Are You Sad?

Normally we associate SAD with ’Seasonal Affective Disorder’ and after all currently it is Winter in the Northern Hemisphere and quite a few of us will be suffering with this. Thankfully we have passed the shortest day, so Spring will be here soon.

I feel it’s time to declare SAD in a different context. Let me explain.

I have been active on Social Media for about 7+ years starting with Facebook. In those early days I was very much an early adopter and had no idea how this new phenomenon would become so popular. I've seen many non-believers become very active on Social Media, well done to them.

In the past year I have been noticing an unwelcome side-effect of Social Media, where many have become very over active. All the Social Networks offer something slightly different for the user, but the one thing they all have in common is the ability to post updates.

I remember in the early years when business people used to regularly condemn Facebook and Twitter by saying; ’I have no interest in knowing what you've had for lunch!’

After the lunch posts started to decline, the cat pictures started and the rest is history.

In general posts are more interesting and of some value at times. I know that only a tiny fraction of the posts we publish get noticed. I liken it to the falling tree in the forest. If nobody is in the forest then nobody knows that the tree fell over. Exactly the same happens when you post many updates at the wrong times and nobody will see them.

Many people have decided to combat the falling tree by over-posting and this is where it can be a massive turn-off.

My new SAD = ’Social-Media Activity Disorder’.


Do you recognise any of this in your own activity? 
Have you noticed SAD in your own connections?
I'd love to hear about your own experiences.

By the way, the solution is Buffer. By using this very intelligent piece of software you can schedule and drip feed regular and timely posts to all your networks without being SAD.

Have LinkedIn forgotten its Customer?

Let me start by saying that I love LinkedIn. It's by far my favourite Social Network for the simple reason that you can do business with people you connect with. Never in the history of the world have business professionals been able to be part of a 300+ million network, where you can do business.

I also know that the culture inside LinkedIn is truly awesome and a great example for many corporates in the world. 
I'm generally very generous in my compliments when it comes to LinkedIn, but I also know they know that there are some faults that they need to work on. Some issues with the platform do show up regularly, equally the ’connected’ app has problems from its original very release, which have caused me issues.

But that said we know no Social Networks are perfect and it's easy for me to sit here and criticise. 

But, there’s no excuse for poor customer service. And here I believe that LinkedIn are seriously letting their customers down at the moment.

Overall they let us down as follows:

  1. It's not super easy to contact support. You have to search the forum/help pages first before you can access the ’contact us’ button. That's so old-fashioned. I understand why they do it, the answer could already be inside the forum and help pages. But when new entrants in the social world allow you to email them directly and receive a personalised response, you do wonder why LinkedIn is still using this approach.
  2. When support responds, you usually receive a very standard response, that clearly shows someone copies and pastes a template. Nobody is rude or unhelpful, they are really polite, but the style in this modern world is too robotic in nature and well you don't feel like a person, just a number.
  3. When you challenge the response they continue to be professional and robotic and usually it doesn't result in a satisfactory response. Answers like, ’we are aware and our engineers are working on it’ or ’we don't have a solution to this problem, but don't know when we will resolve it’. They tend to be answers that are never resolved, leaving us frustrated and wondering who is actually there at the other end working on the customer’s behalf?

Let me illustrate with a very recent and very specific case study.

  1. The other day I opened LinkedIn’s email and saw that upon composing an email a paper clip appeared to allow me to attach a file. I had never seen this before and was obviously excited that at last LinkedIn is allowing us to attach files to emails. Of course I immediately tested it by sending an email with attachment to my wife to show her this new feature and put it to the test. 
  2. Then the next day I decided to send someone a file via LinkedIn email, to show off my new discovery. I also posted updates the previous day to all my channels sharing my excitement. However when I opened LinkedIn email, I noticed that the paper clip had now disappeared.

Below you can read the dialogue I had with LinkedIn and I'm sorry for sharing my frustration with them so publicly. Can you read how the support agent ’Vikas’ just isn't getting it? He completely misses the point of my question and is confirming back to me details I already know.

This isn't the first time this has happened to me either. I have several examples of mis-communication and non-resolved communication from LinkedIn. Plus I have heard stories from many professionals who are all left feeling frustrated with unresolved issues and desperately poor communication.

Please Jeff and team, can you review your customer service and examine whether it's working in a modern world without ambiguous responses. Thank you so much!

HELP! Older Generation targeted by Computer Virus Scammers based in India

We all receive unsolicited calls from companies trying to sell us stuff. And although we can protect ourselves with ’telephone preference service’ in the UK, companies that call us from overseas are not bound by the same regulations as UK companies. 

When I received a call from an overseas company pretending that they were aware of a computer virus, allegedly on my PC, I decided to record the call and explore exactly what it was that was wrong with my computer.

You can listen to several calls below. Just press play.

It was particularly interesting to me because they told me that they were Microsoft Certified specialists and as I'm a Mac user I was interested to learn how they knew that I had a virus on my computer.

After I recorded the call I uploaded the call on Mixcloud and shared it on Social Media. When someone on Facebook asked me for the Mixcloud link some months later as she too had been targeted by them, I discovered that an ex-employee of the company had shared his experience of working for the company and shared the company’s contact details openly including two of their directors' names and phone numbers.

To read his post just follow the link below to the Mixcloud recording.

The person who contacted me on Facebook asked me how we could make use of Social Media to get this company and its directors brought to justice? She has assisted me with this blog and will be giving it exposure across her network.

So this Blogpost is our attempt to get as much publicity around this scam as possible. Would you like to help us? We need this trending on Twitter for the proper authorities, the press and TV to take notice.

