Yeah. And I’m looking around, like, Where’s my kid? And then I see her, like, off in the distance like she is the second to last. She finished it. But she was like, when I greeted her at the finish line, like you would have thought she won, right? I was doing it the whole night. And she just couldn’t get it. She didn’t understand how I could be so excited, right? Because she like came in second to last. And this is the poem that I wrote for her and I wanted to share because, again, that the How is as important as the what.
It’s called Cross Country.
Are you proud of me, she whispered.
I thought this was put to rest a few hours ago.
But she still had her doubts.
She couldn’t understand how I could be applauding her when she came in second to last.
Because she doesn’t yet recognise that the How is as important as the what.
And for those who don’t remember?
Well, winning could come at a big price.
So sweet child, with hard work and perseverance.
You finished what you started, while remaining a team player.
Even when things look bleak.
Are you proud of me?
A child’s never ending question at any age.
And though you didn’t win that race, this time, you won the greatest race of all – the human one.
I love that. Michelle. I love it. And I love hearing you read it. Isn’t that so funny?
Yes. The name of my company is “burst and flourish”. Michelle Kaplan poet.
I’m so grateful for you Louise and really just helping me navigate you know, through something new that, you know, once you once you kind of take your hand and walk me through it, it really isn’t very intimidating at all.
All right, folks, we’ve got to wrap it up, sadly, and people are asking when’s the next one? And Michelle is actually going to join me live on LinkedIn. We have to get you to do to do a reading of some poems. Alright, Michelle, thank you so much for coming on today.
Thank you so much, Louise.
You can connect with Michelle here:
Michelle also has a free resource to share with you:
Intuition Quiz on How to Use Intuition in Your Decision Making