#SeanInTheShed On LinkedIn LIVE

Following the coronavirus and everybody working remotely I now work out of my garden shed. If social distancing had not been introduced then #SeanInTheShed a business talk show wouldn’t exist. It’s one of the small ways we can turn this crisis into small positive actions.

I talked with Antony Cockle

We go live at 4:30 pm every day of the working week. We start off by talking about the interviewee and how they started their career, then about their business followed by how they are coping with the coronavirus crisis and any advice they would give.

Having published my own book “Flexible” about five years ago I was able to get Beta access to LinkedIn live. I either had to use it or lose it and so I decided to get started.

I talk with Simon Palmer

#SeanInTheShed has made me become a better listener. I’m also learning a lot along the way and making some fantastic business connections which might be mutually beneficial in the future. It’s also good to reconnect with people I’ve known over the years.

#SeanInTheShed broadcasts on a daily basis on LinkedIn LIVE.

Visit my page on LinkedIn to see the archive of #SeanInTheShed footage

Community, collaboration, content and conversations

We all watch Netflix and Amazon Prime at home why can’t we watch work related videos at work?

The way we do business is changing. Phones are becoming redundant from desks. Less people are doing the daily commute to the office as home work becomes more widely accepted. In marketing it use to be about position, placement and price. It’s now about building community, creating content, collaborating and conversations.

With this in mind the business tools we use on a daily basis need to measure up to these changing needs. Employees need to start creating content in communities with customers. The lower value information can be gained on demand at the point of need. Live video calls can then be used for the higher value interactions.

Watch and Learn is a catalyst to all this. Meeting face to face is important but what happens before and after? Take an annual event there is a spike of interest and then conversations die down. People might connect on LinkedIn or email and arrange follow up meetings. However this is only a small fraction of the total potential when it comes to conversations. Indeed at these events there is no smart matching of individuals to enable partnerships or customer transactions.

Watch and Learn builds rich communities which harvest people’s voices and videos making interactions feel more human. This gets away from the sea of emails which don’t build lasting relationships.

Private groups, timelines, playlists, profiles, direct messages allow for content creation, collaboration and conversations. Building community is the new smartest way to do business. It is more targeted, more convenient and a richer experience. Traditional phone calls after all are being replaced by video calls. The truth is we have to keep switching tools from video conferencing software, to email, to CRM and chat apps.

Watch and Learn is one platform where you can build community just in time or in real time. You communicate to people using their preferred method of contact be it text messages, voice messages, video calls, screencasts or live video calls.

Activating all of this leads to a more enjoyable and memorable business culture. Everything is transparent and relationships are built with full accountability and responsibility. There is no he said she said and it’s like a gold fish bowl with clear water. Most businesses are currently operating in an opaque world. Even if an organisation is open and transparent in outlook their systems don’t give this level of transparency all in one place. We all watch Netflix or Amazon Prime at home why can’t we watch more videos in the workplace? 

Learn more at


The massive problem that needs to be solved is scheduling!

The most successful people schedule their time. However, some items in schedules can get in the way of important tasks. For some people reducing the number of meetings and emails helps to declutter schedules. Whether you are strictly on billable time or not we all want to be productive and add value. Unnecessary meetings and replying to communications that shouldn’t have been emails get in the way.

Rather than broadcasting our message at the point of conception we often wait to schedule a meeting. This means we wait for a conversation to happen and the moment has passed. If we do communicate thoughts immediately via email authenticity and meaning is lost.

Already we see people using video conferencing as a new way to communicate more effectively and reducing travel. Video combats global warning and reducing our carbon footprint can only be a good thing. Of course you’ve still got to schedule these video conference calls. 

Conference calls quite often are recorded and sometimes without knowledge of the participants. In a webinar situation recording is accepted but often run of the mill meetings are recorded. Greater transparency about recording is needed. The benefits of recording is a searchable archive similar to email. This helps us to recall and remember prior conversations. Lots of households have Alexa and Google home devices are listening in and whilst there are privacy concerns most people have come to accept these devices.