Here are a few options for you to share this blogpost via Social Media.

  1. Tweet this article using the following text: 'investigate urgent #pcvirus #scam @BBCwatchdog @actionfraudUK @ofcom @ICOnews @ScamWarners #askpcxperts' CLICK TO TWEET

  2. Ask others to retweet and tweet their own version too.
  3. Post on your Facebook page the shortened blogpost link: and ask your friends to share and re-post as well.

Let's use the power of Social Networking to get this company investigated by the proper authorities and stop them from causing problems for an older generation who are far too nice and trusting based in the UK, USA and Canada.

If you're outside the UK, please ensure you report them to the proper authorities in your country.

We did further research on social media to see if the company had any profiles and found the following accounts. I have no idea if they are real. I suggest that we report the profiles to the Social Networks.

When you report them use the following text. 

'I would like to bring to your attention that this company's profile represents a company in India that carries out bogus calls to the UK, USA and Canada telling computer users that they have a computer virus. We are reporting them to the proper authorities but I suggest you remove their profile from your network'.

1.  Twitter:

2.  Facebook:

3.  Linkedin:

I found some further evidence that ASK PC Xperts and United e-Services are one and the same company by further web research. United e-Services was mentioned in the ex-employee's post. The address details certainly appear to match. Below are some web images from a directory search and a job advert.

Thank you for your support!

Additional information:

Domain details:

Have You Got Content Sorted?

Social Selling experts say that one of the pillars of Social Selling is our ability to demonstrate that we are experts in our industry/sector and thought leaders in our own businesses. One way to show these attributes is to share insights.

Firstly what is meant with insights? Relevant content. Content our buyers are interested in reading and hopefully they'll remember you all the more for sharing it.

The trouble is where do you find those insights/relevant content?

Well, I'm here to share with you that I've pretty much got this part completely sorted. Well in my own mind I have, because I've spent hours refining this and in the process discovering that app developers haven’t made it that easy for us, as of course they aren’t active users of their own apps so there’s no joined-up thinking. 

Until finally the day that joined-up thinking occurred and I'm soooo delighted that those wonderful app developers out there have just made my life even more productive, even though they don’t even know it.

There are just two apps involved and in combination they are my winning formula and very easy to master. If you master this, you will be able to share relevant insights quickly, regularly and easily, with the minimal investment of time and effort.

The first one is Flipboard. Flipboard is an awesome article and news aggregator. And with its magazine style format, it's a dream to browse and flip through the articles. But there are some key things to do, to complete the perfect setup.

  1. Connect all your social accounts in order to get the newsfeed from each of them flowing in your Flipboard. A tile represents a social stream or your selected stream inside Flipboard. Think of it as your individual social magazine.
  2. Do you have twitter lists? Create a separate tile for those.
  3. Have a favourite hashtag? Create a separate tile for as many as you like.
  4. Do you follow key news accounts on Twitter? Like LinkedIn’s Pulse? Add another tile for them.
  5. Create a tile for blogs you follow easy. Get the RSS feed and search for it inside Flipboard and create a separate tile for as many as you wish.
  6. You can create literally dozens of tiles.
  7. Complete the set-up in Flipboard.

The second one is Buffer. Buffer is the best social media sharing/scheduling app on the planet, really it is. Forget Hootsuite.

  1. Download Buffer, free account up to 10 future posts. Paid account $10 per month up to 200 future posts. Go for the paid account, I did.
  2. Connect all your accounts in there too.
  3. Buffer will give you a free email address so you can literally email anything to your schedule (Buffer)
  4. Once you have Buffer installed, I suggest that you learn how to use it properly.

Now with both apps installed and working, you can literally share any article from your Flipboard direct to your Buffer.

Click on the square and arrow icon bottom right, to reveal ‘More Options’ for sharing from your iPhone or iPad. Click on the 3 dots to show more sharing apps and the Buffer logo will be visible. Just select it, be ready to insert a title or message, select the accounts you are sharing to and press ‘Buffer’.

I know it sounds easy and my journey to achieve this has meant that I spent a few hours to learn how Buffer worked and how Flipboard operated.

If you want to have a super-easy, fast, time efficient way of sharing content, this is by far the best route.

I wish you success and let me know when you have mastered it.

Sorry this article is only for iPhone/iPad users.

Teenager says: 'Sorry, I forgot...'


We all know that teenagers are wonderful people, they are the engineers of the future, the brilliant leaders of the world, the amazing inventors and very clever scientists. We value them and we respect them, well most of the time...

My brain goes purple with rage when I hear them say:

oh sorry I forgot, you know what my memory is like, I just didn't remember...

Why? Because in today's digital world there is absolutely no excuse for anyone, and I mean anyone who has a digital device to forget anything ever.

Teenagers, in the western world at least, have phones, iPods, iPads, iPhones, Androids, Computers, Laptops, Tablets, Kindles, Blackberries and many other digital devices.

All of these devices have something in common and that is they have apps like calendars, notes, tasks and reminders.

Why are they not using these tools?

Every parent and teacher needs to remind their teenage darlings that it's about time that they started using the devices for memory joggers or they will take those expensive devices away from them for ever, not just for a few days.

There should never ever, ever never, never never, ever ever never be an excuse to forget stuff that they are just to lazy to want to remember. It's too convenient to say ’I forgot’, it just doesn't wash anymore.

Remember they have to learn and remember tons of stuff at school and colleges to get through exams and get good grades. They are brilliant at doing this and they do actually remember huge amount of data in their young lives. They are actually much better than adults in doing this because they have to practice remembering stuff every day.

Time to hand out some tough love then, they either start using their devices also for remembering stuff instead of texting, instagramming, tweeting and chatting or they lose them.

Oh and just in case they don't have a digital device, remember pencil and paper?

Go on you can do it.

Do You Have Your Finger on the Pulse?

As LinkedIn continues their roll out of 'long-form' (blog) posts across its membership, content is being created at an alarmingly fast rate. My own notifications I receive show from my personal connections are somewhere between 5-10 posts per day. And because I use many of the LinkedIn apps, including the flagship and pulse apps, it means I'm getting these notifications in 3 different places.

I know that some LinkedIn members are not at all happy about all these notifications, as some members do share posts that are all about self-promotion and as we all know we do de-test being sold to don't we?

I wanted to share my own balanced view of the downside and upside of Pulse long-form (blog) posts.


  1. Too many notifications about your network’s posts, which delivers pressure for us to go and read them. And this pressure may mean that we are turned off and don't want to read any of them.
  2. By seeing our network posting frequently, we then also feel pressured to make sure we keep up with all this posting and go into ’FOMO’ syndrome. (FOMO = Fear of missing out). The trouble is some of our network post 2 or even 3 posts per day. They really can't have a day job or they've employed someone to write all this material. Some of us (including me), believe this multiple posting is a massive turn off.
  3. Obvious promotional copy about products and services is a real nuisance to some of us. We don't appreciate that these people haven't got anything better to say about themselves or are willing to respect people’s preferences. 


  1. Being able to tie long-form (blog) posts in with your LinkedIn profile is hugely beneficial. It allows readers to get a great insight in to your experience, knowledge, views and expertise all in one place. There actually is no other place on the web where you can achieve this today.
  2. As you post new articles, your network is notified every time you do this and thereby driving visitors to your posts. More views means more potential for engagement, comments and exposure. 
  3. Your posts go to LinkedIn’s Pulse engine and categorised in the appropriate Pulse channel, creating even more potential for even greater exposure to LinkedIn members who you are not connected to.

You can draw your own conclusions about whether your personal brand will benefit from Pulse or whether the ’dementors’, who use it for self-promotion, will ruin its amazing potential.

You can always unsubscribe by following the instructions via:

Is Creating Content the Elephant on the Web?

IMG_1214 Recently I joined a twitter chat #sshour (social selling hour) and the subject of content curation was being discussed. I too have been busy organising my content stream, selecting the articles I enjoy reading and sharing them on my preferred platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. And I love scheduling them using Buffer.

And my reason for doing this? Thought leadership? Just sharing ‘stuff’, which my connections might like to read? Wanting more followers, likes and comments?

Does anyone really give a damn?

And what's our outcome? Is it more engagement with our buyers, receiving more enquiries for our products and services? Or is it ’FOMO’,  fear of missing out? Or ’FOBLO’, fear of being left out?

Social Media has a lot to answer for. It’s changing human behaviour across the planet. We never shared so many intimate details of our lives, so publicly. And as we are so obsessed with sharing content surely we are trying to look interesting, relevant and impressive to our connections and followers?

No wonder there are 630 million search results on google to my question ‘how often should I blog?’

I asked the question last year: ‘Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’

I know it’s a great feeling when your article/blog or your shared post gets noticed by your followers. Ever time this happens somewhere deep inside of us we say, ‘Wow she/he loves me’.

And by just pushing out more and more content and posting regularly, are we hoping that we’ll get noticed by some big shot CEO who will approach us to come and do some consultancy or maybe even work for them? There's news there too for us. They aren't reading them.

I believe there are two tribes who do all the blogging and posting. Folks that are self-employed and are making it part of their own personal marketing strategy or folks that work for big business and their job is in marketing anyway.

Everyone in between either don’t really care or are just too busy at work to bother.

I’d love to hear your opinion. Are we overdoing it and heading for blogging/posting burnout?


Are You Afraid of Rejection on Social Networks?


You should be...

Many more social networkers are being more discerning in deciding who they connect with. I'm sure by now you've heard the saying: ’you’re network is your net worth’.

It’s more important for networkers to show off 'WHO' they are connected to, compared to 'HOW' many.

What's needed is some {old-fashioned} personal branding. If you're reading this then you're already a personal brand and you might not have realised it yet. It doesn't mean you have to be a Rock Star or some YouTube celebrity, although of course it would help. What's a personal brand? I'm not talking about celebrities, it's anyone these days, who has a profile on a social network, a blog or any other profile that resides on the web, like YOU! Personal branding 2.0 is alive and kicking. Anyone nowadays has a voice, whether, you Tweet, Facebook, Google Plus or LinkedIn, you and anyone else can share their inner feelings and thoughts about any national or any international affairs. Plus your opinion on companies, their customer service and their products and services, counts. Potentially you can cause massive damage to reputations of companies or individuals.

With this power also comes great responsibility.

I am assuming that your reputation matters to you and this means, you should take it seriously. Anyone with an internet connection can interrogate your presence on the web. And as you're probably reading this on LinkedIn, a search result of your LinkedIn profile will very likely appear on page 1 of Google when someone searches for your name.

In 1 keystroke any searcher can learn everything about you in a just a few seconds.

