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May 3, 2022

Ep42 JD Gershbein - Developing Your LinkedIn Mindset

Today on the show, Strategy + Action = A LinkedIn Style Mindset

JD Gershbein is on the show today and we dig into developing your LinkedIn Style. 

This goes beyond LinkedIn and really applies to all the ways you can show up online or offline.  This gets into intentionality about when you're going to show up somewhere, what's your style?  Not necessarily the "I'm going to be that person who just lights up the room and dressed impeccably," although that's always great to strive for as well. 

But it really gets into just how you're going to show up.  We certainly do dig in a lot around how you present yourself on LinkedIn so that when somebody is considering connecting with you that the two and a half seconds that they go to your profile, or they see you putting out content of some kind, what's what version of you that they see?

It really pays to be purposeful and intentional with that as a reflection on you as a professional, your company if you own your own business or the company you're working for. 

And JD brings up the point that LinkedIn is still a business community.  So, just like how you're going to show up a certain way when you're interacting in the business world, a lot of that applies here on LinkedIn.  And so what JD has done is really gone full force into creating this LinkedIn Style Guide, his newsletter where he helps his audience with their style.  And then he speaks on this subject and works with clients to help develop their style on LinkedIn so that they show up the best way possible. 

So we have a blast in this conversation and we even get into how improv and what JT is doing all tie in together and the community he's building around that. 


Jason Croft  0:00  
Today on the show, Strategy + Action =  A LinkedIn Style Mindset.

Welcome to Strategy + Action.  JD Gershbein is on the show today, and we dig into LinkedIn style. Now before you start thinking, Oh, I'm not on LinkedIn, it doesn't matter. This really applies to anything you're going to going to do online or offline. This really gets into intentionality about when you're going to show up somewhere, what is your, what's your style, right? And not necessarily the you know, the high end, I'm going to be that person who just lights up the room was dressed impeccably, not not just that aspect of style, although that's always great to strive for as well. But it really gets into just how you're going to show up. And we dig in a lot around LinkedIn. But again, it applies to so many different different layers in different areas. But how do you show up on LinkedIn so that when somebody connects with you wants to connect with you, you're trying to connect with them that two and a half seconds that they go to your profile, or they see you putting out content of some kind, what what version of you is showing up out there. And it really pays to be purposeful and intentional with that as a reflection on you as a professional, your company if you you own your own business or the company you're working for. 

And you know, JD brings up a great point in this of, you know, LinkedIn is still a business community. And just like, you're going to show up a certain way, when you're interacting in the business world. A lot of that applies here on LinkedIn. And so what JD has done is really gone full force into creating this LinkedIn style, you know, the LinkedIn style guide, his newsletter that he's got going on, and being very purposeful, and then speaking on this subject and working with clients to help develop their style on LinkedIn so that they show up the best way possible. So we have a blast in this conversation and we even get into you know how improv and what JD is doing all ties in together, and the community he's building around that. Alright, let's jump in.

Welcome to Strategy + Action.  . I have the great honor to be here with JD Gershbein. JD How are you, sir? 

JD Gershbein  3:16  
Well, I'm going to have to match your pipes with pipes of my own. So I'm going to bring out my best radio voice here and say, Jason, thanks for having me. 

Jason Croft  3:25  
That's great. I'm cheating with the microphone here. That's what that's what I use. So 16 filters make me so halfway decent. 


JD Gershbein  3:36  
Mines all trachea and diaphragm, my man.

Jason Croft  3:40  
Nice.  So glad to have you here. For everyone watching, you know, this is a perfect example of connecting on LinkedIn with just like minded folks. And and why you do it. You and I met in Larry Kaul's Revenue Climber group.  You came on my radar, essentially. So I'm following you on LinkedIn. And a post came out a few weeks ago that really sparked the reason for this episode and the topic that I want to dig into, which is all around creating a LinkedIn style.

And I think that really goes into at the core being purposeful, when you show up anywhere, right? And then, you know, with your expertise around LinkedIn, it's really talking about that. So I want to dig in deep with all that. But give us some context a little bit Who the heck is JD Gershbein. And what led you to this, you know, the anger that generated the LinkedIn style.

