Conversation Skills Trump Social Media Skills

Most people and organizations use a “throw mud on the wall and hope something sticks” approach to Social Media. This may be an effective strategy if you’re in a commodity business, but there really are no commodity businesses, only people who have commodity thinking, but that’s a post for another time. Your success in using Social Media effectively to increase your visibility, showcase your credibility, create referral relationships and strategic alliances and gaining clients while growing your revenue will not come as a result of your Social Media skills. It will be the result of your conversation skills. Just as your success in using your phone will not rest on the bells and whistles of your phone, it will be the result of effective communication skills. It doesn’t matter how many fans, connections or followers you have if people don’t know you, like you or trust you. And the way …

One Conversation At A Time

No matter how many Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections or Twitter followers you have, nothing happens until a conversation is started. A billboard on the highway isn’t a conversation. While most people are running around trying to get more “likes” remember that business is conducted one to one. You can use Social Media to broadcast your message, but at the end of the day, biz is conducted one to one. This may sound obvious, but just look around. Very few people and even fewer organizations understand this. Take a deep, sincere interest in the one person you’re speaking with right now. Whether you’re speaking to them face to face, by phone, or on a Social Media site. Your success always occurs in a conversation. Never outside of a conversation. One conversation at a time.

Personalize Everything

As Dale Carnegie said many years ago, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” No matter how much technology changes and no matter how sophisticated Social Media (SoMe) platforms become, human nature doesn’t change. When you have the opportunity to modify a standard invitation message, reply message, etc. on a SoMe platform, do it. Never use the template which the SoMe platform has auto-populated for you. Using their standard template is like holding up a sign which says, “You’re not important enough for me to take 60 seconds to send you a warm, personal message.” Huge doors of opportunity swing on little tiny hinges. Use effective internet etiquette which I call internetiquette. Personalize everything. Don’t worry about followers, connections, likes, etc. Invest in sincere, authentic relationships.

Anti-Social Media

There are many people who think that success in leveraging Social Media comes down to understanding analytics, marketing conversion ratios, data mining, aligning planets, smelling colors and all other forms of modern alchemy. Maybe for some of the people with tape on their glasses it does, but those things have never been important to me or my clients. I own a car, but I have no idea of how the transmission works and I don’t need to know how the transmission works. But I do know how to drive. Whether online or offline, we can’t outrun our character and we can’t outrun our people skills or lack thereof. If someone IRL (“in real life” as the kids say) gives you a compliment, you’d probably thank them. Unless your social skills suck. And many people’s social skills do as it says in the Good Book “sucketh”. If someone retweets you, mentions …

Unplug From Time To Time

It’s good to unplug from time to time. For the last week, we’ve been on our annual family Spring Break trip. We usually take Spring Break trips somewhere where there’s lot of sunshine, beaches, palm trees and drinks with little flags in them and this year we decided to go to Atlantis in the Bahamas. It was a fun week of eating great meals, drinking lots of margaritas, sightseeing, sleeping late, playing, watching sunsets, swimming in the ocean, in the pools, playing in the water slides and a private swimming encounter with the Sea Lions. The kids had a ball and of course, so did Karin and I. This afternoon I’m flying from here in the Bahamas to Chicago to deliver two speaking engagements tomorrow at a large Financial Services conference. Back to civilization. I made a pretty obvious observation in the beautiful Bahamas. It was interesting to see that …

While Connecting With Lots, Go Deeper With Few

Social Media is full of paradoxes. Just for clarification, a paradox is a seemingly apparent contradiction. SoMe exposes how interconnected we all are and actually always have been but didn’t know it. And we can become even more connected as more and more of the world gets online. Make sure that as you get more connected you go deeper with the people who matter most to you. It’s up to you to determine who matters most to you. It could be clients, prospects, networking partners, referral relationships, strategic alliances, or all of them. It would almost seem like the goal is to just collect friends, connections and followers, but that’s not really the goal. The goal is while connecting with lots of people, create and enrich specific relationships. Connect with lots. Go deeper with few.

