A Little Story About LinkedIn Training and FreeConferenceCall.com

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Website Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | @MJMeetings Husband

This past July I was invited by my good (and totally awesome) friend Jamie Gagnon, National Sales Manager at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, to do several short LinkedIn presentations for 70+ Meeting Planners for their annual Wynn Forum event.

diane-goodman-liDuring my time in Vegas and leading up to the event, I’d heard the name Diane Goodman several times because she and her team booked several of the other speakers for the event.

Diane is the owner of Goodman Speakers Bureau and they’ve been booking keynote speakers for events since 1979.

Unfortunately (and a NetworkingFAIL on my part), I saw Diane a couple of times but we never had a chance to talk to one another. Thankfully she saw my LinkedIn Presentation and it sparked her interest. About a week or two after I returned to Kansas City, I got an email from Diane asking what it would take to train her team on how to utilize LinkedIn more effectively.

We had a phone conversation where I laid out how we typically deliver our LinkedIn Training. I let her know that we typically do these training sessions in person for a wide variety of reasons…primarily because in-person training allows us to read the room and engage and interact with the participants.

goodmanspeakerslogoDiane understood but asked if I could do the LinkedIn training virtually. I told her what it would take to get it done, she signed the proposal, and we were on our way.

The only thing I needed to figure out next was which free service I could use that would allow me to do a conference call, screen sharing and maybe even video if I needed it.

So I did a little research and the one I landed on for this training session was FreeConferenceCall.com. It was super easy to set up an account and I was impressed by the several great free features they offered.

Diane and I did a “test run” of the service a few days before the training and everything worked great. A few days later, I did a 2-hour virtual LinkedIn Training session covering just about everything I know about LinkedIn, including what makes a great LinkedIn profile, how to personalize LinkedIn invitations and more. FreeConferenceCall.com worked like a charm.

The audio was clear, the screen sharing worked perfectly, and I was even able to pull myself up on video at the beginning of the session to introduce myself to the team. (I then quickly turned the video off because I didn’t want my big smiling face to be a distraction during the training session.)

freeconferencecall-comDiane said the training went well and that her team would be working on their profiles and using LinkedIn more regularly going forward.

I was happy that she and her team felt the training was beneficial and now they know how to leverage LinkedIn better for themselves and for the business.

And while my preference is still to do LinkedIn training face-to-face with organizations and their teams, FreeConferenceCall.com worked perfectly for this situation.

When I told Jason about this virtual training session, he found the following article online: Top 10 Conference Call Services of 2016. Each has their own features/benefits/limitations and it’s a great list if you find yourself in a similar situation where you’re looking for a free or cost-effective solution.  

Have you used FreeConferenceCall.com or any similar service? Let me know what you think and share your comments below so that we and our readers can learn from your experience.

If you and your team are interested in learning how to better leverage LinkedIn for your business, email me at mic@bluegurus.com or call me at 913-645-6650.

Why You Need To Immediately Stop Ignoring LinkedIn Invitations

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Website Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | @MJMeetings Husband

I’m going to ask you a question and I already know what your answer will be. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that 100% of the people who read this question will have the exact same answer.

Have you ever received a LinkedIn connection request from someone you didn’t know that read:
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”?

Of course the answer is YES. We all have. It’s one of the most annoying LinkedIn “bugs”that happens to every single one of us, often multiple times a week. Even worse, it wastes time and discourages engagement, which is the exact opposite thing a social network is supposed to do.

A big reason why this happens is because LinkedIn hasn’t made it obvious how to personalize LinkedIn connection requests. (HINT: The easiest way is to do it from your computer and click the blue CONNECT button directly from a person’s LinkedIn profile page). One of these days LinkedIn will wake up and make personalizing invitations the default option anytime you hit the blue CONNECT button anywhere on their site or app. But until then…

I’m guessing you’re like most people and, when you get a connection request with the default “invitation” message and you don’t know the person, you hit the IGNORE button.