JD Gershbein  4:40  
I think we're going to need to put a team of Stanford scientists on that project and see what their findings reveal. You know, I birthed this concept of LinkedIn style, really at the start of 2022. And we were approaching the end of year two of the global pandemic and I think the pandemic has really shifted our behaviors as business

As people as human beings in general, I mean, we, we never thought we would be the generation that would have to deal or weather the storm of a global pandemic or a real healthcare crisis, that that threw the human species into chaos. And what it did was Jason, it forced us into the business world online. And suddenly there were no face to face meetings, there was no way to look a colleague or a potential client in the eye, shake their hand and do business with them. It all had to be accomplished in the, in the uncertainty and the volatility of the online world. And I was already there, I didn't make much of an adaptation I, I tell people, I was a digital citizen, from the moment I sent my first email back in 1990, whatever the hell it was. So I was already established, I was working virtually, I could do business anywhere in the globe and do and it just kind of came natural to me that, okay, we were done with the playbook, whatever we had before the pandemic is out the window, there needs to be new rules. And there was a new dynamic, I could see it, I could feel it, I could literally put my finger on it. I could see on LinkedIn, what people were doing. They were reevaluating, they were rebranding, they were reinventing themselves in ways they never imagined or done before. All through this autonomy that the pandemic had given us. And I just kind of thought about it in terms of style, I took what I knew from the physical world of style, which has its roots in the in the fashion world. I mean, if you do ask people, what they think of when the word style comes to mind, they probably harken back to, to a way of manners a way of doing things a way of expressing expressing themselves. So I kind of extrapolated what I took from style, and I'm kind of a menswear guy, I'm I'm, I'm a dapper guy in the real world. And I, I've learned from some of the great style gurus and not that I'm one but I just started to apply that thinking and that knowledge and that wisdom to what I did on LinkedIn. And it turns out that, yes, what we do, how we express ourselves, how we comport with our fellow professionals, how we, how we message how we post content, how we engage on the posts of others, this is all our style, virtual style. Yeah, I love that. And, you know, it's, it is pulling from, you know, the fashion world, pulling from some somewhere else. And, you know, other other folks may have the connotation around branding, right, having a style guide there, which also meshes perfectly with what you're talking about here. And I think it's just really just a slight shift to say, what is my style going to be on LinkedIn that goes far beyond the brand colors you're using? What you look like when you when you show up on a zoom or a LinkedIn live or something, but it incorporates all of it, but it goes quite a bit deeper, right? It goes into your voice, the the you that you want to show up and, and how you're going to interact with folks. Right? Right. Your style, especially on LinkedIn is how you proclaim yourself to the world, in this case, the business world, it's i Yes, it's the physical world. But then this world that exists beyond the screen, which a lot of individuals have trouble figuring out. I've noticed that through the years I've done this since 2006. Many professionals, bright talented, educated people can't acculturated into the, into the online world, they have problems, even doing basic tasks that maybe some of us more digitally inclined people take for granted. But when we refer, we refer to someone who's stylish who was on a quest for sophistication when I'm calling the style journey, and striving for a sense of individuality. And when they when the desire for individuality emerges. A sense of style kind of follows. And it's it's refined appearance, it's dignified conduct. It's, it's doing things with style. It's a tag affixed to folks who embrace elegance and assert themselves with spirit talent and character.

Jason Croft  9:24  
Yeah, I think you I think you like, again, like a brand or reputation. You have a style, whether you are purposeful about it or not, are not. And if you're if you're not, that's one that's going to come across, right if it's all over the place, or are not showing up well or anything like that.  And so what we're suggesting here certainly is how critical not just on LinkedIn, but anywhere any room that you walk into, it's it's so important and rewarding and beneficial to decide on that style that you're going to present to the world, right? Just like having an outcome for a conversation. Right? Having that beforehand. And being very purposeful with that, I think is really strong. What? What's happened recently, I guess, as you've seen, the lack of style out there or the lack of purposefulness around the style maybe linked on LinkedIn specifically, that really triggered something for you to say, Okay, I've got to get, I've got to get really vocal about this. And this is what needs my attention. Yeah. Great leading edge question there, sir.