Now when you are in a video conference call sometimes they’re cancelled because people forget to turn up and other times people are late and had you waiting around for at least five minutes until people join. All of this is wasteful of time. Another point is that video conference calls tend to last half an hour or sometimes an hour. This doesn’t mean that the conversation isn’t important and that you shouldn’t have one hour video conferences! There will be times when a half an hour video call can be replaced with something more efficient of time. We all know as a meeting becomes longer attentions wain. 

Combining asynchronous communication with video allows for a more personable communication that doesn’t need to be scheduled. Whilst these videos are not live the recipient gets to choose when they play the video. Undoubtedly some users will play the videos shortly after every recording and others will wait a few hours. This allows a greater flexibility around schedules.

For businesses there are a multitude of videos you could post. It could be an appraisal video with evidence to your manager on what you’re learning what you’re achieving. This sort of video diary will be able to be played back by not only your manager but you yourself.

You might be a coach or mentor developing a member of staff. If your staff are remote it can be a challenge after a face-to-face meeting to keep in contact. Again asynchronous video can help keep relationships and conversations going.

You might have just won some new business and want to personally thank a customer for the contract award. Why not send a video? Not only can you thank customers but video can be a fabulous way to praise staff for going the extra mile whether that is in a private direct message or on a company wide timeline.

When you look at the most popular Internet platforms at the moment video is a common ingredient. For entertainment there is prime and Netflix. Kids prefer YouTube and TikTok. Lots of young people use Instagram stories and we are all sharing videos on WhatsApp.

Video isn’t going away. Transcribed videos with ability to quickly recall key information makes the corporate intranet much more appealing. When it comes to knowledge transfer be it handovers or for new starters video screen casts showing and telling how software is used increases time to competency.

The world of business is heading towards self service. If you’re travelling abroad you check in online yourself, in the supermarket there is now self checkout. When it comes to business communications there will always be face-to-face communications for building relationships. Video messages are there to supplement communications for “between times” to improve your productivity (avoiding a meeting) and to increase richness of communication (videos beat email for authenticity). With more people working from home and people being conscious of their carbon footprint video might just be the answer. Less scheduling, less travel, greater productivity without compromising relationships.

You can learn more about video and artificial intelligence at the below link:

Why Mental Health is more important than Academic Achievement

Sean with Professor Steven Peters at Aspire Leeds

Sean with Professor Steven Peters at Aspire Leeds

We have just hosted a fantastic event at Aspire in Leeds with Professor Stephen Peters the bestselling author of “The Chimp Paradox” book.

The brain has three main component parts. The chimp, the computer and the human. In real life it takes five human beings to pin down a chimp. Similarly, the chimp part of the brain is hard to control. Clearly, children with underdeveloped brains find it harder to control the chimp but this can be learned over time.

If emotional intelligence and calm centred leadership are important for success then it’s easy to understand why Professor Steven Peters has helped a number of famous sports celebrities and international sports teams.

Professor Steven Peters Key Note on Why Children's Mental Health is more important than Academic Achievement

Professor Steven Peters Key Note on Why Children’s Mental Health is more important than Academic Achievement

Professor Steven is himself a humble man that served as the Dean at the School Of Medicine at Sheffield University for 30 years. His moving into working with sports teams was by accident when he was approached by a cyclist who had a friend with mental health issues.

Professor Peters isn’t actually interested in sport and doesn’t watch TV. But he is interested in people and this has been his lifelong vocation.

Profoundly during Professor Steven Peters talk about why mental health is more important than academic achievement he made a salient point. When you are on your deathbed and you’re talking to people they never mention what they have achieved they only ever mention memories of loved ones and have sometimes regrets of why they haven’t been happier or had more fun.

Webanywhere staff at Aspire Leeds

Webanywhere staff at Aspire Leeds

All human beings are unique and we are born with genes. These genes determine whether we have a calm nature or let’s say we are a little bit hot-headed. This was exemplified by the playing of the video showing two dogs eating ice cream from the cone. Initially, you feel sorry for one of the dogs because they seem to be left out. After one dog licks the ice cream gently and the other dog is left out all of a sudden the cone is gone and no more ice cream is left. One of the dogs quite simply could not control their chimp!

Mental health, especially with young people, has far reaching consequences. The root causes of mental health are complex but topics such as exam stress, social media and financial hardship at home can impact the lives of young people.

