A lot of people have looked at LinkedIn as a job seeker site and not as a site for business development. In 2010, the site turned into a social portal for professionals to come together and just chat like millennials do in every other social media site. JD Gershbein offers help in writing and building your profile so that you look good and influence the decisions of the prospects. He stresses the importance of building your profile and playing your strengths to show you are talented in the business and offer the best skills with the best value.
We’ve got a great show because we have JD Gershbein in the house. He is such an entertainer, an edutainer I should say because that’s the self-styled professional name that he’s chosen for what he does.
Listen to the podcast here
Building Your Profile To Influence Decisions with JD Gershbein
I am with JD Gershbein who’s a speaker, consultant, facilitator, broadcaster, producer, writer, and self-styled professional edutainer. You’re blazing the trail as one of the most original personalities in new media. Since transitioning away from traditional marketing practice in 2006, he has established himself as a mentor and a positive role model for professionals in all walks of business who strive for excellence in the digital age. That sounds really impressive. I’ve got to find out what that really means. We know each other pretty well by now because we’ve done a few different things together here and I’m really excited to chat with you.
Thank you for having me.
You do a lot of things. I found out you do cartooning. You have quite an interesting background of things that you’ve done. I’ve watched your talks and I’ve seen a lot of your videos you created. You’re really entertaining in these videos by the way. I have had people in my shows. I had Tripp Crosby on my show. He had a great video. I don’t know if you’ve seen that Conference Call In Real Life, but it’s really similar in satire, making fun of things that we take for granted. You have that kind of sense of humor to me. You can just see the fun in the situations that we deal with and work situations.
You have to make it fun at this stage of the game. We should laugh as we learn.
You made an interesting video and that I would like to talk about because you had the voiceover artists remind me of his name?
Ryan Goldsher, a Chicago area guy, grew up in Northbrook, not too far from where I grew up. I just serendipitously saw him rifling through his celebrity impersonations on a local news show in Chicago WGN Morning News and it stopped me in my tracks. I could not believe how good this kid was. You have to call him a kid. He was a teenager when I saw him. He is a junior at the University of Southern California and he’s made it into second city. He is doing commercials with Jimmy Kimmel. He is no longer a best kept secret, but he did this work with me. I did an interview with him on Huffington Post and then cast him in this little training video that I did back in 2016.I just think the world of the young man. He is going to go places.
Tell me what did in the video? I’d love for you to explain your interview of him and how you handled that because I think the two videos are really funny.
I brought him in to actually talk about the way that the millennials are really changing their perspective these days. As a father of two millennials, I’ve seen the way that the cohorts have responded to what’s going on in the business landscape. Nowadays, parents are directing their kids to be more free thinking, more entrepreneurial. Yes, they still have to go to school. They’ve got to get the degree, study hard, get the good jobs, learn about business, but Ryan impressed me as a guy who’s doing everything the right way. He’s going to school, getting an education, but he wants to crack the highly cutthroat competitive of entertainment. He’s got talent and he’s got moxie and drive. The piece was really designed to showcase that millennial spirit and how millennials are really doing things differently. They are going to rule the world.
We have to say what his talent is though.
He’s a celebrity voice-over, impressionist and artist. He is probably loving all this publicity.
I would have get him on the show because I loved what you did because you interviewed him about millennials, but he answered in different celebrity voices, which I thought was really wonderful. Some of the voices, can you remember?
He does a couple that not many people do. He does Michael Douglas. He impersonated Michael Douglas and it’s spot on. His impersonations are on target. One obviously that I chose for inclusion in my humorous training video was Morgan Freeman. I’m a huge fan of the film, The Shawshank Redemption, and it gave me the opportunity to write this in. Who the heck knows how I strung these elements together? Go into a business training film for LinkedIn. I would encourage people to find me on LinkedIn. You can find it on YouTube. It’s called The Training Session. It’s funny. It gave me a chance to really riff on what has become a classic film. A lot of people know the narration by Morgan Freeman is what really truly drives that picture. It gave me an opportunity to take out some of the great lines of narration from the film and intersperse them with what people were saying in a conference room going around the table with people who are just muddled and befuddled about LinkedIn.