JD Gershbein  10:45  
I think we've all seen some really bad actors out there on LinkedIn. And what happened during the early stages of the pandemic in say, spring of 2020, is that people flew into the online world, they may have tinkered with their LinkedIn profiles to some extent, but they came at people with both barrels, just selling, selling, selling, selling, selling, and these predatory marketing practices, which were implemented prior to the pandemic, which, in my opinion, I call the I call it the ugly side of digital marketing. It's these spammy automated messages that just, and they're churned out by the 10s of 1000s, to people and people were starting to complain in my workshops, and in my programs, about just getting spammed incessantly by people who wanted to sell them a product they didn't need or want. And with all that we're hearing about building trusted relationships. And I mean, I can't imagine who the hell is buying this? I mean, these are expensive programs. They violate LinkedIn ads, service agreement, their terms of service, you can't spam anybody. But yet, what do people do? It's just a spam fest. Yeah. And it's so it's fascinating, too, because

Jason Croft  12:00  
the same question goes through my mind, I'm like, who's saying, Who's saying yes to this stuff, right. But it also, it also hurts everyone who wants to genuinely reach out and connect on LinkedIn. Number one, people's guards are up because of all this stuff going on. But also the people who want to reach out don't want to come across as that person. Well,

JD Gershbein  12:28  
to your point, we saw some pattern mimicking, we saw people who were on the receiving ends of these messages who thought, well, that's the way to do it, I'm gonna have to load up a sales pitch, and I'm gonna have to hit people over the head with a sledgehammer to get them to buy from me. And you could start to see it, you could start in the early going of the pandemic, and zoom rooms, where people were putting 3456 paragraphs of their value proposition in the chat room with every link, LinkedIn profile website, Facebook, profile, Instagram, I mean, it was insane how the selling was happening. And I found it to be very offensive, very intrusive, and very annoying, especially when it was on an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, which is the most egregious breach of ethics of all. And it just it said, Well, this, nobody's getting style points for this. This is not stylish. This is just, it's bordering on annoying, and it separates the true technicians from the people who just want to sell a product or service. And those are the people that you want to gravitate to, again, sophistication, elegance, a sense of refinement, that comes from knowing how to open conversations with people, and arrive from a place of service. And, and, and authenticity.

Jason Croft  13:45  
Yeah, and I mean, the the positive spin on it, which I'm always looking for is that it helps you stand out, as you know, one of the good ones know that much more. The negative, of course, is that you have to you have to fight that current a little bit, you know, and get past that initial stage that maybe it would have been a little bit easier four or five years ago to just say, Hey, how's it going? I want to connect, and people would go like, okay, you know, now you got to get through some walls to even get there.

JD Gershbein  14:16  
Right. And you also have to follow up because we've come to the realization, haven't we not Jason, that we've been connecting with people many since the inception of LinkedIn in 2002. And when it went to market in 2003, there are people who have built some immense and very deep five digit networks. And how on earth do you manage something like that? Nobody has the bandwidth to do that. So nowadays, where I see style, stylish LinkedIn use going is toward organic network assembly and conceptualizing your network is more of a community and not just bringing people in who you think may buy from you. If they're not buying today, then maybe in the future, but really surrounding yourself with people, as you said at the outset of your program, like minded, it's very difficult to ascertain like mindedness, people will come at you on an invitation and say, Hey, JT, I'm extending you this invitation. So I'd like to connect with like minded people. Well, how do you know I'm like minded I'm, I could be completely different minded are unlike minded, but I think right now, we've become a little bit more discerning in our tastes more selective in who we bring into our networks. And that bodes well. Because if you are going to go out there as a brand, and demonstrate a sense of style, you have to walk your talk, you have to live up to what you're stating about yourself in your profile.

Jason Croft  15:41  
Yeah, so So what goes goes into this thought process? Somebody who's all in, they buy into, like, oh, I hadn't thought about it this way. Awesome. You know, what's, what's step one from both their approach, really just talking LinkedIn here, you know, their approach to say, I want to first decide on my style, right, you know, kind of land on something? And then how do they put that in front of folks on LinkedIn in the best way possible?

JD Gershbein  16:09  
terrific question. And I'll preface by saying that nothing has really changed in my style paradigm, I, you still have to adhere to best practices, best practices are best practices, they, they do undergo subtle shifts of their own. But for the most part, this is what moves the needle and gets the best results over time, with repeated use. And that is, obviously tending to the LinkedIn profile, we have seen the emergence of the LinkedIn profile as one's most prized visual asset in the business world. Because when they hear of you, when they learn of you, when they catch wind of you, where are they going? First? from a business point of view? Easy answer loaded question, Jason, what's the answer? Right to your profile, your LinkedIn profile, thank you very much. So the review of that profile the psychology of a visitor to your profile is, they're not going to spend a lot of time unless you have something there that compels them. And the more you level up, the more you bring in more interesting narrative about yourself, curate the elements of your brand that make you a good exhibit for them, the more time they'll spend on the profile, that's really my MO is I want to keep people on my profile page as long as possible. And they keep scrolling down to the belly of the page where they get the good stuff. And ideally, they've walked away with learning about me, but when a profile is overly salesy, or just just a bundle of achievements, and look how cool I am, and I did this, and I was recognized for this, I got acknowledged for this. And oh, by the way, I'm an amazon.com, Best Selling Author. It's become so formulaic, and it just people just kind of bounce out.