Pending LinkedIn InvitationsI’m here to tell you that, especially if you have business development responsibilities, you need to immediately stop doing that and start doing this instead:

  1. Move your mouse and hover over the “invitations” icon in the upper right hand corner of your LinkedIn account.
  2. Click on “Pending Invitations”.
  3. Instead of hitting the IGNORE button, hit the little arrow that appears to the right of the person’s picture.
  4. Reply button on LIType a message asking the person why they were interested in connecting with you. Here’s a message I use often:

    Hi X,

    Thank you for the connection request. I wanted to let you know that I typically connect to people who I’ve met, know, trust, respect, can vouch for, etc. It’s certainly nothing personal; just how I choose to grow and protect my network.

    Please let me know what interested you in connecting and what led you to my profile. If you’re interested in the services that Blue Gurus provides, I’d be happy to set up a time to chat by phone.

    Thank you,


Ever since LinkedIn rolled out the “chat” feature, I’ve been regularly using this approach. And when I do, I get responses back from people 95% of the time. Below are a few actual responses I’ve received recently:

“I am looking for a reputable firm in the KC area with Word Press expertise. I ran across your profile and company based on a search directly related to that. Let me know if you have an interest in discussing your Word Press related skills and services. Dave”

LI response“Hi Mic, I connected with you because of two mutual connections… I also have a friend looking to start a website and wanted to refer you to her. Please feel free to not accept my invitation. Thank you for asking. Have a great day. Dawn”

“Mic, I appreciate that. Honestly i was looking at hitting follow, rather than friend request just because I am trying to “see” more of the influencers in my feed and, both “LinkedIn Trainer” and “WordPress Website Guy” both jumped at me, when I stumbled onto your profile/ Not taking it personal, I totally understand the need to protect your network. I do not need any services at this point in time, but will keep it in mind if the need arises. Thank you for your reply. Sincerely, Laurence”

“Good Day Mic, I recently started following you based on a comment you made on someone else’s positive post. I just appreciate motivating individuals to help the entire team succeed vs. going at it alone and being miserable. I have read a few of your posts and thought I’d like to connect. I understand that you limit yourself and I am content to continue to follow you. Stay positive you’re doing tons of good! Make it a great day! Carrie”

So what’s the point of all of this? If you just hit the IGNORE button and don’t take the time to engage with people, you’re potentially missing out on real business opportunities, career opportunities, new subscribers/audience for your blog, new LinkedIn followers, the chance to add quality relationships to your network, and who knows what else!

Again, a big reason all of us have to deal with this “extra step” is because of LinkedIn. But another reason is because people can be REALLY LAZY when it comes to using LinkedIn effectively (Pretty crazy how many people still have horrible LinkedIn profiles, isn’t it?).

The good news? Now that I’ve shown you exactly what to do, you don’t have an excuse anymore to not engage people who are interested in connecting with you! I’m not saying you have to do this process every single time.

I’m not saying you have to connect to everyone you engage with. But I am saying that you owe it to yourself to take this simple extra step to see if it might lead to something that could be beneficial to you, your company, your career, etc. for years to come.

Does your business need help with LinkedIn? We’ve been helping companies for the last 7 years learn how to use LinkedIn more effectively. We’d love to help you. To learn more, give me a call at 913-645-6650 or email me at mic@bluegurus.com.

Who Will Show Up At Your Funeral?

Hello friends. It’s Jason with this week’s blog post.

I’ve been thinking about doing this post for a few weeks now, but I struggled writing it and it never seemed like a good time to publish it. And I know this post isn’t about what we do at Blue Gurus or a tip on blogging or LinkedIn, but it’s something important to me and I hope it’s thought provoking for you.

I had some time over the long holiday weekend to put my thoughts down, so here goes. (Be sure to check out the link to the instructions at the bottom of this post for disabling a LinkedIn profile for someone that has passed, but their profile is still active.)

My Friend Jim

JimA good friend of mine, Jim Belfield, died on April 10th in a car wreck. He was only 54 years old.

