Has LinkedIn Hijacked Some of Your Profile?

LinkedIn Hijacked His Profile

This is a story of what recently happened to one of my LinkedIn connections! To top it off; this connection is a PREMIUM MEMBER, meaning they are paying LinkedIn! If it was a free account, it would still be unacceptable, but much more difficult to complain!

The content is a letter written to this connection by someone at LinkedIn. My connection chose to post the letter on his profile and I have chosen to write about the experience.

The letter is true to form, however, I have chosen to put some headings on the section using my normal heading process.

This could happen to you!

And the letter/posting begins

LinkedIn Customer Support Message

Subject: xxxxxx-xxxxxx

Hi name omitted,

Thanks for Contacting Us and I Will Assist You, but Truthfully There Is Nothing I Can Do.

Thanks for contacting us back. My name is [LinkedIn respondent’s name omitted] and I will be assisting you.

Someone at LinkedIn Has Decided to Test Your Profile; without Your Permission

It appears the activities section on your profile is currently being tested. Since this feature is being tested, it has been temporarily removed from your profile page.

Someone at LinkedIn Has Removed Your Activities Section, So… Not Only Can You Not See the Information; Your Connections Can Not See Your Recent Activities As Well

Since this is removed from your profile, your members will also not be able to see this feature for you.

Oh, By the Way There Is No Way for You to Opt Out.

There is not a way to opt out of our testing program.

However If You Jump Through This Hoop You Can See Your Recent Activities

However, anything that you do on your account, which would normally display in your “activities” section, you can view through your homepage under “your updates.” If you go to your home page and change “All Updates” to “Your Updates” you can see what you have done only.

Continual Testing and Your Account May Be One of the Beta Sites; without Your Permission

We’re continually testing the usage of product features by removing certain features temporarily. Periodically, these are tested on a limited scale to ensure correct data. To get the best results and control distortion of the results, our test participants are systematically chosen from a cross section of members. Because of this, you may become part of a test program before a full roll out to our mass membership occurs.

We Don’t Need Your Permission, but We Want Your Feedback!

Feedback from members like you is extremely helpful in shaping how features are changed or enhanced.

We Can’t Offer You the Option to Opt In or Out; it May Impact Our Results

We understand that some people might prefer to opt in or out of these feature tests. But since it could distort the results and would require a lot of extra tracking, the ability to opt in or out of this feature is not available.

We Apologize for Any Inconvenience, but We Really Don’t Care

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have further questions, please feel free to reply to this message.

To Bad, So Sad; but Have a Wonderful Day, Anyway!

Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful day!

What Do You Think; Is this what You Expect from LinkedIn? Speak Up!


Does Your Referral Network Remember Your Message

To Get Referrals; Your Referral Network Must Know Your Message

Is the message you give your referral network effective or is it lost in the clutter? To have an effective referral network; your members must know your message succinctly and clearly. If they don’t; not only will they not refer you, they can’t refer you! They simply do not have the necessary information.

You Must Provide a Clear Message to Your Referral Network

I don’t believe enough can be said about the quality, context and content of your message to your referral network. All small and most medium sized businesses succeed or fail on their ability to get people talking about the business, the individuals, the products and the services; if you can’t get this conversation going, you will not succeed!

Your Message Must Be Easy to Remember

Make it easy on yourself and your referral network; create a easily remembered message. Your referral network wants to help you, but they only have a limited amount of time and bandwidth for it to happen. It’s up to you to create a message they can easily share with their contacts.

Your Message Must Be in the Form of a Story

We have all heard “facts tell and stories sell”; your message to your referral network is no different! You need to give them something they can remember and put to use on your behalf.

Don’t Clutter Your Message with Too Much Information

Most organizations and individuals clutter their messages. They create a message which lacks focus and can’t stick with the audience. The problems come from a position of fear. People are afraid they will miss an opportunity because they don’t share a particular fact; instead they share too many facts and nothing gets communicated or remembered.

You must be specific with your message. Decide the specifics of what you want to communicate and then focus. Avoid over communicating and cluttering; make it easy for your network to remember.

If the message cannot stick; your referral network will not remember!

You Need To Make Your Message Sticky

Chip and Dan Heath wrote a book a few years ago Made to Stick and this is what you must do with your message. You message must stick with your audience. It goes back to the old speech writer’s or presenter’s instructions; tell your audience what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell your audience what you told them.

Your message must be one specific message and your referral audience will help you!