You are the LinkedIn guru. You know it inside and out. What drew you to LinkedIn to begin with?
When I first started doing the work in social media, and I’m a late stage early adopter. I came to LinkedIn in 2006. I never thought my story would be of interest to anyone because at the time social media was new. The economy was in distress. The recession was about ready to hit. The last thing business people wanted to learn was a social networking site that would zap their time and energy. To sell wasn’t so much about my products or services, it was about really selling the notion of LinkedIn and telling folks in business, “This is where it’s going. I’m seeing this.” I’m the visionary with anything in my life. I certainly can’t predict the NFL but I saw something in this that I thought it was going to be just game changing and eye-popping. Just the way that I’m hardwired, I took to it right away and developed my own posture and mindset around this and just started to talk about it wherever I went and being branded as a go-to resource in that area.
I remember first when I got on LinkedIn, I didn’t do that much. I thought of it as a resume at the beginning. You just put your resume up there. You didn’t really think of it is interactive and I got much more evolved into Facebook. Before I was doing what I’m doing now, I’m saying. Once you get into the business setting where people are trying to communicate, I saw such a different amount of energy on LinkedIn. It wasn’t like that at the beginning was it? Didn’t it change pretty dramatically?
You’re absolutely right, Diane. In people’s minds, it was a jobseeker site. I would frequently hear, “JD, I’m not interested in doing LinkedIn. I don’t need a job or I’m in business.” It wasn’t really thought of as the business development site that it is. Nobody was what you would call selling products and services back then. It was, “We build a network. We invite people to connect. We accept their invitations to connect. They’re now names and pictures on our computer screen. I’ll tinker with the profile. I’ll do this, I’ll do that.” We were going through motions, doing with LinkedIn was asking us to do. What they expected us to do as users. Then I would say right around 2010, the switch got flipped and LinkedIn, what we now know it to be as a vibrant, pulsating, throbbing site where professionals can come together and have conversations around business and leverage their own personal brands. We weren’t talking about personal branding back then. It has been on a path of just relentless innovation since then and now it is that site. It is that site that offers possibilities. It can truly change people’s professional lives. I’ve been at the forefront of it. I feel that it’s done at the level of the profile. My core surface was offering to write and build out these profiles for people so that they would dress the part. They would look good on their page and influence the decisions that they were trying to get. Whether it was to sell a product or service, whether it was to drive a niche or whether it was to get a job.
There are so many different people who advise different things on LinkedIn. What to do, like write in first-person, nope, don’t write in first person, a lot of people have bulleted points, some have million stars and buttons. Is there a right or wrong way to have your bio?
Since day one, I’ve put my own spin and my own take on this. I’m a bit of a maverick when it comes to the way that I teach and execute on LinkedIn. I’ve always favored the third-person narrative. We’re all searching for our narratives now. People that’s out of the first person. They want to talk about I, me, my. The situation there is I was coming across so many people who had achieved so much in business. They were superstars. Fantastic people who have who have garnered numerous awards, wide-scale acclaimed. When they started to write about those achievements in first person, they sounded arrogant, and bombastic. They didn’t sound real. They didn’t have this feeling that they were accessible and responsive. It was just about them. When you write in the third person, we’re all talented in business. We all try to play to our strengths. We all have our best value in our best skills, but when they’re expressed in a way that makes sense to the potential client or the potential hiring manager or the decision maker, we look real. That is what operates at the highest intellectual and emotional centers of the brain to reconfigure our decision making machinery. That’s one of the challenges is creating bias, kind of a halo effect about yourself. If you look good and you sound good on LinkedIn, well then you are good. It will just deliver in the real world and come through out of brand promise.
I liked your owls, your picture that you have on LinkedIn, it’s attention-getting. Is there a certain amount of content that you think people should have? You make videos, so you obviously showcase your videos there. Do you think everybody should have some video or is that just because you’re in the video that you have that?
Yes. It is all coming down to content. We are all commodities. I’m sorry. It’s not breaking news but we are all commodities. There are people who are bigger, brighter, better. They think quicker, they execute swiftly. You have to keep competitive with content, whether it’s written, whether it’s visual, whether it’s in the moment. We are now encouraged to be storytellers and it’s hard to tell stories.
