Everything is a “Tell”

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Being originally from Jersey, I have some Jerseyisms in my speech that will probably never go away.  One of those Jerseyisms is the word “tell.”  This is also a Vegas expression.  There are few things I enjoy more than watching and listening to people.  When I speak in Vegas, I love spending time in the casinos.  I don’t spend money in the casinos but I do spend time there.

You’ll often see people at the gambling tables wearing dark sunglasses and hats.  They’re not doing this because they’re trying to be fashion icons.  They’re doing this to hide their “tells.”  Tells are things that give us away.  They’re clues.  And we’re giving them away all the time.  Women tend to pick up on tells quicker than men.  Not trying to be sexist here, but let’s face it…women just tend to see things coming a mile away while we guys often have to be told about something that’s right in front of our eyes.

I’m often accused of playing armchair psychologist.  Guilty as charged.  There’s just so much that you can tell about people without them even realizing that they’re broadcasting all kinds of messages.  And this information can be very helpful in determining where to find your next client, how to locate business partners and many other purposes.

No matter where we go there we are.  We can’t outrun our character.  That’s a good thing.  With over 85,000,000 people using LinkedIn, over 600,000,000 people on Facebook and over 200,000,000 people on Twitter, there’s a lot of “telling” going on.  And here’s a shocker for some people: no matter how many connections you make on Social Networking sites, no amount of connections, friends or followers is going to give you a pleasing personality.  Ah, the irony of Social Networking.

All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they know, like, and trust.  For every minute that folks are learning the newest LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter functionality, they should be spending a corresponding minute in a book like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.  Technology will come and technology will go, but human nature ain’t changing.  Not a bit.

As you’re surfing around your favorite Social Networking sites, watch what people are posting.  Listen to what they’re discussing.  Not from a judgmental position, but from an observational position.  What tells are they giving?  Are they talking about themselves and their business a lot?  Are they showboating?  Are they criticizing, condemning and complaining?  Are they seeking to add value to their connections, friends and followers?  Are they complimenting people?  Are they looking for chances to pay it forward?  Are they looking to help people?  It’s not hard to determine this, just listen.

Differentiate yourself from the crowd.  Seek first to serve.  Look for opportunities to help.  Don’t be so guarded with your intellectual property.  Give away a little.  You may gain a lot.  You’re already giving away tells with every post, interaction and conversation that you engage in.  Make sure that your tells are serving others and who knows, before you know it people may be “telling” lots of others about you.

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