LinkedIn Retiring LinkedIn Signal Feature on 7/29/13

On 7/29/13 LinkedIn is retiring their LinkedIn Signal feature. Over the years, I’ve trained lots of biz professionals how to use LinkedIn Signal for huge lead generation and referral creation purposes, but don’t you worry. The brain trust here at Knebl Communications, LLC are always inventing new and creative ways to combine Old School/High Touch strategies and tactics with New School/High Tech strategies and tactics for highly profitable, mutually beneficial, win-win, business relationships. That is all. Over and out.

Use Social Media To Build Rapport Faster

I had a woman schedule an appointment with me to discuss the possibility of hiring me to deliver some speaking and training engagements. Prior to getting on our phone conversation this morning, I went through my normal pre-call Social Media SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). I checked LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter quickly to learn about her so that I could add as much value as possible to our conversation and possible relationship. I quickly discovered that she went to the same two colleges that I did and that she has a newborn. I also saw that she recently returned from a trip to Aruba. I brought this information into our conversation in a non-creepy manner and immediately started developing a “Know/Like/Trust” relationship with her. I’d be shocked if we don’t do business together. Lots of business together. How are you using the amazing free Social Media tools available to you to …

Our Social Media Environment Is A Mirror Of Our Own Attitude

Our environment is a reflection of our attitude. This is true offline and online. We create our environment whether we realize it or not. By focusing on the positive, we build a positive environment around us. Developing the habit of paying it forward and offering to help people on a daily basis through Social Media leads to tremendous amounts of good will and internet karma. Let people know that you sincerely care about them and that if you’re in a position to help them in some way, you’ll be happy to do so. Building your own community of like-minded, positive-focused people is one of the smartest, healthiest and profitable things you can do.

Whether Online Or Offline, Respond, Not React

It’s not what happens, but how we respond to it that matters. Most people don’t respond, they react. In a more interconnected world, having a hair-trigger temper doesn’t serve you well. Posting abrupt, mean or caustic things on the internet and Social Media can have long-term undesirable effects. If someone spits on you, they don’t make you mad. They make you wet. Mad is a decision and often a Pavlovian and unconscious one. Whether online or offline, slow down, take a deep breath and choose to respond in every situation. Technology speeds things up – just make sure it doesn’t speed up something that comes back to bite you in the butt.

A Winning Attitude

It’s getting easier and easier to find the people, expertise, and resources we need to accomplish almost anything due to the internet and Social Media. Let’s just assume for a minute that you’re very good at what you do. There are lots of people who are very good at what you do. So what’s the differentiator? The answer is attitude. Most people get good at their chosen profession while forgetting that the one thing that will move them from being good to being excellent and highly in-demand is a great attitude. Yes, get very good at what you do. And make sure you’re working on improving your attitude every day. Successful people come in all ages, sizes, shapes and colors. But they all have one thing in common, a winning attitude.

When You Create, You’ll Be Ripped Off. Create Anyway.

I keep having people bring to my attention that other Social Media speakers, trainers, authors, etc. are lifting (that’s a polite word for stealing) my own content, even using my “Kneblisms” word for word and earning a lot of money doing it. I don’t compete. I create. When you create, you will be ripped off. They can steal my stuff but they can’t steal my mind. And no one can steal yours either. Create. Add massive value to the world. What goes around comes around, both the good and the bad. And remember that karma’s not a bitch….unless you are.

Know Like Trust Vs. No Like Trust

A person who has connected with me on multiple Social Media platforms and responds to my polite welcome reply messages with immediate sales pitches for their product recently emailed me, “You’re a very, very hard person to get a phone call or face to face meeting with.” I replied, “Not if I know, like and trust you.” There was an MBA’s worth of a lesson in my reply if he grasped it. I don’t think he did, though.