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You Must Speak the Language of Your Referral Network

Do You Speak the Language of Your Audience

Successful networkers, business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, salespeople and others have one significant trait in common; the ability to speak a language their audience understands. The ability to speak in a manner your audience understands is the key to effectively delivering your message! This is especially true with your referral network; the topic of this article.

If your referral network doesn’t understand your message; they will be ineffective in providing referrals and, in most cases, they will not even make an attempt on your behalf. Your referral network wants a message which is clear, to the point and easy to remember. Anything else and your attempts to convey your message will be wasted effort.

Things to Avoid When Delivering Your Message

Things you want to avoid in your message:

  • TMI – Too Much Information;
  • Overuse of industry jargon and acronyms;
  • Complex terms and descriptions;
  • Lists of skills, abilities, products and services;
  • Irrelevant references and information;
  • Too many options;
  • The appearance of a “Jack of All Trades, but Master of None”; and
  • Trust, reliability and credibility issues.

TMI – Too Much Information

Sometimes we get carried away when we start talking about what we do or have to offer. If your goal is to educate your referral network they must have a clear understanding of what you do, the products you sell or the services you provide. You need to know and be able to convey your primary message.

Overuse of Industry Jargon and Acronyms

Your goal should not be to make your referral network an expert in your field. (As a side note, if a conversation can rapidly create experts; you have a bigger problem to address!) You want to avoid using jargon and acronyms because your referral network, most likely, will not remember these terms or, at least, be unable to explain the terms. Rather than be embarrassed, they will not give the referral!

Your job is not to impress your referral network; your job is to educate your referral network!

Complex Terms and Descriptions

This is a big problem for many professionals whether they are doctors, engineers, computer nerds (I’m one so I can say this) or others where there are many complex terms. Using these terms may impress your referral network or most others in your audience; but they won’t bring you referrals. Your referral network must be able to easily tell your story. If they can’t; they won’t!

Lists of Skills, Abilities, Products and Services

Lists will be forgotten. Pick one or two, at the most, important points and then use those points in a story explaining the value provided. People remember stories, they do not remember lists.

Irrelevant References and Information

Don’t bog your audience down with unnecessary information. You want them to remember the important points so don’t get carried away with irrelevant details. Make your story easy and, even better, enjoyable to relate.

Too Many Options

Focus on the key points you want your audience to remember! Don’t give them a list of options and hope they remember something. Make it easy for them to make your case and refer you.

The Appearance of a “Jack of All Trades, but Master of None”

In an attempt to avoid missing opportunities we often try to present ourselves as being able to do anything and everything. Your referral network will never be able to figure this out and effectively refer you. They may give a referral saying you can do anything, but it diminishes your value and your ability to be compensated for the value you bring to the table. People will take advantage of you and without the initial specificity you will be hard pressed to argue the point.

Trust, Reliability and Credibility Issues

Lastly the language you speak MUST speak to your trust, reliability and credibility. These traits are critical to a strong referral network. If the members of your referral network have any doubts or concerns regarding your trust, reliability and credibility; they will not take a chance and refer you. Your referral network has built a relationship with their network and they will not risk jeopardizing those relationships on someone they do not find trustworthy, reliable or credible.


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Avoid the Awkward Moments of Networking

Overcoming Awkward Moments When Networking

Just like anything else, networking has many opportunities for awkward moments. Knowing how to handle those moments can help put you and the person you are with at ease. These are some of the awkward moments I have experienced and some I have only heard in discussion or read the stories.

8 Awkward Networking Situations You Must Avoid or at Least Be Able to Handle

Not Remembering Someone’s Name

I’ve had these experiences; everyone has these memory lapses. Don’t be embarrassed if you can’t remember someone’s name. Get over it and reintroduce yourself. Chances are this person may not remember your name either and shares your discomfort. Even better if you remember where you met previously and can reestablish the circumstances you can move toward a stronger relationship.

Don’t Force Your Business Card on the People You Meet

You don’t need to give a business card to everyone you meet. Only give your card if they ask; otherwise forget it. On the other hand DO NOT FORGET TO GET THEIR CARD! Ideally you should do this early in the discussion. The person who gets the business card first takes control of the meeting and gives this individual the opportunity to direct the discussion.

Always Have an Ample Supply of Business Cards

Guilty again! In times past I was confused as to what I was trying to do and therefore wasn’t sure what to put on my business card. What a mistake!