Jason Croft  17:49  
But what, what are you doing right now to keep that keep that interest on yours specifically,

JD Gershbein  17:54  
I just write from my own third person narrative, I favor the third person. I know, that's the great debate and LinkedIn profile writing right now is third person versus first. And from a true storytelling point of view, I think if I'm going to talk about my achievements, and I'm not the most decorated guy in the business world, but I'm a hard working guy that kind of serendipitously fell into a LinkedIn consultancy. But but my story does mean something, it's it's I, it's what I leverage to, to create a livelihood. Otherwise, I don't know how I could do it. And anybody that that is selling themselves as a consultant these days, or an advisor or is in the eat what they kill world, and living off their wits, they have a story. And my story is, I've come to realize what works on LinkedIn. And it's not about pumping yourself up with sales talk, it's about getting to the core of an economic buyer, understanding what that buyer really wants, and feeling that buyers pain before you even talk about what it is that you do. So that's really how I've set my profile up is to create intrigue about me and ideally, catalyze conversations.

Jason Croft  19:09  
That's great. What what are some of those those questions people should be asking themselves when they're trying to determine how they want to show up, because we all it some people may take that as as, oh, you're trying to be someone you're not or this and that. We're all who we are. We also have different versions of ourselves and who I present on LinkedIn, there's nothing remotely inauthentic about that. But it's a different me then, you know, in front of my three sons, right, like, we're not gonna have the same conversations, we're not going to have that same tone and voice. And so how can people you know, really decide on that, that style, that voice that they want to project on LinkedIn?

JD Gershbein  19:57  
Simple twofold question around which the entire LinkedIn profile narrative revolves? You're ready? Are you ready? You sit down? All right? Ask yourself, why you? Why now? Independent of marketplace industry vertical? Why you? Why now? And if you can answer that in a compelling way, it keeps people's eyes on the page frames people's ears in the Zoom breakout room

Jason Croft  20:33  
from the perspective of somebody coming across your profile. Right? Yes. Yeah, gotcha. So the masculine technically want to stay on here. Yeah.

JD Gershbein  20:43  
Yes, that is the essence of communicating a value proposition. Otherwise, you're, you're just another talented person with this degree, or this certificate or this designation, or you're a member of these societies, or you've got 13 books, and you've spoken all over the world. You're a global keynote speaker, whatever the case may be, so But But truthfully, you've got, ideally two feet planted on the floor, you're looking into the eyes of the prospect, and you're trying to answer that question. Why me? And why now?

Jason Croft  21:17  
That's good. And this goes back to, again, anything that you present out in the world, but especially out on the Internet, whether it's somebody coming to your site, someone coming to any of your social profiles, the more you can talk about them, the people you serve, how you serve them, how you help them, because we all we've heard it a million times, but we're, we're completely selfish people at the core at some level, right? We want to know when we're there for three seconds. What's the benefit to me of connecting with this person having a conversation with this person? There's that filter, whether we want it to be that way or not. It's who we are. It's what happens as human. So the more you can answer that, the better. Right?

JD Gershbein  22:06  
Yes. And to dovetail that point is, make no mistake about it, we're selling it every turn still. But when you when you incorporate this, this, this ethic, and this dynamic growth mindset of adjusting to situations, and being stylish, and in respecting the sensibilities of others, you wind up, able to control the conversation, and maybe even create sales moments. And I think that's what is missing in classical sales training today. There are companies that are still forcing their teams to operate off scripts and templates. And they don't work. They just don't work. They don't work with me, I can't imagine they work for anybody at this point. I mean, the way to sell products and services today, through LinkedIn, is to organically build the network. And challenge yourself to find your influence, build trust, get on a zoom, meet locally, if it's possible. And from there, develop the relationship build equity into the conversation, because people people ain't buying until they're, they're sold on you.