I’m All About Paying It Forward And I’d Love You To Ask Me To Prove It

As our parents and grandparents told us, we only have one chance to make a good first impression. Make smart use of first impressions. When someone sends you an email, calls you, leaves you a voice mail message, pings you on Social Media, etc. think about how you typically first respond to that person. What if one of the first sentences out of your mouth or in your email or Facebook reply was “I’m all about paying it forward and I’d love you to ask me to prove it.” I’m suggesting that this one simple act and then backing it up with action will transform your business and personal life. It has mine.

Use Social Media To Help People

This past Summer it was heartwarming to see the flood of support and encouragement that came from all over the USA and around the globe during the Waldo Canyon Fire which destroyed over 350 homes here in Colorado Springs. During the last few days it has been amazing to see the devastation which Hurricane Sandy brought to the NorthEast and the MidWest. And it’s even greater to see the outpouring of support that’s being directed to the folks affected by this monster storm. Thank God for Social Media. We can pay it forward, help people, spread the love and add massive value to people in ways we couldn’t have dreamed of ten or twenty years ago. How are you using your Social Media channels to help people? It’s as close as your fingertips.

To Engage People On Social Media Ask More Questions

Online or offline, people are the same. Human nature doesn’t change. Many people and organizations are trying to gain traction in Social Media and they’re missing the boat. They often think that if they talk more, they’ll get people’s attention. This is a rookie mistake. It’s like dating. If you just talk about yourself all the time, the other person will smile politely while looking for an exit. Think of the word “engaging.” As in “to engage.” We engage when we come up for air and let the other person talk. Develop the habit of asking better questions. Don’t do like new salespeople do with the whole say it and spray it mentality. Be more engaging. Ask more questions. And then sincerely listen.

Manners Never Go Out Of Style

We’re all very busy running hard. Since it’s so easy to take things out of context online without the facial expressions, tone, and all the other body language signals we normally see offline, it serves us well to err on the side of politeness. I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating. Say please and thank you when you’re online. If you haven’t spoken to someone in a long time, or perhaps ever, how hard is it to start a message with “Hi, long time no talk….” or “I know you’re busy so I’ll be brief….” or how about just a “Hello….”? At the risk of sounding overly sensitive, when someone starts asking you questions or tries to get your attention without even a polite hello, don’t they realize that they’re starting the communication completely on the wrong foot? I guess not, because so many folks have no netiquette …

You’d Better Be Working On Your Social Sales Skills

I’m blessed to speak to and train sales forces all over the USA and internationally on a weekly basis on how best to leverage Social Media for lead generation, client acquisition, top of mind awareness and a number of other sales-related functions. Even after doing this for many years, I am reminded on a daily basis that regardless of an individual’s or an organization’s understanding of Social Media, they better have some very good sales skills. I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs and small business owners (and large organizations, too) have an incredible product or service but they aren’t getting the traction they should in the marketplace. Without blaming the economy or any other number of things, which are all really excuses, the bottom line is that they and/or their people better be sharpening their sales skills just as much as they’re sharpening their Social Media skills. Here’s a …

Corporations Can’t Outrun Their Character

I love this post by Seth Godin: I tell my audiences all the time that we can’t outrun our character. Neither can corporations. Chris Brogan talks about humanizing business. I completely agree. We are in an age now where what goes around, comes around. Literally at the speed of light. On fiber optic cables made of light called the internet. Do the right thing. Because it’s the right thing to do. And all the wonderful things that will happen and come back to you in return will be the icing on the cake.  

Let Them Know You Care

One of the nicest things we can do for someone is to provide encouragement. It’s wonderful to post inspiring messages on various Social Media platforms. But selecting one or a handful of people and encouraging them on a frequent basis is a whole other matter. This needn’t take a tremendous amount of time. Just a check-in from time to time to see what they’re working on in their personal and professional lives and letting them know that you’re thinking of them and wishing them the best in everything they’re doing. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Pick a person or five and let them know you care.