Doesn't this warrant a great presentation of your personal brand? It absolutely does. For the past few years we've all rushed to join the latest social network in 'fear of missing out' (#fomo) or ensuring that as a minimum we've got a profile in case someone happens to search for us there. And in that rush we have proliferated our profiles across these networks causing a huge amount of inconsistency. Here are just 4 items from my audit checklist for you to review and examine how you're doing with your own personal brand:

  1. Do you have different profile photos on different networks? Most of us are still super critical of the way we appear on photographs. This means we scour our photo library picking out the best photo that we perceive will represent us in the best light. What happens is you may select a photo of yourself in business attire and place that on LinkedIn. You’ll find another one from your holidays maybe with family and friends in a T-shirt, crop yourself and place that on Facebook. Or maybe a family picture and use that on Google plus or Twitter. And when you are developing your personal brand this type of inconsistency completely confuses the viewer.
  2. Are you using the company logo instead of a profile photo? If you are a big brand great, push your recognisable logo if need be. However if you are a small or micro business, using your logo is THE most impersonal thing you can do. And using a logo on your personal profile on LinkedIn is just plain silly and actual against LinkedIn's terms, which you agreed to, remember?
  3. Do you write a different ’about’ section on each profile? It's one of the easiest errors we can make. To become a recognisable personal brand you need to have consistency as readers will scan your profile and at least pick up a few keywords from your ’about section’ with an opportunity to remember them. If they vary greatly it will lead to readers being confused and not remembering anything tangible from your ’about section’. I know the no. of words allowed also varies greatly, which means that brevity counts.
  4. Are you using different header images across networks? Everyone has gone header crazy. Plus the sizes differ hugely. Furthermore how the header interacts with the profile photo and how it appears on mobile devices is another factor that complicates things further. Use your graphic designer to help you get the best look and resolution.

Take a few minutes and review your social networks and adjust them to be closer in line with each other. After all your personal brand is important to you, it's time to take it seriously.


ps. A great business friend, Richard Tubb @tubblog, asked me to review his media branding and this inspired me to write this article. Thanks Richard!

Did You Send me a Personalised Invite? If Not Why Not?

I know it's not your fault, you’re browsing inside the LinkedIn app, suggestions keep popping up all over the place about who you should connect to, displaying a large ’+’ sign or a ’connect’ button and as your finger slides across it, the invite has fired off!
20140704-230836-83316392.jpg And the recipient receives an invite with one of the following messages; ’Join my network on LinkedIn’ or ’Michael, please add me to your LinkedIn network’.

Did you know the individual? Had you just met at a meeting? I'm sure they’ll be fine with it, if that's the case. The trouble is the majority and I really mean the majority of members send the standard invite. It's not my fault, I hear you cry, it's LinkedIn, they don't allow you to send a personalised invite via the apps. Correct now you know this, stop inviting from the apps. Go to the website and do it there and do it properly.

Send a decent message to the individual and give them a reason to click the accept button. Be honest and tell them why? Because when they receive that sterile message from you, you've already started on the back foot. If you ever stand a chance to develop a relationship with this connection, show them that you care about their choices. They have a choice to accept your invite or not.

What do you think? What chances do you have in getting that person to accept your impersonal invite. 50/50? 80/20? 90/10?

I reckon there's a 5% chance that they will accept your standard invite.

Now what do you say? It's always better to examine the individual’s profile and look for what you might have in common. Maybe a group, a connection, a location, interests, influencers you follow. There will be something. Think about how you can word a very simple and short message and help them answer the question that will inevitably come up in their head, which is, why on earth should I accept your connection?

Maybe it's just that you’re growing your network, or you wish to connect with like-minded individuals, just be honest and share it. Giving them a reason not to accept your invite also, it shows that you respect them.

Here's an example;

Michael, I see we’re connected to the same people and have similar interests. I am also looking to grow my network on LinkedIn, so I hope you're OK connecting, but of course don't feel obliged to do so

Doesn't that sound better than the standard invite? Even when I’ve met people face to face, I will always send a personalised invite. The only time I might, is when I'm standing or sitting with the person, open the app and search for them, whilst they are looking. Then I confirm that I've found them and then apologise for sending the standard invite.

So please remember, NEVER EVER, EVER NEVER, NEVER NEVER, EVER NEVER, NEVER send the standard invite and NEVER EVER, invite from a mobile device.

Got it?

Wishing you massive success always!


Does LinkedIn's Privacy Abuse Protection Work?

To be fair, I don't receive a huge amount of spam or abuse on LinkedIn, so I believe that their security systems are sound. Except for this one guy in Ghana, who keeps inviting me to connect. He has around 5 profiles on LinkedIn. His name is Sherif Akande. Go on look him up on search, but probably best not to click through to his profile, just in case he notices that you've looked at him and starts inviting you too!

I’ve reported this fellow now several times to LinkedIn support and their trust and safety department ensure me they are dealing with it. So why does this person still have several profiles on LinkedIn and why does he manage to find me again and again and keeps inviting me?

For me there is something not quite right if someone can do this multiple times. I've blocked every profile of this guy that has sent invites to me, but it doesn't seem to be working, because he just creates another profile and sends another invite. LinkedIn tell me I can't block member profiles unless I'm connected to them. Actually that's not true. You can block them, because I have and when use the URL to look them up I can't find them. So even their support haven't got the correct knowledge about blocking members, which is a bit concerning really.


So what's wrong Jeff Weiner? Why can't your team solve this?

Small kinks like this makes you nervous about your own privacy on these social networks. If someone in Ghana can keep getting away with this abuse, what else can they do?

Sure I could completely hide my profile, but that completely defeats the objective of being on LinkedIn. So why do their support team then suggest this to me, by sending me their help pages instructing me to follow those to secure my privacy. By blocking myself in this way, I might as well come off LinkedIn, as it won't be worth being on there.

I'm not giving up though and I will keep pushing their support teams to highlight this with their development teams and look to solve this.

You can see the thread of my communication with their support team in the slideshare below. I'm far from happy with their standard template response. It really does make you feel like, well, you're not really that important to us, so we will send you out template responses, because it will allow us to close your ticket as soon as possible.

LinkedIn support desk is probably the worst I've experienced recently for these standard template responses. Much room for improvement needed Jeff Weiner.

This is the last response I received from LinkedIn on the matter. In my view they have completely misunderstood the issue, suggesting that I should be more careful who I connect to. A very strange and bizarre situation.


Do You Listen to Your Customers?

Buffer does...


Buffer is an app that allows you to schedule your social posts via a pre-determined time-schedule. It works, it's beautiful and their customer service is astounding, no really the best I have EVER experienced of any software company that I've ever dealt with. The founders started the company with Customer Service at it’s core and certainly, for me, they have always delivered. Not only in the way they create their app but at every stage in their communication with me. I'm a MASSIVE fan, can you tell?

So, whilst being active on the buffer web app, I noticed something new, ’Feeds’, a new and very innovative feed engine built inside the app, allowing users to pull in feeds from blogs and thereby sharing articles into their buffer. A brilliant innovation and even before I heard the announcement I started testing it.

The only issue was that they announced that users (me) on the ’awesome’ plan would have the ability for 1 feed and users on the ’business plan’ would get 20 feeds. By the way both sets of users pay for their plans.

Here is the blog that announced the release of 'Feeds';

I was deeply disappointed and because I know that Buffer cares about their customers I decided to say something on their blog, which announced this new release and the limitation for 'awesome' users. And noticed that I wasn't the only ’awesome’ user who was unhappy. I also emailed buffer via their standard email, as they are ALWAYS telling us to reach out to them for any reason at all. I've never seen anyone do this as well as they do. And they ALWAYS respond quickly to any of my emails.

How pleasing then to see how Buffer responded to their disappointed customers. Their response was fantastic and to be honest, they far exceeded my expectations in this. It was also impressive how quickly they responded to me and their customer base.

Below you can read the correspondence for yourself and see how Buffer yet again sets the standard for how companies should deal with their customers and how they listen to what they have to say.

Announcement Email


My response Email


Their initial response


Follow up response


Joel's Tweet


Confirmation Email


A great example of how, when you place customers in the centre of your business, you will get their feedback fast, know that it's genuine and you can respond quickly and with integrity. I'm sure this has been a massive learning opportunity for Buffer and I'm pretty sure they will have a different strategy going forward when deciding to differentiate between plans for their paying customers. It's never an easy problem to solve.

Well done Buffer and I look forward to more of your developments in the future!

If you're reading this and haven't experienced Buffer and their awesome service, go ahead and test it out.

Wishing you success always!


Do You Really Know How to Sell?

If you're in business or you're an ambitious sales professional, this post is for you. I know that we all want business but...

You need to read the signs before upsetting to your buyers. Read the email below and let me know what you think?

{I have removed sensitive information in order to protect the email sender}

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 11.03.09

I was horrified, not because the email upset me, but because I couldn't believe the tone of the email.

Let me give you the background without giving away who or what it was that I was buying.

After some difficulty, I needed a quote from a third-party in order to fulfil a potential project that I was quoting for. It took me over a week to get a response and that was because my emails weren't getting through to the supplier. In the end it was an IT issue with servers, but still it took some considerable time to sort out. Probably not the supplier's fault, but it happened.

After finally agreeing a quote, which wasn't that easy either, I sent my proposal to my potential client. In the meantime, I'm assisting and sorting out email server issues with my potential supplier. They then send several emails chasing me to see if the project is on or not. That's fine I don't have an issue with chasers and I did warn my supplier that my client had a budget he needed to achieve, so he was probably searching elsewhere.

So after receiving another chaser email from my supplier, I advised them that I had already chased up my potential client and that it was entirely possible that they would be searching for a cheaper price in their local country.

At this stage I have never placed any business with my supplier, so you would have thought that they would hold back a bit. But then that email arrived and I was amazed.

The message here is a simple one. Respect your potential buyer's process and lead-time for getting things done. Do NOT chase too many times.

You have to know when it's appropriate to send a reminder and when it's appropriate to send a chaser. They are not the same! And certainly when you are waiting to get the order confirmed don't send chaser emails.

And then there is the 'UpSelling' tactic. NEVER 'UpSell' when you haven't even got onto first base yet. Why would anyone wish to buy other products when they haven't even experienced your service yet? Especially as the service so far hasn't been that great!

Wishing you massive success always!



How Do You Test Competence?

The biggest challenge facing the UK economy is 'Skills Competence' and not 'Skills Shortage'. Everyone always looks at the glass as being half empty instead of half full. So focussing on 'Skills Competence' is better than focussing on 'Skills Shortage', don't you think? Competence is the holy grail, because assessing someone’s competence allows you to directly know whether they are equipped to do the job or not. We have a competence issue in organisations not a skills issue.

Competence: the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

Appraisals, Annual reviews, Objective setting, 360 degree reviews or whatever your name is for reviewing someone’s performance doesn't assess competence. You can only test competence by asking the employee directly if they know the answer to a very specific set of questions that relate to ’what’ they need to know as an absolute minimum to do the job competently.

In every organisation things change. New products or services, new managers, changing procedures and processes, re-organisation which causes job changes, new sales and customer service processes, etc.

Job competency is always under pressure when change happens in an organisation and that's all the time.

To truly understand your employees’ competence you need to test them, regularly. Once you know their competence levels, you can do something about it.

Deploying learning materials in large silos (Learning Management Systems) or any other method of e-learning will allow you to teach skills but not competence. When you teach just skills, you have no idea if the learner has remembered the new skill and whether they've actually become competent in that skill. Indeed it takes time to become competent in any skill and usually it takes repetition of carrying out that skill before you become competent.


We all know the following 4 phases of learning something new, like learning to drive a car:

1. Unconscious incompetence 2. Conscious incompetence 3. Conscious competence 4. Unconscious competence

The 4th phase is where we want our employees to get to as soon as possible, whether it's with Onboarding (Induction) or learning new skills/knowledge.

Every minute, hour, day, week or month that we take to get them as competent as possible, means the organisation is potentially losing money or not growing as fast.

The Psychology of Study goes as far back as 1932, when Mace wrote his book 'Psychology of Study' and the idea of ’spaced repetition’ was first muted. Earlier still we had Ebbinghaus who told us about the forgetting curve. It tells us that for centuries we've been debating how we can get humans to remember more than how to walk.

Let's take learning languages. If you've ever tried to learn a new language, then you'll know that only by repetition will you become competent in that language. Using flash cards are an even better way of learning to remember a new language. Put the English on one side and the translation on the other. Start with 50 cards on day one and when you know you have mastered a few, take those out of the pack and repeat the others. Keep going until you've mastered them all. It's fairly basic but it works.

It's the only way to become competent in that language. Of course you may decide to repeat it in 3 weeks, because unless you are using these sentences regularly, the chances are that you will forget them.

Take this concept into any skill in any organisation where you require it to become a competence in the person who is performing it and you will rapidly and successfully increase competence throughout the organisation.

Deploying this method is now easier then ever, allowing employees to become more competent through the power of mobile. Not only can you test competence and teach new skills, you can report on the overall competence of a group, a department, a division or the overall organisation. It allows you to succession plan, recruit for competence gaps, evaluate competence levels for new projects. It even tests the individuals who took the course, at the point when they are deemed to be ready to be tested over the phone by a real person. A great motivator for the learner to get up to speed and learn properly.

What if such a tool was available today? What a difference it would make to UK "Skills Competence', to the UK economy, to UK competitiveness, to the Economy of Organisations and especially to the people that work in them.

If any of the concepts above touched a nerve with you and you can see an application inside your organisation, please get in touch with me in the first instance. We’ll get a proof of concept rolling out for you within hours and start your organisation’s journey towards 'Skills Competence' quickly.

Wishing you massive success always.



Are You Embracing Social Selling Yet?

There’s so much coming out of the USA on ’Social Selling’ at the moment, that in order to keep abreast of developments, I’ve decided to follow a select group of thought leaders on the subject. I have requested at least 66 of them to connect with me on LinkedIn and I'm following around 73 of them on twitter. In the UK, apart from LinkedIn personnel in London, I've only met one other person in the UK (on Skype), Chris Heffer @theotherhef.

So the UK is way behind the USA, but that doesn't mean it's not taking hold. A lot of people and I mean a lot of them in the UK, don't get LinkedIn at all. They still see it as a depository for your CV and where companies, head-hunters, recruiters look for potential recruits. Frequently I hear this sentence at face to face networking events; Oh yes I’m on LinkedIn, but I don't really do anything with it...should I?

And yes the site may have started life as a CV or résumé site and still is very useful for that, after all LinkedIn make their biggest sales revenue in their Talent Solutions Division ($860 million, 56% of the overall).

However in my view the future growth development of LinkedIn will be by their ’Sales Solutions Division’ and my forecast is that this will overtake their Talent Solutions Division over the next 5 years.

OK, so now what's ’Social Selling’ and how does it work in the commercial world and can it work for anyone?

Firstly there's no dictionary entry for this terms as yet, no Wikipedia entry and when you search on Google there's no real clue as to what it is either. There are many different theories, from as simple as ’using social media to sell’ to the more thought-out definitions as shown below by Koka Sexton of LinkedIn.


For me though it's no different to the term Social Media or Social Media Marketing, which for me are getting rather dated now. Isn't it time that we start encompassing it with the old name ’marketing’? Aren't Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube, just channels, like the channels we invented with the printing press, like newspapers, brochures, posters and anything paper-like.

Aren't the new channels just tools of the trade and therefore isn't ’Social Selling’ just...wait for it...Selling? Of course we need to learn some new techniques, new technologies, new approaches, un-learn old habitual paradigms, stop promoting and start listening, but essentially the process of selling will still exist. After all when you've been spending hours of time, listening, sharing, retweeting, congratulating, at the end of the month you've still got to pay the bills right? Including generating a revenue for your own business or your employer’s business.

There has to be an outcome, a mission, a goal to doing all that engaging and therefore you need a well-thought out strategy, that can deliver the results you want and most importantly need.

But I have come across some interesting concepts and some of them are by Jill Rowley @Jill_Rowley, who is known as the superhero in Social Selling.


1. ABC - Always Be Connecting. You can draw your own conclusion if you wish and for me, this means that growing your network is important. I've always said that sales is a numbers game. If you don't have the numbers, you won't make the numbers. 2. OPC - Other People's Content. Share content written and curated by others and give them credit for it. Always writing your own content is time consuming and sometimes tough to generate enough volume, especially if like me, you're sharing 3 pieces of content every single day. I would never achieve that if I didn't have other people’s content to rely on. 3. OPP - Other People’s Popularity. Help your connections, wherever they are on the web by being their raving fans, make them look good to their audience and mean it. There's no point faking this, as you will be found out, it has to be genuine and authentic.

