You Must Listen to be Heard

I read a really thought-provoking article by Liz Strauss yesterday titled How to Promote Your Business Without Being Seen as a Smiling Shark with an emphasis on promotion through social media.  It was re-tweeted by someone and since the title piqued my interest in both marketing and brand strategy I clicked on it.  It proved timely as well because I’m in the midst of trying to decide what to do and where to go with this blog.  Should I turn it into a business or just continue to do this for fun and for some cheap therapy? 

Don’t answer that.  I’m still percolating.

I read through the first couple of paragraphs when I came upon a sentence that really struck a chord in me and it was this:  “I’ve found that the key to elegant and authentic promotion is being fully present in the conversation.”  This sentence deserves to be in bold, all caps and underlined.  Why?  Because being fully present in a conversation, being fully engaged, is the single most important factor in any relationship whether it is personal or professional.  People want and need to know that you are listening and that you hear them.  And that requires an investment on your part, an investment of your time and attention. 

Think about it.  How many times have you tried to have a conversation with someone who was answering e-mails at the same time?  Or texting? Or here’s a good one…they were looking at you but thinking about what they would say next?  I’ve had this argument many times with my husband.  You have to be present and fully engaged in the conversation to demonstrate authenticity and gain credibility.  You must listen to be heard. 

Unfortunately there are still those out there who either don’t really get this concept or who are unwilling to invest.  They are happy to simply throw money at social media and spend their time doing other things.  I know because my Twitter-feed is littered with these promotions.  On the other hand, the real masters of social media are active participants in the conversation and the few (and believe me there are only a few) to have figured out how to take such a grand stage and make it an intimate and personal one.  There are only a few who have learned the art form that is “building meaningful relationships through the social media marketplace.”

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