Jason Croft  23:16  
Yeah, that's very true. What's that? That feels? I'm right there with you. Because I've been going through that, right. Like, that's everything to me, I love to just connect in something's going to come up of it. Like, people know that if I introduce them to someone, there isn't this big oil, tell me about this person. And like, I have the that core network that knows if I'm introducing them. Awesome. Like, oh, I'll connect right? And I have those people for me to like, if you told me I need to meet someone so darn. And we'll figure it out from there. Right? For those folks who don't have that haven't developed, that that mindset, you know, it might feel a little nebulous to think just go build relationships and law, the law, the law, you know, do this and open ended, right, how does that turn, you know, tangibly into something? You know, if I've got to make my quota this month, right? What's What's that, that through line to that? What's the path to get there?

JD Gershbein  24:22  
I guess? Well, the through line is mindset training. And there are so many people around mindset training and development right now. I'm around it. I've, I've unearthed many a mindset in speaking about how to do LinkedIn appropriately and correctly and effectively. And to do anything requires the proper mindset. And in the online world, where so much cognitive steam is necessary to just get through certain, certain tasks. We really have to take a step back do some critical thinking as to how we're perceived and received by others. We have to self assess, well, we have to self evaluate, we have to really understand and believe in, in the solutions we provide to others that we are the logical choice for the business or the the career offer. And and when you move past the self assessment piece, you have to go in with an altruistic mindset about helping people about supporting people and validating their their existence in the business world. I've been on so many calls with people where it's all about them. And it's fine. I like to let them talk I I run my one on ones like interviews anyway, and that's fine. But but when I hear some of this, it's almost borders on narcissism, the way that people talk about themselves these days. And there's no concern for me. And if I was in the market for the product or the service, all I'm hearing is about how cool the salesperson is, it's nothing about well, JD, what's really the most glaring need for you right now? Or JD? What keeps you up at night? Or? Or do you think you might benefit from from this type of coaching relationship? So I mean, I don't hear much of that. I just hear people ramming credentials, and social proof down people's throats.

Jason Croft  26:10  
It's so interesting how, you know, sales, and just, you know, building relationships, period, like they they mirror each other, you know, they're in parallel, that some people are so starved for any kind of attention, like, I guess, that, you know, the second, someone's just like, oh, and what do you do? And is there a war, you know, that they don't have that anywhere else in their life? Maybe. And then, on the sales side, I think it's, it's, the energy is this real, panicky, desperation, oh, I've only got 30 seconds to hook them. And I've got, you know, this, this, and that cuts through so much, and, and the great

JD Gershbein  26:53  
desperation and survival, man, we still see it. And in the early stages of the pandemic, that was, that was really the what people thought would sell them was their frailty and their vulnerability and the emergence of authenticity as the great buzzword of the 2020s. And I mean, who would have thought that someday we would see authenticity coaches out there in the real world? I mean, if we have to be coached to be the genuine article at this point, something's gone awry. But But to your point, yes, people were communicating their inefficiencies there. They were talking about the anatomy of a bad day, their failures, not their successes and leadership, which continues to be the hottest topic in business today. I mean, look, leaders, you want to talk about style in the business world, you want leadership style, this has been widely written about. It's a term still still used, and it remains the hottest topic in business leadership. Do we want our leaders to be that transparent? And talk about the things that just nod them alive? Well, probably not. We want them to talk to us about how strong a leadership figure they are. Yeah,

Jason Croft  28:05  
I think it's, there's an interesting, dynamic, and one of the best phrases, I can't remember who, who said it, but really hit home for me is essentially, you know, talk about your, your, your pain when you're past it, right? Like don't talk about, it's not the wound, it's the scab, right. Like, it's your past that you overcame something and there's some it's one thing to be vulnerable than right, like, because it's the most useful time, not while you're wallowing and not while you're in the middle of it, often. Yeah, you know, yeah. And to your point, though, with authenticity, I think. I think there's, it's almost like, a word is I like to call it, it's almost like being purposeful with your style, though, I think, for the people doing it the right way and talking about it in the right way. What their point is, is to really be purposeful with that office authenticity and having that even just self reflection to go. Okay, am I am I putting my best self out there? Or am I dumbing everything down and being? Blah, you know, and I think in the best cases, that's where people are coming from. So, you know, we're gonna have an authentic conversation. And you do have to be purposeful with that sometimes. Otherwise, you kind of coast into, oh, I don't want to say that. I don't want to ruffle these feathers and I don't want to you know, and instead and just be yourself which, again, for you and I like that it. It almost seems funny to sit there and go like hmm, should I be authentic today or not?