You’re great at that. I was watching a talk that you gave and you can tell a story. You were talking about your childhood and different things. I thought, it just seemed like came so effortlessly to tell the stories. Is this something that comes naturally to you or did you have to work on that?
A lot of rehearsal time. I do have a gym in my home with a walled mirror and if you’re going to go out there and speak in front of an audience, you have to rehearse, you have to work on stage craft and that means everything. It means posture, eye contact, the way you move around the stage because when everything is working right and not just in professional speaking, but in writing and networking and just thinking the way you think through everything in business, it’s got to flow. There’s going to be a rhythmic feel to what you’re doing, otherwise it’s not going to sound all that put together on the receiving end. I have worked very hard on my ability to use language. I’ve studied the communication arts.
I do the very best I can and when it comes to storytelling, I don’t want people to feel pressured to tell stories. It’s going to flow naturally. People have a baseline naturality about telling their stories. It’s now time to hone it and it’s time to hone it in front of the camera. It’s time to hone it in front of a microphone. There are more people who want to speak nowadays than ever before. There are more speakers than conferences available. Everybody is trying to crack the corporate environment now and do trainings and workshops and facilitations. That’s speaking and that’s in the moment branding. How you manifest in front of an audience means everything nowadays and that too, spoken word content. We are at the cutting edge now, at the forefront of content creation that is going to separate the contenders from the pretenders.
It’s really interesting to see who’s making it and who’s not in. You said something about your training and I remember talking to you about some of your acting training that you’ve taken. You just got to be loose enough a lot to take acting. You have to not take yourself super seriously and be able to lighten up.
Acting is hard. I have such appreciation for professional actors. In the 1980s before, it was cool to say that you went to Second City. I studied comedy and performance and did a couple of years at Second City and I was part of a performing troop. Looking back, I wasn’t probably all that accomplished, but those skills that I learned in that setting have been instrumental in my development as a speaker and a communicator because it gave me the ability to be present with a partner and communicate and be comfortable in my own skin. They call it present in the moment, Diane. You need that in all aspects of business, whether you’re talking to an employer, a colleague, a client, a prospect, we all need the ability to stand and deliver. The skills used in professional acting are parallel and dovetailed beautifully with how we present and show up as a business person. There are many people in acting who were teaching presentation skills in business.
It would be a little bit intimidating at first to be able to just do all those things that they make to break down all the barriers. I know you’re a LinkedIn expert and I know you give speeches about LinkedIn, but you do these videos, training. What do you consider your focus? If they had to hire you right now, what would be your number one thing that you would say that you’d want to be hired to do?
I really migrated to that thought leadership space. I’m working with individuals and companies that want to develop, accelerate, and execute on their thought leadership. What does thought leadership mean? That’s another one of those contrived vocabulary terms for the social media revolution. Thought leadership to define it properly, it really is leadership at this point. When I realized what was happening in my life as someone who is asked on a daily basis about LinkedIn, I was answering a call of leadership. It wasn’t like I was leading an organization or organizations or companies or internal business units developing the same skills that leaders need to be effective and that was authentic, powerful communication, empathy and adherence to core values of integrity and family and placing a premium on professional relationships.
What I do for individuals and companies now is it’s more than just helping them navigate a website. Any number of sources you can go to online right now, the market is flooded with LinkedIn experts who are self-declaring themselves as the smartest person in the room when it comes to LinkedIn. I just bowed out from some of that. I’ve got skin in the game. I can teach the website. The website is no problem. It’s the behaviors around the website that will truly make the difference between idle activity on the site and true strategy.
Companies are retaining me to really work with their teams, to develop those strategies, to dovetail their content marketing efforts, to showcase their cultures, and elevate the profiles of the individuals within the company, and thus elevate the company itself. I become a student of how people elevate their game, how they promote artfully, how they promote scientifically. That is in line with everything I’ve studied, everything I’ve been trained to do goes back to childhood when I started doing my own little plays in my room. I’m establishing myself and identifying these days as a social scientist and a new media personality. I’m calling upon all of these skills I learned in radio and television when I was in high school and college.
First day of my freshman year in high school at New Trier West High School in Northfield, Illinois, I joined my high school radio station and that laid the foundation right there. I’ve never met a microphone or a camera lens I didn’t like. I’ve used my new media skills and abilities to help people elevate their profile because I’m meeting so many people who want to. They can slip out of the comfort zone or migrate far away from it to the point where they feel good in front of the camera. They can pull it out of their minds and put it out there on a word document and publish it on a blog. This is the voice within to someone for to be effective in today’s business environment.
I could also see you doing a lot of emcee type things. I got to see JP Sears, he’s the redhead that does the vegan satire. He is really funny. Maybe it’s the initials. He is JP, you’re JD. No space, no periods. Maybe it’s something that you guys have that’s just this energy which I could feel when I talk to both of you. You have this sense of humor that comes through, but you’re also pointing out the elephant in the room in a really funny way to me, and I like that. I could see why you would be popular for a speaker or a consultant. Your videos interest me because I could see companies hiring you to create videos like that one with the voiceover artists. I could see that you’re really great to build morale in the company. Do you do that at all?
I’m getting more and more involved in that. I started as a thought partner with people who are contemplating the use of video. We should specify between the type of video work that I’m involved with and what you see going on say, Facebook Live or native video. The native video on Facebook and LinkedIn and I’m going to say this in a loving and empathetic way, it’s almost unwatchable. Yet I applaud the efforts of the people who are out there doing it because this is the essence of the work I’m trying to do. It takes a lot of guts, in fact balls to create video and put it out there if you’re not accustomed to it.
We’re all protected by our reptilian brains and we shield ourselves from any negativity or unflattering sentiment, and nobody wants to be known as the person who puts out the bad unwatchable videos. People get better doing this and over time it translates into more meaningful communication with an audience. It doesn’t matter how big that audience is. At the one hand, I love what I’m seeing with people doing the video work. I’m going to help them take that piece to production. There’s a difference between extemporaneous, “I’m going to switch on the smart phone and talking to it for ten minutes,” to storyboarding and scripting and really seeing yourself through a video program and presentation that is going to mean something to potential clients.
Definitely a huge difference between your video and anything I’ve seen on Facebook Live or anything else. Yours is the actual, well-done, highly produced, professional thing. I could see sponsors doing that type of thing with you. Like when I mentioned JP Sears, he did PooPourri commercials and different things and those are four or five-minute videos. How long was your video that you had the voiceover in?
That was actually five minutes and 30-some seconds.
A lot of things you say will be less than two to five minutes or whatever, but that one was so entertaining and so same with the things that JP does and same with Tripp Crosby. You guys all have this area that’s so different. You’re so different and the markets you guys hit. You completely do different things which makes you guys all so unique to me and that’s what I love to talk to you about.
To your point, if I may before you migrate away, the length of time and the duration of a video, since video really came to the fore, which I would say it was a couple of years ago, still not a mainstream practice, but it’s getting there at the time that we tape. We were encouraged to just be quick hit. The format had to be deliver your message and get out. It has to be a minute, minute and a half. People have attention-deficit disorder. They’re not going to stand and look and listen to a podcast or watch a video that’s more than a minute and a half.
My personal belief and I’ve always held this, is that if a video is compelling and really rivets people, which is a thing to do in today’s society with all of this stuff coming at us, it’ll work at the duration that I’m asking. I thank people for going through all five minutes in 35 seconds of my video because I know that that could’ve been spent doing something else. Maybe something that’ll make them money, who knows? My goal with the work is to educate, to inspire, to let people know that there’s a way to effectively and humorously raise your profile and still maintain your credibility in the real world.
I hadn’t sat through that as much as I did, I wouldn’t have found out that that wasn’t his real voice. I’m glad I found out that it was a voice over. I kept watching going, “How in the world?”
The other thing which led me to the creation and development of my online media platform called The Big Banter with JD Gershbein. I’ve always subscribed to the notion that you have to adapt or die. This is a very common cliché in business. What I’ve seen in the LinkedIn market was enough to motivate me to think maybe the future isn’t in just pigeonholing myself in a website. The good news is that I have a strong brand as a LinkedIn specialist. I was of the first in the world to get there and do it. Now, I can parlay that knowledge and that experience into the development of my own media platform and my own digital channel where I can create this content and be a much more effective leader and communicator. The Big Banter which we kicked off with the taping of alive social business variety show. I had 250 plus through the door at the Hard Rock Café. Content is going to be up and available soon on TheBigBanter.com.
I’m launching a podcast and really going about this now the way that I felt I was meant to do following my muse, being funny. I don’t know if I’m funny. You’d have to ask other people. I do want to be taken seriously. I think comedy is serious business as at the same time, it’s not all about just being wacky and whimsical. If you’re going to go that route, you better have something on the back end, but it’s going to be a value to business people. Whether bringing them out to a live event or whether I’m asking them to invest in a half-hour podcast, the content has to be solid. It has to teach them, they have to learn. Ideally, I’d like them to laugh and I like to think, “JD is doing things in a different way.” That’s branding.
As you talk about the companies and the videos, coming back in my mind is the twenty years I worked for a company and fifteen of them in pharmaceutical sales, at all the meetings I went to and how Larry Miller came to one of our meetings. It was hysterical and he really made the meeting great. I can remember of all the meeting I’m thinking, “I wish they were all like that,” and they need to do more of that thing. They would try to bring in things to make it entertaining.
What I think is really important is that what you do in some of these trainings that you bring in to the lighthearted nature, but you’re teaching at the same time and it’s so professional. How often do you go to companies and say, “Your meetings, I would love to have you maybe launch these videos there as an entertainment part of the sales rah-rah part. Get them going and then maybe put them out in the real world after that. A lot of companies could really get some great edutainment from you. I could see.
Then this is my plea to anybody. Give it a shot. An eyeshot of this video, ring my phone because I would love to talk to them. This is what I would like to do. I would like to edutain. This is where it’s at for me. There are so many people who are disrupting YouTube. Just going out there and having conversations with their audience. Now, I have conversations with my audience, but I’m a firm believer that we can teach through sketch comedy, we can teach through improv, we can teach through music, the humanities. I incorporate a lot of the humanities into what I do. Let’s face it, social media mirrors the human condition in the real world. It’s probably the human condition that’s going online.
More and more people now are breaking through, breaking the plane. They’re going online, they’re displaying all their emotions out there. There seems to be no filters on some of these folks. They go out there and they telling it like it is. The key emotions of life, love, grief, joy, sadness, despair, they’re all playing out on social platforms. Even LinkedIn has humanized through the years. It’s not just about business or in your face business. It’s about showing the human side and showing what’s bringing us to the dance? What’s bringing you to the dance, Diane? That’s the voice you need to express and get out there because people aren’t going to buy your services or products until they buy you.
Just thinking of what you’ve done, I just envision so many sales departments, pharmaceuticals was a good example, but I could have a lot of means. Just the technology industry, all the people looking at their industry, the things that they need to learn, but in a funny way. People like to laugh at what their problems are in their own realm. I could see that that would be an excellent thing, especially like I could see you in pharmaceutical training videos just doing fake doctor presentations and making them really funny. The people will just happen to like all annoying doctors. You could play all the different annoying doctor segments because you have actors that come in and do your stuff. You have actual actors and they’re good too.
I’m actually in the process of forming in assembling a repertory, a theater ensemble group to act out business theater and sketches. I’m working with some of the funniest folks I’ve ever met, some of the great comic talent in Chicago. I’m networking within the creative community and looking for a home to produce these shows. For me, it’s truly become a labor of love because I’m not holding back anymore. For years, to develop an entrepreneurial business around social media, I kept my humor in check. I was a very straightforward, rigid speaker that would go in and do a training and I couldn’t catch people off guard. I couldn’t play to their humor and funny bones. I had to be this straight-laced, buttoned up facilitator.
I just said, “Enough is enough. We have to have fun with this.”The advent of video and the ability to use humor to differentiate my offerings and to bring in more of the science and the art and to show people that this is not rocket science or brain surgery. It’s kinds of like rocket surgery. We’re performing operations on rockets. A great question, “What changed?” I think it was several years ago when I was first told to go out and share my story and that’s what kind of broke down the first barrier. We’re encouraged to be authentic on these platforms. If I were going to be too straight-laced and rigid, I’m not operating in my authenticity.
I’m trying to get a point across, I’m trying to be known, I’m trying to be credible, I’m trying to garner social proof, that kind of thing. The true impact that I’m going to make in business, the true impact that any of us are you going to make in business is how it’s really bring it and show up in the real world in what we’re saying, what we’re doing and how we’re interacting? Are we in lockstep with the goals of our clients? That I’ve never had to worry about because I’ll get the work done for the client. I will impress the audience at the talk and educate them, but now I’m bent on having a little bit more fun in doing it.
It’s hard to really be completely yourself online though, don’t you think? There are so many haters out there and you say one thing. Sometimes I look at some of the things that people will post, and it’s just simple, nice little videos people have done and they just slam them. They say such awful things. Is it making us fear just being automatic because you have to be so vanilla now?
That goes back to the pressure we all have on us to be brand storytellers. Not everybody is cut out to tell stories. When you see people go out there with the smartphone, it’s not for everybody, but applaud those people for breaking through. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. If it’s consistently of quality that we just find annoying or it’s just not for us or ” E for effort, but no thanks. I’m going to hide your post from my feed.” You don’t want to do anything to deflate these people. I’ve never said anything of a conflicting nature.
I’ve never disheartened or dissuaded people from doing any of this type of thing. It doesn’t mean if they put it out, I don’t have to watch it, but that’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to accomplish something and I applaud the effort for people who do it. I don’t like conflict on social media. There are sites that have that kind of contrarian to it and they encourage rants and fights in verbal jousting and all that, and I’ve never really got into that. That’s not my thing. I’d rather point out the good than attract attention to anything that’s of a derogatory nature. There’s mistakes enough going on out there. I just want to let people know they’re on the right track at what they’re doing.
Do you find it interesting what people want to watch? There’s a guy that just games and he’s got millions and millions of followers. I went to his site and a lot of things he does is he games and people can talk about the different games. It fascinates me to just look at what draws people and what makes them interested. Actually, I’m talking to somebody because I’m going to be pitching some different talks that I’m giving and we were talking about fake news and how people are drawn to it.
I’m writing a book about curiosity and I’m interested in things that make people curious and people are just so drawn to certain things. Fake news is very appealing to people, especially if it goes along with their values. They don’t want to look outside of what they’re seeing. When you’re dealing with organizations, they have a personality or a way people do because they have their culture and they don’t want to look outside of what they’re doing. How hard has it been for you dealing with people and their cultures to get them to really see how their culture is impacting their employees?
All great points and when you’re into that culture conversation, which is truly what organizations are scrambling to do, is showcase their culture and the most meaningful way possible to attract the top talent, to get to the strategic alliances that will help them drive forward in business. I saw this rush for content right around I want to say 2012, 2013. That’s when LinkedIn was starting to become much more vibrant and people were beginning to realize that as their networks expanded, their content and their posts were getting lost in the shuffle. They had to pound the system with more content. As a consequence, they started to scramble. What can we do? Let’s showcase some of our people.
Let’s put out a paragraph from our annual report. Let’s start talking about our company in a way that is going to inspire learning, exploration, research into what we do. In the war for top talent, in the war for good partners, good channel partners, good distribution channels, good clients, who doesn’t want good clients? There must be top strategy with showcasing the culture. Culture now is one of the most banded about terms in our business lexicon nowadays. Everything you did in teeing up that question, Diane, was absolutely right and this is also where video and visual marketing can be so huge. It’s been driving Facebook well before it came to LinkedIn.
It is interesting because it’s such a huge topic. You either hear about culture, engagement, soft skills, all those things are all still such a challenge. Do you get a lot of people wanting to talk to you about conflict because of the generational issues? Do you deal with that as well? I get a lot of requests for that.
Some and I see it the most on college campuses. I speak at colleges and universities all across the country and students are my most receptive audience because I’m getting them right as they’re realizing that they’ve got to leave some of their silliness behind and move into the world and responsibilities are starting. Those pictures they took passed out on a park bench a few years ago, they will come back to haunt them being researched online by future employers. The goal is that we’re all invaded with this digital world.
When I go out and speak, I could be talking about LinkedIn, I could be talking about online communication patterns, I could be talking about social entrepreneurship, new media development, whatever the initiative. If it involves breaking the plane into this computer thing, and separating out the physical world from the virtual world, that represents issues for some people. The digital natives, the so called people from whose generation all the social media was spawned, they’re all comfortable with it.
They had found their place in the internet world. Many people haven’t. They’re reluctant, they’re resistant. They admonish people who are heavily into it because they see it as a disconnect between true humanity on the Earth. Let’s face it, we are into our devices, we are into technology. The focus now is how we use these effectively, how we continue to self-disrupt in a positive way. We’re always going to have a disruption. What’s the next one? Well, it’s how we adapt. Continual adaptation, continual reinvention, and moving ourselves forward in a way that paces with the technology and we’re still real.
How has technology impacted our ability to be curious? Do you think we’re letting it do things for us too much? Is it too complicated that we just give up and we don’t want to be curious?
Great experimentation. My father was a man of medicine and I remember doing some work on exploratory versus regimental behavior where laboratory rats were placed on a grid and there were holes cut into the board and they would poke their head into the holes just to see what was there. Whether it was food, whether it was the other side, and they were lab rats. We were just watching basically how they went across the board and what they did and how many times they would poke their heads through the holes.
Curiosity and the curiosity studies, again, you’re at limbic center of the brain. The emotional seat of exchange for decision making and memory and learning and placement and processing, all of this is going on. I think people tell you if they have an inquisitive nature or they’re curious by nature. That’s something that we’ve all had. We’re born curious. Other people just attend to it in more profound ways. I think you’re in a really hot area right now that will go beautifully with social media.
You said we’re all born curious, I couldn’t agree more and I think a lot of things stop us sometimes because either in school they have curriculum that you have to go this way. If you ask this question, we don’t have time for that and you can’t go that direction. Things that we don’t really mean to stop curiosity, but they do. If we all are born curious, how do you develop that in other people that have hit the wall?
You try to generate the love and appreciation of learning. I work with many people who self-declare as lifelong learners and those are people that stay curious. They’re the ones that don’t jump the book to the ending. They’ll read the whole book there. They are patient. They let the game come to them at this point and I’ve been that way. I’m curious, not curious to a fault, but a curious guy that has really examined certain aspects. I certainly study what’s important to me that I don’t know.
We all have our blind spots. I can’t go toe-to-toe with people who are in discussions on something that I can contribute to. I play to my strengths and know my limitations and steer clear. I’ll listen. I’m always listening. I’m always observing. I’m always processing. I’m always encoding and I’m always applying. What I can apply in my real life is a byproduct of my curiosity because I’ve converted that curiosity to learning.
One thing you brought up the last time we talked and I thought it was really fascinating. You had a friend who has a show and I lifted him up, the ventriloquist and I’m getting off topic here a little bit, but that was really interesting. He’s doing his own show and he’s got a ventriloquist dummy. He’s got somebody in the car while he’s interviewing them and the dummies mostly doing the interviewing.
Chuck Field was guy who live out in the Chicago area for years.WhatsUpChuck.com is the website. Chuck was a guy that I formed a very close friendship and business relationship with here in the Chicago area. He moved out to your neck of the woods out there in Scottsdale, Arizona. He’s an interesting breed. He’s just an incredible comic thinker, but also has a great sharp mind for business. What he’s been able to do has been characteristic of people who are versatile in the digital era and that is combining multiple brands into a single offering. He had worked with many people through the years who have had multiple talents, skills. Some have crystallized as to what they do, but some are in two, three, four or more well-defined businesses, working them all simultaneously.
Chuck is in a straightforward business environment, a family-owned, closely held business, selling boxing and corrugated packaging to business and he does comedy ventriloquism. Can you find a more disparate brand than that? The genius of Chuck is that he’s able to work both against each other, actually with each other to create opportunities in both of his brand. He does ventriloquism shows that company gatherings and at company gatherings he will be able to generate interest for his ventriloquism show. He’s an entertainer, but he’s also a business person with a keen grasp of business and happens to be an extremely talented ventriloquist who’s leveraging the social platforms here on YouTube to create a series about passing through a car wash. In that time, the car wash is going, he has conversation with his dummy or as he would say, wooden American. Not everybody can talk to a ventriloquism dummy.
I would like for you to share how people can find out more about you because I think this has been really fun. You and I have a great time every time we talk. I would love for you to share how people can find out more if they want to hire you as a speaker, a consultant, a video maker? How can they reach you?
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m on LinkedIn and you can find me on LinkedIn, the Facebook for business. I’m available under search at JD Gershbein. My website JDGershbein.com. You can also locate The Big Banter online at TheBigBanter.com. There’s going to be a huge infusion of content there once we launch the podcast.
You found me on LinkedIn and I’ve been on there for quite a while. I’m trying to think what took you so long to find me?
You get into a very great question if I can end with this. This would be a great closing point and that is always trust your instincts and never leave any stone unturned. LinkedIn provides you with a ‘people they think you know list. It’s called coincidentally, ‘people you may know’. You popped on that list and I look at that list from time-to-time. When I have more time, I’ll do a couple cycles of screen refreshes. I’m looking at people basically by their professional headlines because I don’t want to visit their profiles unless I’m truly intrigued.
Based on what you presented, I was intrigued and visited your profile, made a determination that I wanted to connect with you. I did what came naturally approached you in a respectful way. I then sent you a generic default formulaic invitation to connect. I basically told you that we hadn’t met and that based on the information you offered in your profile, I was interested in connecting with you. I had no idea what’s on the other end of that. Who the heck knows these days?
The key is that everything I’ve ever done on LinkedIn, on social media has been proactive and authentic. I do not operate out of authenticity. If I wanted to meet someone, I will usually take the initiative and do it. If people want to meet me, I will come back to them and thank them for reaching out and try to get into conversations very quickly. That’s a technique that I do teach to my students and clients and that is don’t treat invitations as, “They’re just trying to sell me something.” If you’re willing to invest in certain relationships, not all of them, something cool like guesting on a webcast or a podcast or actually something even greater like being called in to train a team or a work with the leadership of a company or a job lead for someone who’s in a career search. You never know what’s on the other end of an invitation, take it on a case by case basis.
When you get them on a case by case basis, when they send you a bouquet of flowers or something creepy, it’s usually not a very good sign. I’ve seen the exact opposite of what you sent. Yours was so professional and I’m like, “That was really good. I want to know more about him.” I’m so glad I looked into it and we have made a great connection and I really enjoyed having you on the show. Thank you so much.
I want to thank you for having the faith to bring me on and let me tell my story, which I’m trying to do a little bit more of. I never thought it would be of interest to anyone, but now it’s what differentiates me and in a period where we’re at with social, where everything is now going to come alive through content and video, take it upon yourself, folks, to learn the very best way to express yourself. Rehearse it in the car, in the shower, on the treadmill, whatever. Be good, present well and I’m a living proof that it can translate into some great things. You get to meet people like Diane Hamilton, PhD. Thank you for having me on, Diane. I truly appreciate it.
You’re welcome. Thank you.
I really want to thank JD for being such a great guest. He’s always so much fun. It was just a fun show and if you missed any of our past episodes, you can go to DrDianeHamilton.com. You can click on radio to listen to it on the show there or you can click on blog to read the show and listen to it. You can also sign up for future episodes. I’m doing a lot more panel moderating if anybody’s interested in that, in addition to my speaking and consulting. I appreciate you tuning in and I hope to have you back on the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About JD Gershbein
Described as a man who defies description, JD Gershbein exemplifies the verve and vision of the social media world. He is that unique blend of scientist and artist, combining the pragmatic with the whimsical to deliver an extraordinary and deeply moving personal brand experience. Having received global acclaim as a LinkedIn strategist, JD is blazing a trail as a new media personality, and making an indelible impression in the business community as a speaker, facilitator, and edutainer.
He was one of the first to the field of LinkedIn training, a leap of faith for a traditional marketer who carved out a name for himself as a specialist while many others took an overview approach to the social platforms. Playing out behind the scenes was his long-time love for broadcasting and performance art, which enabled him to pioneer new and interesting modes of educating professionals and organizations on the benefits of social networking for business.
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