If people ask for a card you must be ready with your business card. Saying you forgot your cards is a weak position and very unimpressive. In many ways you are telling those you meet that you don’t take yourself seriously and therefore they shouldn’t take you seriously either.

Don’t Get Caught with Your Mouth and Hands Full of Food and Drink

If you are truly there for networking purposes don’t try to eat all the shrimp (my weakness). Keep your hands empty so you can shake hands, collect business cards and show you take your networking seriously. If you feel you might offend the event host, take a small plate, eat quickly and clear your hands. After that you should never have more than a non-alcoholic drink in one hand.

Don’t Be Distracted When You Are Talking to Someone

You have seen it and maybe you have done it as well. Someone is in a conversation and simply can’t stay focused. They are looking around to see who else is there or who is walking through the door. Your credibility is at issue; the person you are currently talking with is the most important person at the moment!

Be Friendly but Don’t Over Do It

Some people believe they must meet everyone at the event, but they don’t know how to do it gracefully. Actually few people can do it gracefully; so don’t make a fool of yourself and show insincerity!

Don’t Get Too Involved in Detailed Business Conversations

Networking events are just that; an opportunity to network and start a relationship. Some people do not feel a networking event is successful unless they walk away with new business or at least a very hot prospect.

Networking events are the opportunity to find some common ground, other than business, where a relationship can get a foothold. People like to do business with people they know. They want to be comfortable with the relationship and feel their new contact has credibility.

Don’t Use a Networking Event as an Opportunity to Get Free Advice

Many of the people at networking events may have valuable information you could use for your business. Don’t use the event as an opportunity to try to get free information. These individuals have invested time and money to get their knowledge, just as you have invested to get your knowledge; don’t compromise the relationship just so you can get something for free!


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Credibility: Your Most Important Ability

Do You Have Credibility with Your Network?

You may have many skills and abilities, but if your credibility suffers or you have no credibility: you have a problem! If your credibility is called into question people will not hire you, will not refer you and will do all they can to avoid you.

Your Credibility Is Key to Successful Networking

Whether you are meeting someone face-to-face, through a Social Network or on-line using Skype or Google+; you must be able to quickly begin establishing your credibility. If your new connection doesn’t see you as credible the relationship doesn’t have the necessary foundation to blossom.

Face-To-Face Meetings

If you are meeting face-to-face; you may be able to create credibility by simply being a good listener. Many people like to talk and being a good or great listener can get you far along the path of credibility. Of course, you may leave the conversation with a not-so-great impression of the other person; but you have done your part to sell yourself and that is important!

Meeting Through Social Networking

When you are meeting someone through social networking the content of your profile must carry the load for you and allow people to draw a positive conclusion about who you are and your values. Your profile must establish your credibility!

Your credibility is established with your headline, picture and summary. Your credibility is enhanced by the completeness of your experience, education, skills, interests, recommendations (given and received) and skills.

An incomplete or sketchy profile leaves questions in the mind of the person viewing your profile. Depending upon the reason for the visit a poor profile may cause them to leave and never return. Are you prepared to run the risk?

I have read many profiles where the intent appears to be convincing the reader of the profile owner’s credibility; that’s the wrong way to go about it! You can’t tell people about your credibility; you need to show actions which allow people to come to their own conclusions either on their own or with input from others; if you are depending upon your ability to convince them… Good Luck!

Meeting On-Line

When you are meeting on-line you must be prepared and present yourself properly; again this is your chance to make a great first impression and start establishing your credibility. This is not the time to be in sweats, curlers, pajamas or anything other than business casual to professional attire.

If you are meeting on-line, you also need to ensure all of your technology is working properly and you know how to use it correctly. This is not the time to be learning. I’m speaking somewhat from experience. I was doing an on-line meeting and I wasn’t prepared; fortunately it wasn’t our first meeting so I had been able to build some credibility; it suffered a little from the fiasco, but I was able to eventually recover. These are mistakes you don’t need; especially with a new contact.

Your Focus Must Be on Building Your Credibility and Success Will Follow

When you have credibility you can often overcome missing skills, experience, education and other characteristics. Having all the characteristics, skills, experience and education, however, cannot overcome a lack of credibility!


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The Six Networking Fears You Must Overcome

Facing Your Fear of Networking

Even though we have been introducing ourselves to new people since our early years; many people are more hesitant now, than they were as a child, to meet someone new. The fear associated with networking is almost as debilitating as the fear of speaking in public. And public speaking is another skill we have been perfecting since we were very young. We speak in public every day and we meet new people every day; speaking and networking are natural processes!