JD Gershbein  29:52  
Yeah, well, in the early going of my LinkedIn consultancy, I never heard the term authenticity spoken of is a Leadership trade, I think it may have been buried in the background authenticity really moved to the fore as a, as a quality of leadership widely talked about, I put it roughly around 2016 or 17, when we saw a lot more people starting to take liberties on LinkedIn with with opinions and posting content. And that was really the start of the content rush. And, and we started to see people just bringing more of themselves their natural unadulterated selves to LinkedIn. On a business side. Now remember, LinkedIn is around the business conversation, much as it's starting to look like Facebook or Tik Tok, or Instagram, it's still around the business conversation, and there's a certain decorum that should be observed and conventions and formality and political correctness. It's, it's for commerce, it's for business, and, but we saw people becoming more authentic, and it started to sell and it started to get noticed. And that became the way and more people started to write about it. And right, how authentic should we be? If we're, if we're limiting our authenticity? Are we being truly authentic? Are we self censoring? In the early going of my LinkedIn practice, I didn't really talk about that kind of thing I was brought in to train a team or enlighten an audience at a conference on what LinkedIn was all about. Nobody understood what the hell it was. And there are plenty of people who are in that same camp today, and still execute very well in LinkedIn. It's this great intangible, the online world is such an intangible, we have no idea what's going on behind the screen, you can't get into the mind of another human being, you can only work off educated guesses. And the better you become at guessing in an educated way, the more your authenticity liberates. And the more this sense of style comes into play. And that's where I basically separated and I said, you know, what, I know enough practical stuff about what I talk about, I now have to go into the emotional intelligence piece, the, you know, gravitate a little bit away from the intellect, go toward some of the psychology, some of the neuroscience and bring in more improv. So in 2017, I resumed my study of improvisational comedy at Chicago's famed Second City, and really studied the nuances of improv. And now I see it as a extremely valuable cognitive framework for doing well on LinkedIn. I'm improvising from start to finish, man.

Jason Croft  32:37  
Oh, yeah. And I love this too, because it's exactly what I wanted to make sure we hit on, you know, the, how purposeful you are with that, and bringing those two worlds together now to tell tell folks what you're doing on with that improvised, I guess, class or workshop or whatever, that that's cool. Yeah,

JD Gershbein  32:55  
I have a community that I'm trying to bring to fruition. And that is the improvising LinkedIn community. And I think that's, I think that the playbooks just don't work anymore. As mentioned earlier, throw away the playbook. And just go off script. And Be yourself. Be your authentic self. That a word again, but but, you know, sometimes authenticity can just kind of lay in the background, because improv is a skill. And it has to be unfortunately, it's a coachable skill. And it's a skill that many people pursue their whole lives. If you've ever if you've ever gone to an improvisational comedy experience, you know, how hard this is, you're on stage with 234 or five other people, and you're conjuring something out of thin air based on an audience suggestion. So what I do is I extrapolate that, and I just extend conversations in that same way. I view every conversation partner, as as if I were playing a scene with them. And basically, there's a beginning there's a middle, there's an end, sometimes I keep the plates spinning and the conversations going, but for the most part, I don't let people off the hook. Whatever they come back to me at. I honor it, I listened to it. And I yes and write back to them. Yes. And being the staple bridge conversationally in the improv world.

Jason Croft  34:23  
Yeah, and I love that too. That's even. Even even where, you know, scripts have their place or frameworks outlines have their place. There's always going to be an opportunity based on you know, taking

JD Gershbein  34:45  
off to go off script. I mean, nobody's playing it by the books these days. You can't count on anything right now. You can count on your emails getting returned. What are you going to do? Ghosting has become such a commonplace practice. This, and how do you summon the words? How do you? How do you? How do you discover your influence and, and create impact? Well, you got to improvise. You got to embrace the exquisite serendipity of the online world and understand that it doesn't go according to plan. You're not going to log on to LinkedIn and an hour, these things are going to happen. And it'll be validated. It'll be you've got an hour. It's catch if you can, I mean, what's going on? What who's LinkedIn throwing in front of you today? What messages are coming down the pike? Who haven't you followed up with that you need to follow up with? I mean, there's just, there's so much going on that it actually forces us to just continuously play off script, and that's what I do. But I'm happy doing that. And that works. For me. I used to be one of the more goal oriented people, you know, and very regimented guy, and I just a pandemic has given me certain autonomies. Jason, I no longer that guy.