Jim was a dentist with his own practice. I met Jim on the golf course and remember being impressed with how good a golfer he was. I mention this detail because it’s important later…

He joined one of the peer advisory groups I’m in and our relationship grew strong over many years together. We shared the ups and downs of life. We talked about business. We talked about family. We talked about leadership. We talked about providing for friends, family and those in need. We talked about stuff that matters. We shot skeet at Powder Creek together. And we loved eating goldfish crackers together at our business retreats at the lake.

Jim continues to have an impact on my life and I think about him often. I know there are literally thousands of people that can say the same thing.

Who Will Show Up At Your Funeral?

I chose the title for this post because for me, it’s the most important point.

The question is, “Who will show up at your funeral?” The answer for Jim was, “a whole lot of people.”

PAG at the LakeJim’s funeral was at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Johnson Drive. It’s a large church with a beautiful sanctuary. And it was completely full. There were literally hundreds of people that showed up to honor Jim and support his family. It was an amazing testament to the life that Jim led. He impacted so many people with his love and generosity.

I attended the service with the other members of our peer advisory group.

Mike Jones, one of the founders of our group, has always talked about how we are “stretcher bearers” for each other in life. That we would do life together for many, many years and ultimately serve as pallbearers for each other until we were too frail or too few to do so. We weren’t the pallbearers at the cemetery, but we were definitely Jim’s pallbearers in spirit.

One of Jim’s best friends and golfing partners spoke at the funeral. (His nickname is “Captain Fairway” because he usually ends up in the fairway when he’s golfing.) He did such an amazing job. I’d held it together pretty well until he told the story of he and Jim winning a Lake Quivira golf tournament.

Captain Fairway had a falling out with his next door neighbor. It was over something the neighbor had done. The tournament came down to Jim and Captain Fairway against the neighbor and one of his friends. When Jim and Captain Fairway ended up winning, it felt so good. He had finally beaten his nemesis and felt vindicated.

Jim walked up to Captain Fairway on that final green and said, “Can you forgive your neighbor now?”

It was a perfect example of the kind of person Jim was. And it definitely had me in tears.

What About Jim’s LinkedIn Profile?

Mic mentioned to me recently that he got a notice from LinkedIn that Jim was celebrating a work anniversary. Sadly, that’s not the case and it’s one of a million loose ends that hasn’t been taken care of when someone passes unexpectedly.

I didn’t want to bother the family about it, and they might not have known how to take care of it anyway.

If you know someone that passes, and you see that their LinkedIn profile is still active, all you have to do is fill out a form. You don’t even have to be a family member. Click here for the LinkedIn support ticket with instructions and a link to the form.

I miss you Jim. Thank you for being my friend and for giving me perspective. I will see you again some day, hopefully on a golf course with a healthy supply of goldfish crackers.

6 Hidden LinkedIn Features That Shouldn’t Be Hidden

Post author: Mic Johnson

Full disclosure. I’m a big fan of LinkedIn. I’ve been using it for the better part of the last 10 years…first as a recruiter and now as someone who trains others how to best leverage LinkedIn personally and professionally.

But I’ve never been a fan of the way LinkedIn makes it hard for people to see and do things that should be more prominent on the site. I hear the same feedback from people all of the time who say that LinkedIn isn’t user-friendly. That isn’t what you’d expect from a social network that’s been around for almost 14 years.

LinkedIn has all kinds of hidden features that shouldn't be hidden. Click To Tweet

With that in mind, I’m going to lift the veil on a few of those hidden features until LinkedIn makes them easier for everyone to find.

(NOTE: The features I’m highlighting are best viewed from a web browser (which is honestly where I still use LinkedIn the most) instead of their still-much-to-be-left-desired mobile app.)

Personalized LinkedIn Invitation1. Personalizing LinkedIn Invitations

This has been my #1 pet peeve with LinkedIn FOR YEARS. I have no idea why they won’t make it easier to personalize invitations. The way they have it set up currently DISCOURAGES engagement between LinkedIn users. Here’s the deal…

ConnectIf you click the blue CONNECT button just about anywhere on LinkedIn, it will automatically send the “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message.

UNLESS you’re on someone’s profile (on a web browser), and click the button there, then you’ll see the option to personalize your invitation as shown in the image here. (Or, if you’re on mobile and you’re on someone’s profile, you can click the three little dots in the upper right hand corner for an option to personalize your invitation.)

What really bothers me is NONE of this isn’t intuitive.

Most people will see a big blue CONNECT button and just click it….which is why all of us get countless impersonal “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” messages from people we don’t know and wonder why they want to connect. #LinkedInFail

Which takes me to my next point….

Pending LinkedIn Invitations2. How to Reply to Invitation Requests From People and See If They Wrote You a Personalized Message

When you hover over the icon showing you have pending invitations and then click on the words “Pending invitations” you get a page with the photo of the people who have sent you invites. But you don’t see a message from them, do you? NOPE. Why?

How to see a LinkedIn messageBecause in order to see if they wrote a personalized message, you have to click the little “quotes” and then an expanded window pops open.

What makes this even worse is if someone wrote you a personalized message that you never saw because you just clicked “ACCEPT” or “IGNORE” instead of hitting the little quotes.

I can’t imagine the number of times personalized messages are being completely missed because of this LinkedIn “hidden feature.”

It discourages engagement and it’s not intuitive. #LinkedInFail

3. Update Your Privacy and Other Settings

Privacy and SettingsDid you even know this was possible? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably NO. Why?

Because it’s hidden underneath your small profile picture in the upper right hand corner and you have to click that image to see the privacy and other options.

Again, sensing a theme here? Not intuitive. #LinkedInFail

4. How Many LinkedIn Active Sessions Do You Have Going?

LinkedIn Active SessionsI just found this setting the other day. If you go into your Privacy & Settings and click on ACCOUNT, you’ll see “Where you’re signed in.”

When I did it, I had TEN active LinkedIn sessions going…and one was from 3 months ago!

You can easily sign out of unwanted active sessions here, so that’s awesome. But again, LinkedIn makes you hunt to find this hidden feature, and that’s why it earns the #LinkedInFail.

Most Recent Updates5. Top Updates vs. Recent Updates

This is one of my bigger pet peeves with LinkedIn. Like any effective LinkedIn user, I spend time engaging with my connections by viewing/liking/commenting on their updates that appear in my “HOME” feed.

Little did I know that LinkedIn has the default view set to “Top Updates” instead of “Recent Updates.”

If you click HOME and then look right under “Publish a Post”, you will see three little dots like you see in this image here. Then select Recent Updates. I found there were several updates from my network that I wasn’t seeing because of the default “Top Updates” setup.

Also, and even more annoying, if you click away from the home page to another part of LinkedIn and then come back…yep, you guessed it, it defaults back to Top Updates.

I’m not a fan of social networks (Facebook does this too) choosing what they think I want to see instead of the other way around. #LinkedInFail

LinkedIn Relationship Tab6.  Relationship Tab

When you’re on the profile page of one of your connections, tucked right underneath their photo is the Relationship tab. Most people, myself included, haven’t paid much attention to this section.

From here, you can jot down notes about the person, set follow up reminders and tag (put the person in a category such as “Prospects”) them so they can be included, and sorted, among your contacts.

This could be a great feature and used more often, but the way it’s laid out in LinkedIn makes it missed more often than not. #LinkedInFail

In summary, LinkedIn is one of the best tools out there for connecting with people in business, finding people you share in common with others, and consuming and sharing quality content.

But LinkedIn needs to spend more time making the user experience more intuitive and and stop forcing people to click around to find hidden features. Until that day comes,I guess I’ll keep writing about them.

What other LinkedIn hidden features have you found? What recommendations do you have to help them improve the end user experience? Share your Comments below for us and our readers…and, as always, thank you for your support of Blue Gurus!

LinkedIn Tips From Our Friend Ernie Straub

Author: Jason Terry

I wanted to quickly follow up on all the great feedback Mic and I got on my post, “We do it because we love you. And we need your feedback!” two weeks ago. We heard validation on some key topics and we got some great ideas for future topics. Thank you so much to everyone who got back to us with comments and suggestions and for taking the time to read our stories. It means so much to us!