The important time for brain development is through the years 0 to 5. During a child’s early development, parents need to show love and stability. The brain actually doesn’t stop fully developing until the age of 32 which probably explains some of the irrational decisions made by teenagers and young people in their 20s.

Aspire Leeds - Why Children's Mental Health is more important than Academic Achievement

Aspire Leeds – Why Children’s Mental Health is more important than Academic Achievement

By understanding the mind and how it works, both teachers and children can be better supported. A good example of how you can control your chimp is when you’re at the traffic lights in your car and the light is on amber. Do you amber gamble? When you drive ahead your chimp is winning the battle and this can have far reaching consequences.

Professor Steven Peters was faced with a patient who has done just that. His patient had driven through the traffic lights only to kill a young person. Steven goes on to make the point that we are risking far too much by not controlling our brain.

Again, when adults are dieting the human part of the brain is agreeing to the good reasons why we should do it, quite often the chimp will win out by forcing us into a restaurant to eat a burger. It’s mind over matter. We need to remove the emotions and commit the time to what we want to achieve.

A good tactic for ensuring that we beat the chimp, for example, is to agree to do a sporting activity with a friend. If we don’t like letting our friends down then we will turn up for that run and beat the chimp.

Following the worldwide success of “The Chimp Paradox”, further books have been released by Professor Steve Peters. These books include “The Silent Guides” and “My Hidden Chimp”. My Hidden Chimp is particularly aimed at children.

You can learn more about Professor Steven Peters work here:


You can also listen to this short podcast

Why Mental Health is more important than Academic Achievement

Alexa can you fill in this form?

Turning web forms into Alexa skills

Turning web forms into Alexa skills

We all have websites and within those websites alongside educating customers, informing them of new products and services, explaining our company ethos and other matters there are web forms.

These web forms are full of utility and often drive a transaction or business process. Quite often the success of your website is to get people to fill in a particular form. UX and UI designers think about the different personas visiting your website and provide different user journeys to fulfil website goals. Indeed, Google analytics allows you to set up goals for the submittal of a form. Following this, based on your average order values and conversion rates you can tell what a goal is worth.

If the output your driving is for a user a customer to fill in a form either to enquire for customer support, get a quote or perhaps even to purchase order the less friction you can create on the journey the better.

In instances where using the voice is quicker, simpler and easier than using a traditional website or mobile interface then a voice first approach should be considered. Conversational interfaces for interacting with technology are not to substitute existing legacy systems but to complement them.

With the rise of smart speakers, voice assistance enabled on mobile phones and people’s behaviours moving towards sending voice notes over text messages there are big opportunities for you and your customers interacting via Alexa and Google assistant. If you haven’t already tried it and you’re an iPhone user setting up a calendar appointment or reminder using Siri is far quicker than manually touching your screen on your mobile phone to make this happen. This is because we can talk 4 times faster than we can type.

A use case of this in action is Virgin Trains. To book a train ticket on the traditional website took an average user seven minutes. When Virgin Trains launch the Alexa skill for customers train ticket booking times reduced to 2 minutes. Clearly, for the customer journey this is for faster quicker and simpler. Furthermore once Virgin Trains let the history of what the customer wanted for example the typical commute the user could simply asked for the last train ticket which would speed up the purchasing cycle yet again.

Recently, we launched a home valuation Alexa skill for Hunters. Whilst want we did may seem rather innovative and was a UK first in essence we ran a number of workshops with our customer to establish which Alexa skill would offer the greatest ROI and solve the biggest problem.

The consensus was to convert the popular web form for home valuation on the Hunters.com website to an Alexa Skill. Since launching the Skill the Hunters franchise network have given positive feedback and new sources of leads are generated for agents.

Your website will have web forms embedded within it. These will range from customer service and support, to general enquires and product reviews. You can take your existing proven web form interfaces to the smart speaker and voice assistants ecosystem.

Finally, because we live in the now economy and everyone is wanting to save time, money and increase convience voice interfaces will win out on the long term. Voice only interfaces might be low for e-commerce transactions but the addition of screens for multimodal experiences is changing this. Soon people will be browsing the web on their Smart TV with their voice and making purchases. Google Home Hubs and Amazon Echo Shows have screens allowing you to see and hear responses when interacting with smartspeakers.

To learn more visit: