When I was 15 - Daydream Fantasies

Grandfather de Groot and Michael de Groot in Surinam 1974

Grandfather de Groot and Michael de Groot in Surinam 1974

Thank you, thank you ladies and gentlemen! That was Mike at the drums, with his own interpretation of ‘Dreams’! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Michael will you join us? We were discussing the preposition.

Back to reality and the stuffy classroom with my classmates grinning at me, while the flush of being elsewhere with my thoughts, slowly spread over my face and added to the general hilarity!

Once upon a time there was a young man who had learned to play the piano, a little, then discovered the rhythm of the beat and the joy of rolling drums. That was going to be his instrument and he worked at getting the rhythm , the rolls, the crescendo and the final crash to a perfection that finally got him the much coveted position as lead drummer in his favourite group’s orchestra. He travelled the country till he was proclaimed the star of the show, only to be banged down to reality with a preposition.

Reality! A long hard road to achieve the impossible or was it just possible that one day the tables would be turned and I would be up there taking a bow to the deafening applause, thinking I was dreaming again and that I would be brought back to the classroom where my classmates were clapping their hands to draw attention to the teacher and the work on hand!

There I go again, it is so hard to concentrate and stop this habit of using the hum of the teacher’s voice to lead me to those wonderful places away from the dull drab life that I lead. How can I learn to be interested in the uses and abuses of the English language when there is so much more excitement in the sound that I can bring forth with just a flick of the wrist on those beautiful skins? I must stop, I must stop. My passport to reality is proficiency in English which will eventually lead to making my fantasy worlds of the past, the living world of today! Dreams do come true, especially if they have been day dreams!

From early childhood, we are encouraged to concentrate and every lesson in a school classroom is directed at the student in such a way that it makes it impossible not to do so. But not all of us are blessed with those very gifted powers of being able to keep our minds on the subject that is being taught, especially if it is of no particular interest to us or the teacher is unable to hold the interest of his or her students. It is so easy to let the world of fantasy surround you with those tempting delights, which are far more exciting than the reality of the classroom, that the younger student, the less disciplined the mind and the easier the flight from reality.

The business of growing up consists of filling the mind with knowledge that will enable one to meet the demands of the adult world where what you know is more important than what you are. There is no time or need in your waking hours to dream of flying like a bird, you can fly! Or being famous, you can become famous and world renown, all you have to do is hi-jack a plane or train or kidnap a child or a businessman and you are famous! Write a book? Easy, just collect all your wildest fantasies together and fill them with enough obscene words and you can top the best-seller book list.

Day dreams are fast becoming a luxury that only the very young can participate in, or those who have suffered from the pressures of modern life and have to go to a group therapy session so that they can be encouraged to let their mind wander and enjoy once again the fantasies that have been crowded out by the reality of our world today.

Has climate any affect on national character? When I was asked this question, the first picture that came to my mind was that of happy laughing people in sunny Spain. So that I would say that as far as my experience is concerned, I do think that the climate affects the people of a country and also the character. Astrologers turn to the stars to find good and bad omens in our lives with the help of the position of the moon and the sun and we Europeans living in the northern hemisphere are certainly influenced by the changing position of the sun. When spring arrives in Europe, we look forward to the longer hours of daylight and are walking with our heads up and a smile on our faces, because we know that soon it will be time to enjoy more of the sun.

Bright sunshine, light and warmth, the ingredients for growth and happiness. Dull days, cold and darkness, the characteristic recipe for sitting together trying to discover the meaning of life. Although we in Europe have the opportunity of having the time, in winter, to think and talk of all aspects of life, we envy our neighbours in the sunny countries who have the sun all the time, because we know that the fact that the sun is shining gives them more freedom, they live a carefree life.

So my answer to the question of whether the climate affects the national character, would be yes most definitely.

From a piece of work that I submitted to my course in Amsterdam, learning how to write business English, in preparation for us to move to the United Kingdom. My mother (Marion) assisted me greatly with writing this article at the time. My dream when I was 15 was to become a drummer in a band. I did learn to play the drums and did indeed become a drummer in a small unknown, very short-lived new wave/punk band in London. We even recorded a very poor demo on my father's reel to reel tape player. I still have the recording and it pleases me from time to time to listen to my own mastery on the drums.

Michael de Groot

Employee! Do you see any value in being on LinkedIn?

I’m curious, if you are an employee, i.e. not a business owner, do you see any value in being on LinkedIn beyond it being just your CV (Resumé)? Have fun by looking up that word (Resumé), because the internet has no idea how to spell that and neither do I!

Since I’ve been training professionals in how to get the most from LinkedIn, I’ve noticed overwhelmingly that the largest disbelievers are those that are employed and not business owners. Business owners are totally different, they understand and appreciate the power of a professional network like LinkedIn, the need to grow it and leverage that network.

The only time an employee feels they need to improve their LinkedIn profile, grow their network and be more active on LinkedIn is when they are out of a job or they are looking to move careers.

Employees are not the only ones, employers don’t get it either. If they did understand LinkedIn’s potential power they would include LinkedIn as one of their employees’ roles and objectives. They make the mistake of believing too that LinkedIn is a CV (Resume) platform. I don’t blame them though, LinkedIn still makes over 60% of their revenue from talent solutions, the hidden recruitment engine only available to those that pay handsomely for the privilege.

Anyway, employers and it’s employees need to take LinkedIn seriously for two massively big and simple reasons.

Brand consistency and Customer loyalty.

When potential customers search out company employees your brand would benefit hugely from well crafted employee profiles, great personal and business stories and brand consistency. 