Ernie StraubErnie Straub

This week I wanted to cover some LinkedIn topics with you. The inspiration for this story comes from work I did last week with Ernie Straub at Straub Construction. He has a great story, which he goes into in his LinkedIn summary. He also asked some great questions. I thought you might like to hear the answers.

For those of you that don’t know, we’ve been working closely with Straub Construction for more than a year. We created their new website and blog. We also execute their monthly blogging program and set up an email newsletter system that automatically sends out their new blog stories to hundreds of people every month. I love hearing how their storytelling efforts are raising awareness in their industry and in the Kansas City community.

Have you reviewed your LinkedIn summary lately?

One of the reasons Ernie and I spent some time together was to update his LinkedIn summary. Mic and I show Ernie’s profile as an example of what a great profile looks like when doing LinkedIn training for other companies. We were doing another LinkedIn training class with our friends at Alterra Bank when I noticed that Ernie’s summary said, “For 91 years and three generations, the core values of Straub Construction have remained the cornerstone of our success. Those core values are as follows: Honesty, Integrity, Work Ethic, Respect and Accountability.”

The problem is that they’re celebrating their 96th year of being an award winning general contractor in Kansas City. We did LinkedIn training with Straub Construction about five years ago, and Ernie hasn’t had to change much on his summary since then. I recommended the change to Ernie at our February blogging session and he asked to do a full review of his profile with me to make sure it was up to date.

We ended up future proofing that sentence a bit by changing it to, “For almost 100 years and three generations…” And we made a few other changes as well together to get Ernie’s profile up to date.

When was the last time you reviewed your summary on LinkedIn?

How to see the total number of connections you have on LinkedIn

The next thing Ernie asked me about was how to see the total number of connections he had on LinkedIn. Ernie is well known and respected in this city. He definitely has more than 500 connections on LinkedIn. And once you have over 500 connections, LinkedIn displays your connection count as 500+. But what if you want to know the actual number of connections you’ve got? It used to be easy to find this number on the right hand side of your LinkedIn home page. And then LinkedIn moved it into the Connections area of their web site.

But I couldn’t find the number of connections there either! LinkedIn had once again made a change. And the way to find the total number of connections you have on LinkedIn is not obvious.

Log into LinkedIn and click “My Network | Connections” in the main menu at the top. You will see the screen below… and over to the right is a gear icon. Click the gear icon, and on the resulting page you will see your total number of connections towards the top of the screen.

LinkedIn Connection Count

How to look at your profile as the general public would see it

The last thing I covered with Ernie was how to look at his profile as the public would see it. To view your LinkedIn profile, you click Profile | Edit Profile. But if you are wanting to review your summary, you might not be able to see it easily because you’re in edit mode. All you have to do is click the blue “View profile as” button to see your profile as someone else would see it.

View profile as

Thanks again to Ernie for inspiring this story!

I recommend you review your LinkedIn profile summary if you haven’t in a while. And I hope you found the additional LinkedIn tips interesting and helpful. Talk to you soon!

I Don’t Have Time To Waste On LinkedIn

Post by: Jason Terry

I had a shocking thing happen to me last week at an event downtown. I was in a room full of great companies, many of which were fairly new. The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well in the room and I had a great time meeting people and learning about the new businesses. During the event, I was introduced to someone as “a blogger and LinkedIn Trainer”.

What they said next caught me completely off guard.

LinkedIn“There’s actually training for LinkedIn? I don’t believe in LinkedIn. It’s just a bunch of people inviting me that I don’t know. Or people looking for a job. I don’t have time to waste on LinkedIn.”

Their attitude was dismissive to say the least. It’s important to know that this person is directly involved in sales for their company and fairly high in the seniority pecking order. It’s a large company with hundreds of employees. And, ironically, we’ve trained the executive teams and key producers employed by eight other well known companies that compete in their industry in Kansas City!

Woah. And I mean, WOAH!