One thing’s for sure there is a bit to learn, some things to take on board, a lot of listening and a huge amount of practicing too.

I wish you massive success with your Social Selling Mission!


Is the LinkedIn 'Contacts' App Worth It?

I've written an extensive tutorial on how to activate the LinkedIn contacts app properly. You can read it here. But before you rush off, I need to share with you my findings quite recently, which may have you thinking twice about installing this app. IMG_0005

LinkedIn (CEO - Jeff Weiner), says that mobile is a massive priority for LinkedIn in 2014. 41% of all user engagement was on mobile during 2013. They expect that this will rise to 50% in 2014 and he says more investment will be happening in this area.

But...are the apps stable enough and have they figured out properly how they will work together?

Let me explain more. And I'm only dealing with the iPhone apps here, I have no experience of Android and others.

The 'flagship' LinkedIn app has been around for a while and works quite well except for one major flaw.

You have the ability to download all your connections onto your iPhone, when you go into settings. It promises faithfully to download it once and every time you access the app, it will download more new connections. Very cool indeed.

The major flaw is that when someone updates their profile, changes their email, job or anything else, the app downloads another version of that record. Plus it downloads duplicates for no apparent reason in a random way, don't ask me how, because I don't know.

This is made even more complicated by the fact that Apple have installed LinkedIn as part of their latest Mac operating system, Mavericks.

So now it is even harder to spot whether the duplicates are being created by those records being picked up by iCloud and going across all my devices.

It is virtually impossible to work out how all these duplications are happening. Someone somewhere needs to seriously sort this out.

It needs a LinkedIn engineer and an Apple engineer to sit shoulder to shoulder and test it and work out what is happening.

Now let's talk about the contacts app, which I think is really great until I decided to update my iPhone with the latest iOS7 security update.

iTunes for some reason forced me to do a factory reset, causing everything to be wiped and I had to start again.

This caused some issues with existing apps, as you can well imagine. And as the LinkedIn contacts app works on the basis of dragging all your iPhone contacts to their cloud app, it meant it had to go through that whole procedure again.

So I wasn't really surprised then to find that the LinkedIn cloud app, was showing me almost exactly double the amount of records. It obviously didn't take account of the fact that I had already done this previously.


I decided then to contact support, as surely they would have the answer for me. 16 exchanges later and they really didn't have a clue what they were talking about. The agent was insistent on sharing her personal experiences with me, which I wasn't really interested in and totally misunderstood what I was asking.

She was stuck into one train of thought. In the end I solved it myself.

You can view a thread of the correspondence in the slideshare below. Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the document to get to the start. The photo screenshots I took before and after confirmed that my solution worked.

Which is; if you notice duplicates in the LinkedIn Cloud App, first remove the contacts app from your iPhone and then click remove against the Cloud app, which can be found in

Tread slowly and gently with the contacts app and also the LinkedIn app. You may find that you will get a lot more duplicates then you were hoping for. The same with LinkedIn integration on Mac.

I am a big fan of LinkedIn, after all I teach people how to use it and an even bigger fan of Apple. However they both really struggle to give users a wonderful experience when it comes to contacts on our devices.

Hopefully someone senior in both companies will do something about it.

Wishing you massive success always!


Do you Appreciate Diversity in Social Media?

I engage with dozens of individuals each and every week and discuss the merits or otherwise of Social Media. Nowadays the workplace consists of different generations all trying to work together to fulfill a company’s mission.

The trouble is most of us don't have a clue how we can ensure that all the different generations get on together, let alone catering for them in the social media stakes.


Let me share what I mean in a bit more detail.

Born between 1925-1945, you're a traditionalist, 1946-1964 and you are the famous baby boomer, the largest population group on earth. Gen X 1965-1979, Gen Y 1980-2000 and Gen Z 2001-now.

If you're a traditionalist you may already be retired or you will be in a mentoring and/or chairing capacity or very likely to be working in the 3rd sector.

As a traditionalist you value respect above all else. So being mentioned in a tweet incorrectly, accused of some wrong doing, you’ll be on the phone to your lawyer promptly. Not being shown respect is a major issue for you.


Baby boomers really value relationships. That's probably why this group is one of the largest on Facebook, which in essence is a massive relationship community.

Believe it or not Gen X value life/work balance and these will be CEO’s who tell their teams to leave on time and spend more time with their families, making them more productive at work and satisfied with life. Social Media more than likely is a way to relax for them. Something traditionalists and boomers would never even consider as relaxing!

Gen Y, want to be heard, they are likely to be the most prolific on twitter, making their opinions known to the world and feel happiest when they receive likes or retweets. It means someone’s listening to them.

Gen Z, are too young I know, but watch out, they will be there soon and despite age restrictions on social networks, they've already been active for a couple of years and by the time they get to work, they will have been active for 7 years or so.

Most of us have only been active for a few years!

With all of these different generations working side by side, you can learn a huge amount about them from just watching their social network activity or maybe even the lack thereof.

It allows you some insight into how they relate to the other generations too.

Would you put a Boomer alongside a Gen X and get them to learn from each other or do you let all the Gen X and Y’s sit together in a pool and feed of each other?

Respecting diversity is important in communities, appreciating how they behave on social media, with some of THE largest communities on the globe, is becoming even more important.

Wishing you massive success always.



Do You Accept All Connection Requests?

By far the most frequent question I get asked during my LinkedIn Masterclasses is; Should I accept connection requests from strangers?


The answer is a big resounding YES!

Now let me explain why?