Jason Croft  36:00  
Nice. Yeah. Well, that's, that's what's funny, too. And that's what I, one of the big points I want to bring up around this subject, too, is because I operate that way, I prefer that, right? Like, if someone, I would rather somebody come up and say, like, we need you on stage in 10 minutes, then, hey, a month from now, I need we need you to dig in and prepare something and you know, then you're gonna go on stage, you're gonna figure this thing out, I'd rather Hey, let's go with it. You know, let's walk into a room and have this conversation. These shows, these are structured as here's the topic, let's dig in and have a conversation. Other folks are way more comfortable and need that anchor of question. One, Question Two questions, you know,

JD Gershbein  36:46  
and those don't work for me, man, they just never have, for me anything that heavily formatted.

Jason Croft  36:52  
Yeah. And I think there's, there's room in the world for both because I love what you and I are talking about them comfortable there. But I think what's really critical here is to get across that even if you aren't, that doesn't mean you're bad, and you have to change everything. But to have this layer and to learn a skill like this from someone like you to bring some of that into your world, because you have no choice like life isn't scripted. So you're going to encounter some some areas to where this is, this is one of those superpowers that if you can flow with it and find a comfort zone within it, even if it's 20% of the time, it's it's going to help you dramatically.

JD Gershbein  37:39  
And I think that's what separates me from anyone else in the field is that I let people find their own style. When I when I speak about LinkedIn style, what I'm trying to evoke or spark within people is the fact that they can overlay their own personalities onto the platform. That's really all LinkedIn is. It's it's this grid, I mean, it's a level playing field when we all start, and it's the way that you bring information to it that will separate and differentiate you. But for the most part, it's just this terrain on which we superimpose ourselves. And we can make any number of choices as to how to do that. So we're we're I give my clients room is in the expression in the manner of behavior find something that's right for them. It's not because JD says it's so it's because it's them, they're gonna have to move the needles for themselves. If there's any technical technical issue or strategic issue, Google it, you'll find the fix. There's any number of people putting out just sheer volumes of content on how to do LinkedIn. That's not the issue here. The issue is okay, doing it is one thing, but why you're doing it, the rationale, why you're doing it and, and the follow up piece and how to anticipate what's going to happen. I teach my clients how to think one, if not two steps ahead of every move they make on LinkedIn. That's what moves the needle. That's what drives results. It's not just about oh, I did this, right, because the YouTube video said I should do it this way. But it's about really now really asserting your will your force on the system and creating those types of outcomes because only you are capable of creating them. Not me. Not anybody else in the trade.

Jason Croft  39:22  
Oh, yeah. And like I, I tell people across the board with with all social media, everyone has their opinions. And they're, it's here's the bad part, here's the good spark, but it's really darn good at being a mirror of what you want in your life, because the algorithm is really good at just feeding you, what you respond to and what you engage with. So to your point, you're you're way more in control than maybe you think of your world most of what you're putting out in what you're consuming and what's coming up in front of you.

JD Gershbein  39:56  
And that style. Yeah, when you make that decision. That's, that's very intuitive of you, Jason, when you make that decision that you have control over your, your output. That's a huge step in the

Jason Croft  40:09  
process. Oh, yeah. Well, this is awesome. This has been been fantastic. I hope people dig in and connect you connect with you on LinkedIn and you know, jump in, subscribe to the, to the newsletter, create

JD Gershbein  40:22  
a LinkedIn account, if that's gonna happen.

Jason Croft  40:25  
You better you better start putting it off.

JD Gershbein  40:27  
Just bite the bullet and do it.

Jason Croft  40:33  
Now, that would be phenomenal at the end of like, Yeah, I'm starting next week, it'll be it'll be great.

JD Gershbein  40:39  
And you can find me on LinkedIn, which is a good thing. But no, I and to your point, I what you're doing in the podcast realm is this outflow and developing your own style as a podcaster, which, which you did beautifully, which I love these types of conversations back and forth. And I applaud the effort, because more and more, we're broadcasters, now we're all broadcast stations. Yep. And we're all networks. And whether your channels,

Jason Croft  41:07  
yeah, whether you like it or not, this is what we are, you're either radio silent, and people are going, I don't know, and I have never heard of that person, or that business. Or you're putting out your your style into the world in some fashion.