Let me take a step back for a second. We used to hear this kind of stuff more often but that was FIVE YEARS AGO. People had profiles on LinkedIn but rarely logged in to use it. People worried about putting themselves out there. Some people believed it was a fad, and some said they didn’t have time for it. It was early on in the major shift that was happening in business as social media began forcing a change in the way we buy and sell products and services.

LinkedIn has been around since December 2002. That’s amazing when you really think about it… LinkedIn is 14 years old as I’m writing this. Blue Gurus has been around since 2009. We’ve been training companies to use LinkedIn for going on 7 years now. We were teaching people how to use LinkedIn before it was cool and considered an integral part of doing business. And it was an uphill battle for years because people just didn’t understand the power of relationship through LinkedIn and storytelling through blogging.

Ok, back to the story…

Jason ShockedI was shocked at this person’s statements in 2016 about LinkedIn. Many of you know that I’m rarely at a loss for words, but it took me a few seconds to respond. The friend who had introduced us was obviously shocked as well. My honest response would have been, “You have no idea what you’re talking about. I assume you’ve never spent any real time or effort on LinkedIn. And I think it’s interesting that you would say things like that to someone when first meeting them.” Of course I didn’t say that… but I wanted to.

When I told Mic about the exchange and he said something that really resonated with me:

“I can’t stand people like that. They’ve been that way their whole career and nobody has called them on their bullshit. This person obviously hasn’t used LinkedIn, but they speak confidently like they have. They mock what they don’t understand.”

The thing that’s unfortunate is that this person has the ability to make a BIG difference in their company if they weren’t so closed-minded about new ideas and methods. If the attitude I witnessed is pervasive throughout their company and culture, they’re going to have a much harder time winning friends and influencing people in a very competitive market. And it’s a market where their competitors are embracing LinkedIn and blogging and seeing amazing results.

My hope for everyone reading this is that you don’t have people like this in your company. And don’t get me wrong… I love animated conversations with passionate people about any topic. I just think it’s important to be open minded and respectful when doing so.

You don’t have time to waste on LinkedIn? Seriously?

3 LinkedIn New Year’s Resolutions That Will Change Your Life

Post author: Mic Johnson

Yes, a new year is upon us and that means we’ve all been thinking about the things we could do better in 2016 to make it the best one yet. Some common business resolutions include…Get organized. Reduce stress. Change careers. Manage your email better. Find new clients.

Those are all worthy business-related resolutions, but let me give you three LinkedIn Resolutions that will change your life for the better:

1. Give Your LinkedIn Profile Some Love.
Upload a new picture. Update your professional headline. Update your Summary (or write one if you still haven’t done it). Fine tune your job descriptions.

I just went through this exercise myself and make a point to do it at least every 6 months. I found several things I wanted to change and “tighten up” on my profile. It’s time for you to be proud of your profile instead of saying Don’t Look at My LinkedIn Profile.

linkedin 32. Get Connected.
Are you still one of those people with 65 connections? Come on, now. You can do better. Take time each week to connect to people you know, trust and respect.

Build your network now. You never know when you’re going to need them or, better yet, when you might be able to help them.

(MicTip: Be sure to personalize your connection requests. From your desktop or laptop, go to the person’s profile and click the blue CONNECT button. You’ll see options there to personalize the message. Or, for iPhone users, go to a person’s profile on the LinkedIn App and click on the three dots in the upper right hand corner.)

3. Commit to Using LinkedIn Regularly. It Just Might Change Your Life.
You wouldn’t even be reading this post if I hadn’t been using LinkedIn regularly over 6 years ago. Why? It was on LinkedIn where I connected to Jason Terry, who was using LinkedIn to publish updates about this new company he started called Blue Gurus.

He posted about the company name he chose, he shared the logo, he shared blog posts, and more. And I saw all of it going on because, just like him, I was using LinkedIn effectively. LinkedIn doesn’t do anything for you or your business if you don’t use it.

Read that again: LinkedIn doesn’t do anything for you or your business if you don’t use it.