LinkedIn Company Icon (when no company page)

LinkedIn Company Icon (when no company page)

Some companies still don’t have a company page and those that do, its employees don’t know how to connect their job experience section to those company pages. Probably THE most basic of requirements on an employee LinkedIn profile. If you just see the grey building image on your profile, then you haven’t connected to your organisation’s company page, if there is one.

Job experience with logo pulled in from company page.

Job experience with logo pulled in from company page.

It’s a simple error to fix, the organisation has to create a company page and the employee needs to edit their profile to locate the company page and pull the logo into their job experience section.



Finally then, we’ve all come across the saying;

‘What gets measured, gets done’. Discussing your employee’s LinkedIn profile as part of their objectives will be a great way to ensure that everyone in the organisation improves their profile for the benefit of themselves, as well as the company’s brand. 

If the employee just spends 20-minutes per day developing their profile and being active on LinkedIn, it will make a massive difference to the organisation's brand reputation and overall recognition. 

In a previous article I suggested ways in which anyone can be active on LinkedIn in just 20-minutes per day. Take the 20-minute per day challenge now!

Employee! Help your employer and get your LinkedIn profile looking great.

Employer! Help your employees by adding LinkedIn to their roles and responsibilities and have it as part of their key quarterly objectives.

Wishing you massive success.


Is your Intention purely Self-congratulatory or is it Selfless?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

When browsing the internet, my apple news app and the social media networks, the content speaks volumes.

The content largely is self-congratulatory, especially on Facebook. There is very little value in the content that gets posted whether by the news media, your friends, colleagues and the hundreds of strangers that you are connected to. 

Everyone is trying to distract us from our attention in the moment and engage with their story, bring us into their world view and opinions. Mostly it's #fakenews and sucks us in to express a like, heart, laugh, cry, wow or mad, and if we can be bothered, write a comment. 


Whether you believe the research or not, they say it takes you 25 minutes to return to the original task after only an 11 minute interruption. That is an absolute age, have you ever tried to sit still for 25 minutes? It's impossible and lasts a very very long time. 

So why do we do this to ourselves?

Don't get me wrong, I like social media, I really do, well maybe I did and I am starting to wonder how much time I have actually wasted on social channels, whereas I could have been creating some fabulous stuff and change my life for the better?

Realising that social isn't going away soon I have started to re-assess my activity there. I used to post 3 times per day via my favourite scheduling app, Buffer, but now I only post once per day. I paid for the 'awesome plan' so that I could have all my channels there and post to all of them and now I just have the free plan with only a few channels to post to. I continually had to search for new and interesting content from other channels, I even have a feedly account to locate all that content. The stress of having to keep finding content was crazy at times, when I saw my buffer of content emptying, I panicked and had to spend a few hours to find more stuff to load it up. I am feeling like a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders by not having to do that any longer.

But did it actually work and did I get a return on my investment. I never truly know whether it did or not and my hunch is that it probably didn't. My engagement is no better or worse as a result of reducing my content sharing. 

So what about the way forward? Pretty much as the image says really.

  1. Be impartial.
  2. Inform next steps and offer guidance.
  3. Answer questions.
  4. Solve problems.
  5. Listen, respond and be helpful.
  6. Make people smile, laugh and sometimes give them pause.
  7. Design engagement and customer journeys across screens, platforms and networks so they are seamless.
  8. Create experiences that are delightful, memorable and shareable.

How about you, what have you noticed?


Are you guilty of using the ‘sheep dip’ approach?


 I am sorry to say, I'm guilty!

It's not that I'm not wishing to be super personal and to engage with one person at a time and appeal to their specific goals and aspirations.

The truth is there are just not enough hours in the day to engage with every new connection request and every new follower at a level that I would ideally like. So some automation is inevitable. I'm still experimenting too and have already adjustedsome things.

I'm not using autobots as such, but I am manually adding new connections to my CRM and an automated process and messaging them with the same template message. And no, I don't feel great about it, but it's working at the moment.

My goal is to be engaging and strike up a conversation, share some valuable content and information that is free and at the same time being careful not to pitch anything. Its totally not my intention to do any kind of pitching. Eventually I'd like to have a conversation, which I call a discovery call. And that again is to provide some value, not to pitch.

I have carefully designed this process after weeks of testing it and receiving some deeper level of engagement with new connections, especially on LinkedIn. Anywhere else it's much harder to do. Email is still one of our default go to apps each morning. I know it's Facebook for most too.

I state very clearly in my auto emails that my purpose is to engage at a deeper level and invite recipients to unsubscribe if they wish to and indeed some do, but not as many as I had originally expected. Maybe one every 2-3 weeks.

I do receive a fair bit of engagement from these new connections and I also notice a lot don't. I'm surprised because they asked to connect with me in the majority of cases, at least 95% of them are incoming requests. Usually with no reason given for wishing to connect by the way.

The real engagement occurs when after a few touch points, which are a combination of engaging with their profiles and sharing some content and information, you manage to get agreement for a discovery call. When you are able to engage in a conversation with your connections, more clarity about who they are and what their goals are means that you can start to look out for clues and understand better how they'd like you to engage with them in the future. Over the years I've come to realise that this is by far the best method.

The goal always is to end up having a conversation. I believe by phone and usually Skype with video is best. I'd like to try other methods too, like Facebook messenger with video, although having tried it twice, it's still a bit unstable.