I'm not saying every single stranger, you have to be strategic about it and instead of clicking ignore and run, ask yourself the following key questions.

1. How many connections does this person have?

It's a numbers game. Your are on LinkedIn for a reason. Either you are making yourself available to be headhunted, looking for a job or want to improve business for yourself or the company you work for.

To significantly enhance your success in all these areas you need a large network.

Remember that on average LinkedIn members have at least 150 connections. That means your network will be at least 22,500. These are your first and second level connections.

Second level are your immediate network’s connections.

With continually building your network, it means your area of influence, ability to find and connect to the right person, grows exponentially.


2. Are they in your industry or aligned to it or outside of it?

If they're in your industry or aligned to it, then this is another good reason to connect. They may well be able to introduce you to your next career move, right?

If they are outside of your industry, they may well be a prospect for you. So check if they are in your industry prospect list. You may have one or not. Maybe time to write one!

3. Have they got a decent profile photo?

If not, then don’t connect. Click ignore and click I don't know this person. If they continue being the ’invisible’ man, LinkedIn will eventually warn them or remove them. And I say ’man’ on purpose because I've noticed that it's only men who send invites without a photo. Women who don't have a photo do so because they wish to remain hidden in some way for fear of receiving too many ’male’ invites!

Women who do send invites have overcome this fear and always have a profile photo. Interesting right?

Whenever I challenge men that don't have a profile photo, you should hear the ’bull’ they come out with.

4. A greater opportunity to be found on search.

Every member on LinkedIn receives suggestions for people they may know. On almost every page you will see a few people recommended and indeed allowing you to click on the link to see even more. The list of cards can be hundreds and even thousands.

The algorithm looks at your first level connections and decides that their second level connections may be known to you. The chances of this is potentially true and that's why they do it.

Equally you are a second level connection to all those stranger’s connections and they will receive you served up as a ’people you may know’ suspect.

More eyeballs on your profile, means more opportunity for you to be found, the higher you will appear on search and the better your chances of achieving your reason for being on LinkedIn.

Because I was strategic early on when growing my network, it means I now have a network, that I can easily connect to if I wish, of over 4 million people, globally and in excess of 800,000 people in the UK.

On average each day approximately 30,000 people are added to my network and that's because everyone keeps growing their network.

Got it?

Wishing you massive success always!




20140202-162147.jpg I recently re-discovered Simon Sinek’s work on The Golden Circle. To familiarise yourself watch his TED Talk video. (audio quality does improve when he changes microphone)

In essence he challenges us to think differently about how we present ourselves as businesses and especially how we create our marketing messaging to convince prospects to become clients.

Most of us have a tendency to articulate ’what we do’ and ’how we do it’. And rarely do we say ’why’.

Why is a really powerful word and very underused.

However kids say the word continuously as they grow up and as such this word is actually hard-wired in your brain, without you even knowing it.

Before you decide to buy anything your subconscious asks this question automatically.


You may not even realise it, but you do, especially if someone is pitching you a new product or service for your consideration. If they can't answer the ’why’ question for you, it’s unlikely you will buy from them and look elsewhere.

Of course we do buy stuff based on the what and how and usually you will fill in your own why, if the seller hasn't been able to articulate this for you clearly.

So your mission if you choose to accept it, is to review your marketing messages, especially your LinkedIn profile and start looking at ’why’ you do what you do?

Wishing you massive success always.

Is your Social Media Policy liked?

I read with interest a recent newsletter with guidelines and policy on electronic communication and social media. Electronic communication has been around for a while and whilst it’s good to be reminded about what should and shouldn't be done, especially for new starters and young workers who may not be so used to email, in general it’s well established and most people know what is and isn't allowed. Social Media though is a different matter all together. The first question we have to ask ourselves is ’Why is Social Media so popular?’ Well because it releases dopamine in the brain, inside our pleasure/reward centre and that in turn makes it addictive. I wrote a paper on this last year, ’Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’.


As it’s addictive, it means for many it's almost impossible to leave it alone. Think about it, whenever someone, likes, shares, retweets, follows, invites, accepts, pokes or any other social network activity that has become part of daily behaviour, we feel good about ourselves. We feel like someone approves of us, in a world where mostly we receive criticism, it means we feel like we are getting praise. And of course that feels good and if it feels good, it becomes addictive. Especially young people, who get criticised by parents and teachers alike day in day out. Therefore when they are on social media they (mostly) will get positive messages. I know it has its down side too.

So now we need to think this through, because if it’s addictive and people can't leave it alone, will we still be as harsh on them when we catch them accessing their personal social media networks, whilst at work? Or do we accept, actually this is part of the modern world now and very little we can do to fight it.

Research from 2012 suggests that smart phone owners check their devices 150 times per day, about once every 6 minutes. But we're now in 2014, so we can safely assume it has gone up significantly? Americans aged 18-64 who use social networks say they spend an average of 3.2 hours per day doing so, according to research conducted in November 2012 by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX). ( I'm sure the UK is not far behind them and that figure will have gone up too.

flickr | rockerictic

One way to allow your employees to engage in social media activities is to supply them with an internal social media platform, which connects everyone inside the business, across geographical boundaries, allowing everyone to learn from each other and to collaborate on projects. Also allowing colleagues to like and comment on posts. This way you are distracting them from their personal networks, by allowing them to still engage in similar activities and satisfy their addiction. Actually personal Social Media, is allowing millions of workers to train themselves in order to assist their learning inside the workplace. Think about it, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have provided free online training. Make sense?

Of course there have to be some rules, but we have to recognise that there is a bigger picture and we need to be conscious of that too.

Wishing you success always.