So how can you use it? Write a recommendation for someone in your network that’s awesome. Engage with your network by LIKE’ing or commenting on their posts. (or better yet, share their posts with your network.) Start a discussion in a LinkedIn Group. Publish a post yourself about a topic you’re passionate about. Provide an introduction between two of your connections. Those are just a few ideas to help get you started.

(MicTip: Copy and paste this entire article right now and create a weekly recurring calendar appointment to remind you to do these things. Sure you might get busy one week and not be able to get to it, but that reminder will be waiting for you next week…and the week after…and the week after.)

I hope you’ll share a LinkedIn success story with me once you commit to these LinkedIn Resolutions for 2016. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But I’m confident if you use it regularly…it will change your life…just like it did for me.

Good luck with all of your New Year’s Resolutions. Wishing you a 2016 full of health, happiness, good fortune and lots of LinkedIn!

All I Want From LinkedIn For Christmas Is…

Post author: Mic Johnson

For those of you who are regular readers of the Blue Gurus blog (Thank you. We LOVE you.), you might recall that I recently wrote a blog post titled “How to Personalize Invitations on LinkedIn’s Mobile App.”

It wasn’t obvious how to do it and that’s why I wrote the post. Of course just a couple of weeks later, LinkedIn rolled out a new version of their mobile app and do you know what happened?


micLItweetsIn other words, they took away a feature that ENCOURAGES ENGAGEMENT between their members.

When I saw that LinkedIn was updating their app, I thought for sure (and was hoping and praying as this has long been one of my complaints with LinkedIn) that the default behavior when you click the blue CONNECT button anywhere on LinkedIn would be the option to personalize your connection request.


I immediately sent a tweet to @LinkedInHelp and LinkedIn CEO @jeffweiner (he didn’t respond, but LinkedIn Help did) asking if this was a joke. It wasn’t.

And they told me to go to the Desktop application (Wait, what? You know that EVERYONE uses mobile these days, right?) to personalize messages

Which reminds me…the only way to personalize a connection request on LinkedIn currently is if you click the blue CONNECT button when you are ON SOMEONE’S PROFILE ON THE DESKTOP APPLICATION.

If you click it anywhere else, it sends the dreaded “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message.

I did a little digging (see below) and apparently the ability to personalize messages in the mobile app will be covered in a future release.

I love LinkedIn for a million reasons and preach about it during our LinkedIn Training sessions with companies. But they need to fix this…and quickly. Far too many “I’d like to send you an impersonal default LinkedIn message and not have any engagement with you at all or tell you why I even want to connect” messages are being sent every single day by LinkedIn’s 400 million users.

So help me out, LinkedIn. All I want for Christmas is the ability to PERSONALIZE CONNECTION REQUESTS FROM YOUR MOBILE APP.


Jolly St. Mic

LI future mobile app




How To Personalize Invitations On LinkedIn’s Mobile App

Post author: Mic Johnson

Ok, full disclosure here. I train people and companies on how to leverage LinkedIn both personally and professionally. And for a long time even I didn’t know how to do it. I looked and looked and couldn’t figure it out. But I knew there HAD to be a way to do it. All I knew was that it certainly wasn’t obvious. So I finally broke down one day and contacted LinkedIn directly and asked…

“Why can’t I customize LinkedIn invitation requests from your mobile app?”

Of course they replied back and said “You can” and went on to tell me how. I felt like an idiot, which I’m assuming isn’t how LinkedIn wants their users to feel. But I digress.

To prevent you from feeling like an idiot and to further prevent you from sending that mindbogglingly annoying and impersonal “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message ever again, here’s all you have to do:

1. Find a person’s profile on the LinkedIn Mobile App by searching for their name in the SEARCH box. Click on their name. It will take you to their personal profile. (Note: This is for the iPhone. I’m assuming Android devices are similar.)


LinkedIn Mobile Search

2. Click on the COMPLETELY UN-OBVIOUS three little dots in the upper right hand corner of the screen. DON’T CLICK ON THE COMPLETELY OBVIOUS BIG FAT BLUE CONNECT BUTTON because it will automatically send the aforementioned mindbogglingly annoying and impersonal “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message.


3. Choose CUSTOMIZE INVITE. Type your customized, personal, thoughtful invitation message and hit SEND.

Customized LI Invite

That’s it. So totally NOT OBVIOUS, right? One of these days LinkedIn will finally listen to my pleas to have customized invites be the default option anytime you click the BIG FAT BLUE CONNECT BUTTON.

But until then, at least now you know what to do. Happy connecting!

(Thank you to the awesome Jay Senter from the equally awesome Prairie Village Post for allowing me to use him to illustrate this tip for you! PVPost.com is a hyperlocal news site covering government, sports, events and business in northeast Johnson County, KS.)

You Should Be Publishing On LinkedIn. Here’s Why.

Post written by Mic Johnson, Content Marketing Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | Website Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Fan | @MJMeetings Husband

You may or may not know that LinkedIn has become a force when it comes to published content. It wasn’t always that way. People thought of LinkedIn as a business networking site and a place to look for a job. It’s so much more than that and they really changed the game and their trajectory when they announced in February 2014 (rather boldly, I might add) that they were “The Definitive Professional Publishing Platform.

DefinitivePublishingPlatformIn that post, they said:

“Starting today, LinkedIn is opening up our publishing platform to our members, giving them a powerful new way to build their professional brand. When a member publishes a post on LinkedIn, their original content becomes part of their professional profile, is shared with their trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled. Now members have the ability to follow other members that are not in their network and build their own group of followers.”

It’s not too late. If you haven’t thought about this before, now is the time to pay attention.

LinkedIn has 400 million people on it. One of the hardest things to do for any person or company is to gain followers and traction. There are so many people. There is so much content. It’s hard to break through and have your voice heard.

But LinkedIn said, “Hey, we’ve got the audience. We’ve given you the platform. Want to improve your personal brand? Want to encourage more people to learn about you and your company? Ok, then write something worthwhile. And then see what happens.”

PublishAPostNow I’ve been blogging for nearly 6 years. During that time I’ve posted all of my posts on the Blue Gurus Blog and then published the blog post links to our social accounts. That isn’t going to change anytime soon. That brings people to our website. That helps SEO. That’s just a good business practice for any business trying to market themselves.

But LinkedIn’s publishing platform intrigued me, so I tried it out. I didn’t put every post I’ve ever written out there, but I put a few. And recently I published “Don’t Look At My LinkedIn Profile.

And I was absolutely amazed at what happened next.

LinkedIn Pulse picked up my article and shared it in their “LinkedIn Tips” category. I’m not exactly sure how this all works, but suffice it to say that LinkedIn has people who are looking at the content that users are publishing.

Stats on DontLookAtMyLinkedInProfile (Custom)And if they like it and have a place for it (it probably didn’t hurt that my post was actually an article about LinkedIn), then they’ll promote it for you.

-To date, that post has over 3,200 views, 142 Like’s, and 47 comments.

-I engaged with people I’ve never met before who left comments on the post.

-I now rank in the top 4% for profile views among my connections.

-I have more people following me on LinkedIn now.

-And I’ve seen increased views on other status updates I’ve posted.

I’ve never had so much traction for one post in my life. Sure, the title was eye catching and the content of the post was helpful, but the key was that LinkedIn Pulse picked it up and promoted it for me. All I had to do was take the time to write a quality post and publish it on LinkedIn.

Top4percentThey don’t do this with every article I write, but one thing I know for sure…they aren’t going to promote content you’re proud of if you don’t put it out there.

So the next time you write a blog post, put it on your company website, but also think about publishing it on LinkedIn. It lives on your profile going forward so people that visit your profile can always see it. And it just might get picked up by LinkedIn Pulse and give you much more visibility than you could’ve gotten by yourself.

I can’t imagine why any business professional wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity. Creating awareness for any person or business is hard work. REALLY hard work.

LinkedIn has made that a whole lot easier. Publish a post today…and see what happens.