JD Gershbein  41:22  
And learn how to do it the best you can viewers and listeners, I mean, make the commitment to be a great content marketer. And that's what will give you your style, you can't just find it in putting out a profile and letting it sit out there. unleveraged, you've really got to attract attention to yourself, if you're going to build a brand brand is not guaranteed to anyone. You really have to work it working at differentiation is a full time job. And the market is only getting more saturated, more competitive. There's more distractions coming in. And we are fielding so much stuff on a daily basis. The fact that anybody intersects with us is a miracle at this point.

Jason Croft  42:01  
Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. People get get hung up a lot with oh, shoot, am I posting too much is there, you know, I don't want to, you know, disturb people

JD Gershbein  42:12  
that I like or comment, or both.

Jason Croft  42:17  
Right. And I promise anybody listening, watching, there is no way on planet earth that you can post too much content in the world today. There is no it can't happen. Like, what's the worst they can do? They can mute you. Well, not even that. Like if anybody paid attention to us. At the level we think people are paying attention to us. We all be billionaires, it'd be amazing.

JD Gershbein  42:43  
I worked so hard on this blog, the least you can do is read it

Jason Croft  42:46  
folks. Right? So scroll, scroll, scroll,

JD Gershbein  42:51  
scroll, and then oh, the cat video, I'll watch that. Oh, yeah.

Jason Croft  42:57  
And that's, and that's, that's, that's the thing. It's a great point, too. Because, you know, we're not just this is where style comes into, because we're not, it's like, we're competing with the other people in your industry, you know, who are doing the same thing. You're competing with every cat video on YouTube with every thing out there that's going on in the palm of their hands. It's all that competition. So you better figure out something that's engaging, and stylish and makes you memorable in some way.

JD Gershbein  43:27  
Yes. And there are people who have found their their style in their irreverence. I mean, I'm all about creating intrigue, I think attracting attention in a good way is is really a nice value piece that you can bring to a style journey. But you want to do it for the right reasons you do. You don't want to commit brand suicide and be too irreverent and go out there and just be completely out of character. You want to connect people with your brand, through experiences that are unique to you, that liberate your individuality. And I think that's important. That's a huge piece of style. And the mindset behind it is important, knowing that you're gonna go out there, and it's an insular world, but yet everybody's out there.

Jason Croft  44:13  
Yep. So who needs to reach out who needs to connect to to JD? Because they are in dire need what what person what stage of their LinkedIn just need someone

JD Gershbein  44:24  
to talk to I guess if this is you know, interestingly, I'm in the business of meeting good human beings. I, I never thought that LinkedIn would be my ticket to see the world and meet people from really all walks of business. And in terms of who I engage with, who are the people who retain me, typically the people who retain me are people who are betting on themselves to win who are going through some stage of a reinvention. Maybe not sure how to telegraph it to people on LinkedIn just yet. Not sure if they should flip the master switch, but needs to think things through, I'm a big help to those people because I have a very sensitive ear and I listened well. And thought equity is missing in a lot of relationships today because people are waiting for the other person to finish talking so that they could talk instead of hearing what they're truly saying and seeing if there's alignment or a fit. And like anybody else I want to align. I want to be a good fit for people that I work with. But in terms of building a community and finding my tribe, just good quality human beings with high emotional intelligence who, who laugh at my jokes and want to have good conversations.

Jason Croft  45:40  
Perfect. All right, fantastic. I encourage everyone out there, just harass JD, get on LinkedIn, and just, you know,

JD Gershbein  45:49  
you're trying yours are welcome.

Jason Croft  45:53  
Fantastic. Well, thank you, everyone for tuning in with this. JD, thanks so much for being on. And I will see you in the improv group. 

JD Gershbein  46:03  
That was fun, man. Thanks for having me.

Jason Croft  46:08  
Thanks so much for tuning in and being a part of the show. If you ever need help building out custom strategies for your business or deciding what actions to take Next, head over to media leads co.com And let's connect. I'll talk to you soon on the next strategy and action.




LinkedIn Style Guide & Brand Strategist

Since 2006, JD Gershbein has been at the forefront of the social media conversation. One of the world’s first independent LinkedIn consultants, JD pioneered a model of authentic business communication that serves ambitious professionals striving to make their mark in the Digital Age. As a speaker, facilitator, writer, and media producer, he draws upon his diverse academic background—a fusion of psychology, neuroscience, and the humanities—and the improvisation skills he honed at Chicago’s famed Second City to bridge the knowledge gap that exists between professionals and the virtual world. Widely regarded as a leader in personal branding, social networking, content marketing, video storytelling, and social entrepreneurship, JD is blazing a trail as one of the most original personalities in the professional development arena.