If you'd like to skip all the automation and go straight to a discovery call then by all means go for it and head over here,

in the meantime let me know how you're feeling about my automation and by all means share your ideas and strategies that are working for you? 

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and@gapingvoidhere: (

Occasionally I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.


#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me ( I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

LinkedIn Business Growth Bootcamp 27 - 31 March 2017

I will be covering 'search' on LinkedIn and Sales Navigator

I will be covering 'search' on LinkedIn and Sales Navigator

I am delighted to be taking part in a 5-day long bootcamp with 24 other LinkedIn Coaches, Experts and Trainers from across the globe.  We have all been interviewed by Adèle McLay who hosts all the experts to reveal their top tips, insights and techniques for mastering LinkedIn.

This event is FREE for the whole week.  Plan in some time to watch as many of the Bootcamp as you can as I know you will get some amazing value from it.

I will be covering the topic of search inside LinkedIn and Sales Navigator, a massively valuable tool to exploit if you know how.

Make sure you sign-up to learn as much as you can for FREE to get your LinkedIn process up and running for getting exposure to more leads and business opportunities.

Sign-up via:

Here's my Mind Map of all the areas that I will be covering.

@stayingaliveuk - LinkedIn and Sales Navigator search topics

@stayingaliveuk - LinkedIn and Sales Navigator search topics

Here is a link to a twitter list featuring all the coaches, experts and trainers.

Promotional poster detailing all the profile photos of all the LinkedIn coaches, experts and trainers.

Promotional poster detailing all the profile photos of all the LinkedIn coaches, experts and trainers.

The New LinkedIn vs the Old LinkedIn

LinkedIn, is about the change.  I thought it would be good to show you the upcoming differences.   If you are using the LinkedIn mobile app, you will be pleased to learn that it's very close in user interface to the app.  At long last!

Have you been on a 'CONTENT' diet yet?

If you haven't already, I am sure you have contemplated it.  The name has a nice ring to it as well 'Digital Detox'.  There are now millions of self-proclaimed addicts to digital content. Soon to be billions.  And there are plenty of us that are in denial as well.

I want to make sure you have some facts to begin with.

Brandwatch shared some mind-blowing stats in March 2016. Here are just a few.

And you can find even more stats here:

In years to come, all those content spewing platforms will be asking us our preferences.  Once they know our preferences they will only serve up those bits of content we have asked for. No more no less.  Unfortunately this means that we have to make a decision.  What do we really need to see on a daily basis?  Not what we want to see but what we need to see.  

There is a big difference, because as an addict we have many wants and we have to slowly wean ourselves off a lot of the content that we are already addicted to.  

The trouble with all of us, we are constantly in FOMO, 'fear of missing out'.  That's why we are addicted.  If you want to learn why, read my article, 'Do Social Networks Sell Drugs'.

By watching the video below you will also learn what the Internet is doing to our brains. 

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here:

Each week I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, insight and meaning of the words and illustrations.


Have you ever compared Facebook groups vs LinkedIn groups? [Infographic]

When LinkedIn changed their groups at the end of 2015, there was outrage by the group managers and moderators. LinkedIn had gone one step too far in trying to make groups more accessible to more people. Result?  A lot of groups folded, moved to Facebook.

I'm noticing each day that Facebook are doing many things right, so I decided to examine the major functionalities and compare them on each platform.

I thought I would create an infographic.  Superman (Facebook) vs Batman (LinkedIn).

Points are awarded merely based on the amount of functionality options that exist on each platform. 

There is no doubt that Facebook has a significant advantage over LinkedIn in many areas and it makes it a far better and more enjoyable experience for the user and the manager.

Every business needs to have a Facebook group and indeed there are 620 million Facebook groups already in existence, compared to the very small 2 million on LinkedIn.

I hope you enjoy the infographic.  I would love to hear your comments and opinion on groups?


data about the no of Facebook groups dates back to 2010

Attention is a Currency

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here:

Each week I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, insight and meaning of the words and illustrations.

Let's do the first one, which is actually the cover and a very important one.

The sentence I'd like to examine a bit closer is;

“Why now is the time to invest in digital experiences that matter.” 

Well, my consideration here is about ensuring that we start examining our digital time spent by ensuring that we only receive information and data we actually need.

And for marketers, which I can include myself in, we should be ensuring that we know our target audience (avatars) and share with them relevant information and data that will expand their knowledge, plus improve and speed up their decision making process.

Hence the ’matter’.

Now it's your turn. I'd love to hear your views and opinion about that sentence.

To assist you further you may wish to download a couple of eBooks via:

Or share all your comments via Twitter @stayingaliveuk

Image credits: @gapingvoid and @linkedin

What are your KPI’s for Microsoft & LinkedIn's marriage?

Now that we’re all over the shock of this surprise partnership and have looked at the justification both Satya Nadella and Jeff Weiner have so beautifully crafted in their slide deck (see below), we can start developing our own KPI’s to hold both Satya and Jeff to account and ensure they deliver to their promises.

So often do we hear heads of large corporates promise the world to us as consumers of their product, leaving us disappointed and disillusioned in the process when they don't deliver their promises.  So let's hold them to account.

Both companies have something we can not live without these days, but they aren’t really held to account by us are they?   The stock market holds them to account and here lies the problem.  Public companies exist to satisfy their shareholders. Forget about the hype and wonderful stories they spin about customers and employees. They are just fiction. Shareholders count, period.

Right,  so I have started my own list of KPI’s and I would love to hear yours too, please feel free to add yours in the comment field below.

  1. LinkedIn UI: The LinkedIn user interface and menu navigation is in desperate need of updating. It has to emulate the mobile experience much closer. I’ve seen some design evidence inside the slide deck, so it can’t be that far away.  Timeframe: By end of July 2016
  2. Regular SkypeEvery LinkedIn member will be able to add Skype on their profile (a space already exists) and it will integrate all your contacts who have Skype inside the Skype address book*, allowing you to instant message or video call one to one or group call right inside LinkedIn.  Timeframe: August 2016
  3. Skype for business: I have used Skype for business and it’s completely different compared to the regular Skype you may have sitting on your desktop. This feature has been long overdue inside LinkedIn and I highlighted this in a post last year. This needs to be made available to all LinkedIn premium members as soon as possible.  Timeframe: By end of September 2016
  4. Inviting and accepting invites: This might have nothing to do with Microsoft, but I am hoping when their engineers start examining workflows, they might uncover a workflow that is completely broken. This whole process needs to be overhauled, including creating a clear dedicated section inside LinkedIn for your network (similar to mobile) and a forced situation whereby you have to write a personalised invitation every single time. Timeframe: October 2016
  5. Microsoft Dynamics CRM: CRM has been a major issue for LinkedIn. There are parts that can work like CRM, but the dots are not joined up, so it remained as a bit of a maybe-run CRM. A CRM needs data and LinkedIn can provide that. All LinkedIn premium members need to be given a Dynamics CRM account as part of their package, integrated probably with Sales Navigator.  Timeframe: November 2016
  6. Yammer: LinkedIn attempted to create some sort of messaging system, but have failed miserably. Yammer was the first corporate social network, which unfortunately got bought by Microsoft and is available to enterprise clients now, never to be seen in the public domain again.  In order to compete with Slack, there is the perfect opportunity to integrate Yammer inside LinkedIn for all paying and non-paying members.  Timeframe: December 2016

These are my 6 KPI’s for the next 6 months or maybe you can call them wishes for the Microsoft & LinkedIn marriage.

Now share yours below.  Keep in touch via: @stayingaliveuk or email me or chat via +44 (0)7866 471596

* I have been testing Skype by the way and found that Microsoft Account allows you to import your LinkedIn contacts or so I thought. See below screenshot of the error message I got! Tried about 8 times, without success.

Here is a video of the full announcement of Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn, including a short interview with Satya and Jeff followed by the investors call on Monday 13th June, 2016.



Are you still receiving TOO MANY LinkedIn Emails?


On July 27, 2015, LinkedIn announced that they were reducing the amount of emails they would be sending to members. 

As a consequence they also stopped the daily email, which summarised Job Changes, Birthdays and Career Anniversaries. And in the months following all emails that are sent by LinkedIn have gone through a steady change in layout and branding. I have to say for the better. However I am still receiving lots of them each day and each week. How about you?

let’s have a closer look at this.

Below is a list of all the emails that LinkedIn currently sends to us (well, most of them that I received):

  1. Invitation to connect, standard template invitation.
  2. Invitation to connect, personalised invitation.
  3. [Person's name], has accepted your invitation.
  4. Invitation awaiting your response.
  5. Email message notification.
  6. Messages you've missed.
  7. Unread messages.
  8. Open profile messages.
  9. [Person's name], mentions you.
  10. What's new with your posts. Providing you are publishing on Pulse.
  11. New endorsements waiting. These are endorsements extra to the ones you have already listed. (Note: Only click through if you wish to add them to your skills list).
  12. Connections have endorsed you. These are against your existing skills list.
  13. Your connections have been mentioned in the news.
  14. Updates from Pulse. These would be based on your channel preferences, including posts by your connections.
  15. Groups trending discussions. Based on how many groups you belong to, you could be receiving several each day/week, unless you have switched off the email digest setting for that group.
  16. Congratulations on your new job.
  17. Someone has commented on your photo.
  18. Group comments in response to your discussion post.
  19. Latest leads (Sales Navigator only).
  20. Your account updates (Sales Navigator only)

Did I miss any?  Yes I probably did. Do please let me know if you have some that I didn't mention and send me a screenshot. Thank you!

how you can reduce the amount of emails you're getting from LinkedIn.

This advice is only valid if you've got the LinkedIn app. Nowadays we interact most of our time on mobile inside our social networks and I highly recommend that you spend more time on the LinkedIn app and that way you can stay up to date without being bombarded by emails.

Please watch the video to fully appreciate the changes you need to make in your settings inside LinkedIn. You can make these changes either on the desktop or inside the LinkedIn app.

Here is the full list of push notification on mobile LinkedIn app (iOS iPhone and iPad). You will see that this will provide you with more that enough information on mobile, instead of receiving all those individual emails. Click on the image to enlarge it further, but better still just go on your app and view it me>settings>communications>push notifications.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out via @stayingaliveuk

Did you know you could sync your Calendar with LinkedIn's App? (iOS Tutorial)

IMG_1735 2.jpg

Prepare, review and follow up on all your meetings using the LinkedIn app, even though you might not even be connected yet.

The LinkedIn app, released in the Autumn of 2015, has received a fairly significant update that has gone almost unnoticed.

If you have appointments in your calendar with either 1st or 2nd level connections and you have their email address in your Calendar, LinkedIn will locate them for you and serve up reminder cards in your 'My Network' tab. Note: The email must be a match on their LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn members often add their personal email as their primary not their business one. If you are in that camp you may wish to amend that.

Here are some text instructions for enabling the feature, which is very simple indeed. Below that there are some screen shots to accompany each action.  I have also recorded a video to walk you through it step by step.

  1. Tap the Me tab in the navigation bar of the app.
  2. Tap the Settings icon.
  3. Tap Sync Calendar.
  4. Tap Sync your calendar to confirm. 
  5. To remove calendar sources, follow the above steps and switch the sync calendar toggle to the left.
  6. There are also some real live examples of actual appointments from my calendar (or diary in the UK!), 'prep for your meeting tomorrow', 'prep for today's meeting' and 'you met with [connection's name and yesterday's date]. The last one prompts you to send a follow up email as well.

If you have any questions or queries reach out and I will be happy to answer them.

Twitter: @stayingaliveuk


Is LinkedIn on your Job Description?

You own your LinkedIn page, it is not owned by your employer,  even though you might use it whilst at work. 

However your employer must encourage you to use your LinkedIn every single day.


Because you are helping your employer to get noticed. And if you are helping your employer to get noticed, they may benefit from social exposure and word of mouth recommendation, which in turn means more sales and job security for you and your colleagues.

Most LinkedIn profiles are left to gather dust, showing poor profile photos, badly written headlines and summaries and a sparse experience section. As well as an incongruent list of skills and insignificant educational achievements. 

That’s why employers MUST add LinkedIn to your job description and train you to create a great profile and to use it each and every single day.

My mantra is ’LinkedIn 20-minutes per day’. Even before you open your email.

But what do you do there every single day? Well here are 7 things you can be doing in your 20-minutes per day.

  1. Grow your connections. The more connections you have the easier it will be to connect with potential buyers of your employer’s products and services. Connecting to colleagues is a must, so is past fellow students, teachers, professors and yes even family, including your Mum (Mom) and Dad.
  2. Send personal invitations, not the standard ‘LinkedIn’ boiler plate invitation. It really sucks when you do that. You are basically saying, I don’t really care about you, but I want to connect with you.
  3. Send personalised thank you emails for those who have taken the time to click the accept button. It’s just polite to do so.
  4. Share an update, which could be an interesting article you’ve read on Pulse (LinkedIn’s news channel) or a simple status update about your efforts at your employer. Be mindful and careful about posting unauthorised company news though.
  5. Read your home newsfeed and like, comment or share interesting posts by your connections.
  6. Make sure you join industry and client groups on LinkedIn. Be actively discussing, commenting and liking. Avoid posting your company blog or news, boring!
  7. Write recommendations for your colleagues, suppliers and clients. Also endorse their listed skills.

A lot of people commute to work by train. You can do these 20-minute activities on your mobile. LinkedIn’s mobile app has been getting better and is still improving and soon most of us will be more active on the LinkedIn app compared to the desktop.

And remember you don’t have to do all these activities every single day. You can just do a few each day, the important thing is consistency and making sure you form a habit. After all you have a habit of reading your emails each day and often first thing each day, maybe even before you get out of bed. You might as well make it a LinkedIn habit each and every day. 

Just 20-minutes per day!

And in case you are totally maxed out during the day, I am sure you have 20-minutes in the evening, when the kids have gone to bed and you are watching mindless TV.

So here’s the 20-day challenge for you. 

Let’s see if you can spend just 20-minutes per day on your LinkedIn for the next 20-days, so that you can start to form a habit.

And whilst you’re at it, share this article with your colleagues and the HR department. Let’s get them all thinking about this and consider including LinkedIn on everyone’s job description.

As an interim step you can ask your boss to add it to your objectives for the next 6 months, so you can both evaluate your performance for this. You know what they say; ’What gets measured, gets done’.

Let’s see which employers have the courage to add LinkedIn to job descriptions. And I’m not just talking about Sales and Marketing Professionals, I mean every single person in the company including the cleaner.

Wishing you massive success with your 20-day challenge and do let me know how you’ve got on.


Do you have questions about Social Selling and LinkedIn? - *Updated Weekly*

Top left: Brynne, Top right: Michael, Bottom left Ted, Bottom right Bob

Top left: Brynne, Top right: Michael, Bottom left Ted, Bottom right Bob

We (Michael de Groot, Bob Woods, Brynne Tillman and Ted Prodromou) hold a weekly Blab on the subject of Social Selling and LinkedIn. You can join us and get your questions answered. To join the Blab you will need a Twitter account.

Just visit to subscribe to the next upcoming episode.

Takes place weekly at 8am PST, 11am EST, 4pm BST (3pm GMT), 5pm CET

In the meantime you can always catch the previous episodes below as a YouTube video replay or a Mixcloud audio podcast.

For more in-depth discussion and free information;

  1. Follow our showcase page on LinkedIn:
  2. Join and contribute on our Slack Community Channel:
  3. Ask to join our Social Selling Discussion Forum.

Social Selling Wednesday Replay Playlist on YouTube

Social Selling Wednesday Replay Podcast on MixCloud

Does LinkedIn Help confuse you?

They say Robots are the future, but maybe they have already arrived at LinkedIn?

They say Robots are the future, but maybe they have already arrived at LinkedIn?

Well, I can confirm most definitely, I am totally and utterly confused with LinkedIn's Help. For years now I have received responses to my queries where the support team at LinkedIn, haven’t really got a clue what I am talking about.

Maybe it is me and the way I ask my questions is not clear enough?

I don’t know about you, but I find that all I seem to receive is a bunch of ‘template’ responses to try and close my ticket as soon as possible. In fact LinkedIn Help already closes the ticket, when they deem that my question has been answered satisfactorily by them. Most times I have to reopen the ticket to send a follow up response or question.

This brings me nicely on to my latest example, ‘The Reminder’.

This feature was introduced when LinkedIn had a major upgrade, released maybe a couple of years ago.

It allows any member to schedule a reminder on a connection’s profile. The reminder can be set for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or recurring. A strange way of setting reminders by the way, normally you would specify a specific date. Anyway that’s the way it was set and is still the way it exists.

The 'Reminder' feature appears under the 'Relationship' tab, just under the Profile Header.

The 'Reminder' feature appears under the 'Relationship' tab, just under the Profile Header.

When this new feature was introduced, LinkedIn then also started to email us all a daily digest of our connection’s major activity, like a job change, a work anniversary and their birthday. If by any chance you had set a reminder, this would also arrive in the same email. Thereby listing all your reminders and you could take action on those. A great way to be reminded about your reminders don't you think?

In the past 12 months LinkedIn have changed their policy on the volume of email, because of some public criticism they had received.

I agree there was just far too much. However this has meant that they have done away with the 'Daily Digest' email, but you are still able to see your connection’s major activity under the ‘connections’ section and engage with your connection’s activity by sending them an email message, like or comment on their activity. You get daily new notifications on your mobile app too, although you can only message your connections to congratulate them, like and commenting at time of writing is not available on mobile. I won't bore you with the ’Connected app’ that was retired recently, which was created specifically for this purpose. 

Anyway, it now means that ‘The Reminder’ notification via email is missing in action. You no longer receive an email, because the ‘Daily Digest’ has been retired and it also doesn’t receive a flag, which would have been the most sensible thing to do, but it does appear under your ‘connections’ section (desktop), although you may have to keep expanding by clicking the ‘see more people to contact’ tab underneath the 9 cards that will show up.

Anyway I did know about the failure of this, but decided when I saw a forum thread on the subject to investigate further and ask LinkedIn Help the question about reminders.

Below is a screenshot of the thread of my email conversation exchange with them. In conclusion the reminder feature is no longer very useful, unless you are disciplined enough to view your connections page on a daily basis, just to check for reminders. 🙄

You’ll see from the email thread that support completely gets the wrong meaning of my question to begin with. Why? Answer: ’Template responses’. 

1.  The ’Reminder’ feature will probably be retired very soon. 
2.  LinkedIn Help agents are robots 🤖?

Wishing you success with LinkedIn's features. Just remember that one day those features may be rendered useless or retired, you just never know. Whether you are a paying premium member or not, it doesn't matter.

@stayingaliveuk 😎👍

Did you know LinkedIn has been removing features for years?

If you have been an active LinkedIn user for a number of years you might remember that LinkedIn removes features on a regular basis from their platform. At least one per year I would say.

Who remembers ‘Events’, ‘Polls’, ‘Reading Lists’ and many more retired features? And then there are features that just stop working without any warning, like 'Reminders', but that's another story altogether.

Share your favourite ones!

The reason sited always is that features are removed because they are not being used as much by members and therefore are retired to the internet abyss.

Below is an image of an email confirming their latest such action.

This particular feature, saving a profile to your contacts, which is being retired at the end of February 2016 is a handy little shortcut when you are searching for individuals that you wish to connect to.

You can (for now) save them to your contacts by clicking the star underneath the profile header or you can click the dropdown on search results and save them that way.  Especially handy when you have saved a favourite search for Lead Generation. See the images below on how this is allowed to be done currently. But not for long.

Maybe I’m a little suspicious.

I am a premium member and recently my premium account got a fantastic free upgrade. ‘Sales Navigator’.  A brilliant and very useful tool for Lead Generation and Social Selling. Really I mean it, it’s great and very useful. So now I don’t actually need to save anyone that I find on search to my contacts, I just add them to Sales Navigator and I am able to do much more with those profiles in Sales Navigator compared to the regular LinkedIn.

But there are lots of folks that are not on premium and have no intention of upgrading, but still would like to do some interesting stuff,  like saving and tagging people on LinkedIn without having Sales Navigator. 

Could this action by LinkedIn just be a ploy to promote Sales Navigator to us all?

I know, I know, actually not many of you realised you could do this anyway. I agree it isn’t very obvious at all and no-one actually advises you that you can do this, apart from LinkedIn Trainers.  And this is the reason, I guess, why LinkedIn are retiring it.

So my question to many of you is, ‘if you had known about this feature would you have used it or not?’

Be honest because this is like my straw poll to see what responses I get and maybe just maybe we can ask LinkedIn to reverse their decision. Now to help me,  please share this with your own network on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

Answer just 2 questions below.

I really appreciate your help with this.



Image credit: @gapingvoid

In Social Selling, Building Trust Starts before You Connect

Learn how thorough research and honest communication can build trust with buyers, with these social selling tips from Staying Alive UK’s Michael de Groot.


This blogpost was first published by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on the 13th August 2015 and is part of a blogpost series to promote the eBook '33 Social Selling Success Tips', which was curated and published by Michael de Groot (that's me!) in 2014 and re-purposed by LinkedIn.

The first person who said “patience is a virtue” probably wasn’t in sales. For salespeople, patience can be costly. Waiting to respond to a trigger event or failing to follow up to a prospect’s question can cost the sale. There’s an understandable desire for hustle, whether you’re a sales leader or a sales manager.

But we must be careful that a lack of patience doesn’t make us take shortcuts that lose potential buyers. One part of the sales process you should never rush is the research phase before you reach out to a prospect for the first time. Thorough research arms you with the information you need to make a connection request that builds trust.

People buy from people they know, like, and trust. Before they get to know you and come to like you, buyers will be evaluating whether they can trust you. Here are two steps you can take to build trust before you connect.

1.  Research

Do your research first on the individual and the company. Follow the company on LinkedIn and research any articles where your potential buyer could be mentioned or featured. Check industry news sites for mentions and of course LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator could do the heavy lifting for you in terms by finding relevant company news.

There are two very useful ways that you can keep track of your buyers without making it obvious to them. In Twitter, you can create a private list and add Twitter handles to your buyer list. You will be able to see what buyers are tweeting about to give you an insight to their interests and industry specific articles or opinions. In LinkedIn, you can save someone to your contacts without making a connection request. When you save them, add a tag that will let you filter your contacts for each account. This allows you to do more research on them and find commonalities in their profile, their tweets, or their shares.


2.  Be Direct

Once you have done your research and built a relevant, compelling case for making contact, then you can send a connection request.

For the best chance of a response, show your trustworthiness by being upfront about why you’re asking to connect. Let the prospect know what led you to reach out to them, and what you would like them to do next.

With a LinkedIn connection request, you will know 100% for sure whether or not your request is accepted. Your prospect will receive reminders from your invitation at least 3 times to either accept your connection request or click ignore. I would leave the request open for 3 weeks to see if they accept. If not, remove them from your connections database as a lost potential and focus your energy elsewhere.

In the fast-paced sales environment, it’s important to remind ourselves to slow down when we need to. Take the time to build trust with a prospect before you connect, and that time investment may pay off in a better sales relationship.

For more actionable social selling insights from experts in the profession, download 33 Social Selling Tips by Social Selling Thought Leaders.

Editor’s Note: In this series, we feature quick and tactical social selling tips from thought leaders in the profession. This installment features trust-building advice from social selling tips Michael de Groot, Social Selling Director for Staying Alive (UK) Ltd who collaborated with other social selling trainers and originally produced the social selling tips eBook.

Why Did You Endorse Me?

By far the most frequent asked question I get from my LinkedIn students is around the Skills and Expertise section.

The question usually is around why connections endorse them for skills that they haven't actually experienced, i.e. someone endorses you for one of your skills but you have never demonstrated to them that you have that skill. 

So why are they endorsing you? There are 2 reasons for this.

  1. Because they can.
  2. LinkedIn prompts them to do so, regularly.

Let me explain further. The skills section is something LinkedIn developed out of something that was called ’specialities’, which sat at the end of your summary. When they upgraded this to the Skills and Expertise section it morphed into a brand new and clever system to develop LinkedIn’s objectives to a) get more traffic to their website and b) assist advertisers to target their adverts more accurately towards members who will be interested in those ads.

Every social media website is competing for views. When there’s more traffic to a website, it becomes a more attractive proposition for advertisers. LinkedIn’s advertising real estate is actually very small. See the images below. You can see that there are just 3 areas on their website for adverts.

  1. A sentence right at the very top of the page with a hyperlink.
  2. A banner ad usually a full colour image, which sometimes is animated.
  3. Small ads that appear bottom right, depending on what page you are browsing.

The advertiser has a number of different criteria they can choose from when constructing their advert. And as you are probably guessing by now, skills is one of those criteria, which they can select and is extremely powerful to narrow down your target audience. In the example below it took my target audience from 347 million, the full approximate membership number on LinkedIn down to just 12k, a select audience in Birmingham UK with some specific skills on their profile.

Pretty powerful stuff for the advertiser, which makes it very attractive to advertise on LinkedIn and of course at a lower cost too, because you're targeting a smaller audience. 

Then we have the ecosystem that LinkedIn has created whenever you visit your profile, a connection’s profile or browse the mobile app. Regularly you will see alerts for you to endorse your connections for certain skills. You have no idea whether these skills do actually exist on your connections’ profile. 

The only sure way of making sure that these skills are indeed on their profile is to go there and make sure they are. Sounds like a lot of work, perhaps. However if you don't, LinkedIn will continue to suggest new skills for your connections’ profiles because LinkedIn knows that their skill list is not yet up to maximum 50. It appears that LinkedIn’s primary goal is to make sure that as many of its members has a full list of skills on their profiles. More skills, more targeted advertising and more $$$ for LinkedIn’s shareholders. Got it?

I have a few tips for you to ensure that you are both maximising the skills section for your benefit and as such assist you to be found on LinkedIn.

I decided that making use of this nice infographic on your profile means that the viewers of your profile will get a quick overview of what you are all about.

  1. Have a maximum of 12 skills, you will find that most won't bother to endorse you for more than 3 anyway.
  2. Decide that the key skills you've identified become your keywords for your profile.
  3. Ensure you intelligently spread those keywords (skills) throughout your profile to assist you being found on LinkedIn whenever someone is searching for people who have certain skills. 
  4. Whenever someone endorses you for a skill that does indeed exist on your profile and it’s one you've decided to display there, then the best way to thank them is to endorse them back. You will know from an email sent by LinkedIn, what someone has endorsed you for. (See image below).
  5. If someone has endorsed you for a skill that doesn't appear on your profile, again you will receive an email but this time LinkedIn will prompt you to add it to your profile. If you're not happy to accept this skill, then delete it from the top of your profile, where it will appear as an outstanding action.
  6. If at any time you wish to remove a skill, go into edit profile mode and move to the skills section where you can edit skills by clicking on ’add skill’. Delete and move a skill when you're in edit mode.
You will receive this email, when your connections have endorsed you for skills that are already on your profile. You can return the favour by visiting their profiles and endorsing them for their skills. There is no further action required.

You will receive this email, when your connections have endorsed you for skills that are already on your profile. You can return the favour by visiting their profiles and endorsing them for their skills. There is no further action required.

When you receive this email, LinkedIn has prompted one of your connections either when they visited your profile or when they were browsing on their mobile app to endorse you. It's very rare that they have decided to endorse you for that skill, LinkedIn prompts them to do so. When it says 'add to profile', you will know it's a skill that you don't have listed. If you click through that skills will be added. Watch the video below to learn how to dismiss any new skills.

When you receive this email, LinkedIn has prompted one of your connections either when they visited your profile or when they were browsing on their mobile app to endorse you. It's very rare that they have decided to endorse you for that skill, LinkedIn prompts them to do so. When it says 'add to profile', you will know it's a skill that you don't have listed. If you click through that skills will be added. Watch the video below to learn how to dismiss any new skills.

If you are unhappy with the Skills & Expertise section on LinkedIn, I recommend you give LinkedIn some feedback, either via a ’feedback’ link on the site or send a support ticket to LinkedIn help.

Now you know how the Skills & Expertise section works, you may decide to review the skills listed, decide on just a dozen or so and include them throughout your LinkedIn copy.

Feel free to share any questions you may still have about this section on LinkedIn.


Are LinkedIn Missing Out?

LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

Is LinkedIn missing out on communication? Yep BIG time!

About 3 years ago LinkedIn removed their event app with the usual statement saying that 'from time to time we review our services and adjust our offer to ensure the best experience for our customers' or something like this. Commendable I think?

It was quite a useful app I thought. I used it to invite customers to my external webinars or public training events. 

Now most of us use external apps like Eventbrite. 

Also at the time I was searching for a free webinar app and to my delight Google launched Google+ Hangout. 

The web conferencing web app is amazing and works like a dream. The only problem is that today still not that many business people are on Google+. This means I have to educate them on how to use G+ and then train them on how to use G+ Hangout. Time consuming and frustrating. It ways exactly the same when Skype came out many years ago. Nobody had heard of it and didn't know how to use it. Now potentially every business person has heard of Skype and uses it.

G+ Hangout also has a messaging facility, although not that great yet.

Within the last few weeks (April 2015), Facebook launched their dedicated messenger app for the browser. It was already well established as a separate app for mobile, despite some complaints from users in the early days when it moved away from the standard Facebook page. It works and it works well and looks great inside a browser.

I'm sure I don't have to mention all the array of other messenger apps on the market. Just have a look at the graphic below, where the number represents the number of active users in millions. Facebook with messenger and WhatsApp are pretty much dominating the space.

Graph from - April 2015

Graph from - April 2015

What happened to LinkedIn? All they've got is a very basic email service, which only in the past month (March 2015) allows you to attach a file. Fantastic! Not really, I was being sarcastic then in case you hadn't noticed!

Can you imagine how amazing it would be if you had the ability to instant message your connections? Alright, I appreciate that you'd be worried with spammy messages, but they could make it so that you have to invite people to your instant messenger list and request permission in exactly the same way as connection invites.

I guarantee you that the current younger generation when it grows up will demand such a service on LinkedIn otherwise they'll be doing it on Facebook instead. The younger generation believes that email is too slow, they don't use it. Instant responses are something they've got used to and want to experience this when they enter the world of work.

If we were able to instant message than surely the obvious extension of that would be video conference calls. The need for group web conferencing, being able to share and discuss in real-time all around the world and carry out training is absolutely essential nowadays.

It just leaves the facility for events. Like Google+ the event facility would give you the option to schedule online meetings with connections or audio/video conference calls. 

How cool would that be? This is one massive way to get more eyeballs on your site Jeff Weiner

Conclusion: LinkedIn is definitely missing out on the massive explosion of messaging and web meetings.

I look forward to the day when this will change, really looking forward to it!


Are You Being Spammed on LinkedIn?

Inevitably you will be at some stage. There are over 347 million profiles on LinkedIn and with 2 new people joining every second, there are going to be individuals who are breaking the rules.

I know it will be annoying to you, maybe a severe nuisance and some of you will get disheartened and feel that LinkedIn should be doing more.

I know exactly how you feel, I have been there too, but now I just take my own appropriate action, which I have learnt isn’t that clear to inexperienced users on LinkedIn.

Usually these spammers use invitations to get themselves in front of you. In fairness I haven’t had many, maybe a total of 20 in the 11 years that I have been on LinkedIn.

When you receive an offending email, like the one shown below. A real-live example, which one of my connections received.

Here are a few steps in order to deal with these spammers: (Below are images to show you what it looks like)

  1. Go to their profile and you will find a drop down arrow visible on the blue button that says ‘send jamie an InMail’.
  2. Select ‘Block or report’.
  3. A new window will open where you can select ‘block’ and ‘report’.
  4. Add some detail to give LinkedIn some of your reasons why you are reporting this individual and click continue.
  5. A warning message will be displayed to confirm that you wish to report and block this person. Confirm this step and the deed is done.

You can also do this at any time for any of your connections that may cause you any unnecessary stress for whatever reason.

Sometimes, and I have experienced this, the spammer may create another profile and send another invite. If this abusive behaviour does continue, I would advice that you contact LinkedIn support directly. Make sure that you copy the LinkedIn url of that member, as they need this to locate the individual concerned.

I sincerely hope you don’t get many of these.


Image Credit: @gapingvoid