The Six Networking Fears

  1. I don’t want them to say no;
  2. What will they expect from me;
  3. What will they think of me;
  4. I don’t have time for the people I currently know;
  5. I’ve seen a lot of pushy people and I don’t want people to think of me that way; and
  6. It’s too cold and impersonal.

I Don’t Want Them to Say No

The fear of rejection is very strong for a lot of people; enough of a fear they will avoid the situation where someone can say no. The better way to think of this is if someone does say no; you really haven’t lost anything because you didn’t have it in the first place.

There are two options either you gain a new connection or you stay in the same place. It’s not a situation where you can go backwards!

What Will They Expect from Me?

This is a great question if you look at networking as a score card. Some people are truly in it for themselves and they are constantly looking for a payback. They give nothing if they do not believe they will be receiving in return. These are not the people you want in your network. Not that you will throw them out, but you won’t spend time nurturing the relationship. You want to spend your time on those who are worthy of your time.

True networking is from the heart and works out of a desire to be helpful to others.

What Will They Think of Me?

The first question is why are you looking to connect with the individual? Are you networking or begging? If you are going to your potential connection with your hand out looking for them to give you something; it will definitely leave a bad taste in their mouth. On the other hand if you are going with a sincere desire to network and interest in the individual; you will be fine.

The simple act of reaching out to connect isn’t going to cause alarm; it’s the intent behind your desires which have the potential to create problems. If you are honest, sincere, caring and genuine; you will have no problem with people thinking poorly of you.

I Don’t Have Time for the People I Currently Know

Our friendships and relationships are constantly evolving. Friends come and friends go; taking the position you don’t have time for new relationships is opportunity limiting. When we keep our circle of friends small or filter out the new relationships; we will only see what we already know. We need the influx of new people to precipitate an influx of new ideas.

I’ve Seen a Lot of Pushy People and I Don’t Want People to Think of Me That Way

Networking doesn’t mean you are trying to force yourself on someone. You’re not trying to be a stalker. There are a lot of pushy, overbearing people out there; however, that doesn’t mean you need to be one of them.

If you are attempting to connect with someone who believes networkers are pushy and overbearing you should be looking for other networking opportunities; chances are high this individual doesn’t have much to offer anyway.

It’s Too Cold and Impersonal

Cold and impersonal describes the person who is out for his or her self. This is the person who starts a discussion, does a quick qualify and, if you don’t measure up, moves on to the next target. I have heard numerous stories like this describing the entertainment industry in Southern California.

Cold and impersonal is a very self-absorbed group who feel you should be honored they gave you a few moments of their time.

If you are sincere in your interest in the individual you are attempting to gain as a connection; you will not be described as cold and impersonal by your connections.


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Referrals: To Get Referrals You Must First Give Referrals

Referral Success Starts with a Give First Mentality

Recently Constant Contact reported 82.6% of businesses rely on referrals for new customers. What Constant Contact did not say is; how you can increase your referrals to build your business.

Increasing referrals is best accomplished with a give first mentality. When you refer a potential customer, employee, product or service; you are serving two people, having specific needs. You are helping both parties solve their problem and you MUST have no expectations.

A Successful Referral Network Starts When Your Network Knows You Are Different

First, Your Network Is Not About You!

Your network members must know you are different! You must demonstrate you are networking for mutual benefit; not personal gain. Mutual benefit does not simply mean an exchange of goods and services; mutual benefit means a legitimate concern for each party and an interest in each other’s success.

Second, A Referral Network Is Based Upon Knowledge of the Value Proposition of Your Members

  1. What value do your network members offer to their audience?
  2. What differentiates your network member from their competitors?
  3. What stories can you relate of how your network members helped their audience to explain their value?
  4. How would you describe their ideal audience? and
  5. Can you connect the dots between opportunities and the members of your network?

When you take the time to learn this information about your network members; they will understand your sincerity in being a valuable contact. When you make your first referral they will understand your commitment to being a referral member.

In one of his many training programs, Power Networking, Brian Tracy speaks of his networking process. He asks people he meets to describe their ideal client, he makes notes on the back of their business card and immediately begins looking for an individual or organization which meets the description so he can make a referral.

Do you do this? Are you looking for ways to help the members of your network find new opportunities and business?


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