February 23, 2011


positioned for feedback
Have you thought of giving feedback to people you barely know?

There's little downside since you haven't made a deep connection. You've barely made a connection at all. Yet you can easily set yourself apart with this free sample of your thinking.

Unrequested feedback isn't the same as making your views public to stand out, which deals with publishing. Here the receiver knows who you are, whether you share your views live in person, or later by email or phone. This feedback isn't the same as showing gratitude, though there is a selfless component here too.

Three Examples

Here's what I did at an entrepreneur event yesterday
  1. told the speaker she said "um" often (she caught herself using that same crutch word a few minutes later)
  2. told a person that university-level words made her 60 second group introduction hard to follow and less compelling (she plans to speak more vividly and simply)
  3. told a person that his self-printed business card looked cheap (he explained that proper cards were being printed)
Your feedback will attract or repel. That's fine. That's ideal. That's bound to happen over time. Now's the best and cheapest time to find out. I didn't get slapped or belted once.


People give plenty of feedback but rarely to the person who could directly benefit. Telling your friends about slow service robs the restaurant an opportunity to improve.


Those who appreciate your help will remember, like you more and perhaps mention you to others. They might be inspired to help others.

When you're more attentive to others, you'll be more alert to your own foibles. That helps you improve.


When you give feedback, you might cause offense. Learning how to give feedback reduces the risk but not completely. Toastmasters is a safe place to practice.

Those who feel offended may resist your input, a sign of a fixed mindset. They're tough to help. Wouldn't you rather know that now?

You may not get thanks, but when you stand up, you stand out.


PS Give suggestions for improvements in private.

February 15, 2011


Your professional reputation is about your contributions, not your achievements.
— Jonathan Lister

The head of LinkedIn Canada, Jonathan Lister (profile), spoke about social media at the Toronto Board of Trade last week. He gave many valuable tips and I agreed with most. Here are highlights.

Why Bother?

You know about the power of word of mouth. Jonathan pointed out the social media is word of mouth at scale. The same principles apply. Success comes from being personal, relevant and passionate.

These days the microphone is always on. You (or people like you) are being discussed in some community, even if you aren't there. Turn that into opportunity.

You can now position yourself as an expert at scale. LinkedIn may be the best medium ever. And it's free.
Jonathan suggested you start with a strategy. Years ago the term "social media" didn't exist. I started by experimenting. These days, you can catch up quickly if you hire the right social media expert.

Five Reasons

Jonathan gave five solid reasons to use social media
  1. Managing your reputation
  2. Networking
  3. Establishing yourself as a thought leader
  4. Branding
  5. Generating leads

Marketing Your Business

To market your business, you need to
  • have a plan
  • get involved
  • use your own voice
Your social media plan has three elements
  1. unified vision
  2. objectives
  3. a way of valuing a customer interaction

The Tools

Once you figure out your strategy, you can then select the appropriate tools. While there is overlap, each platform is fundamentally different. For instance,
  • Facebook is for your personal life
  • Twitter is for broadcasting and listening
  • LinkedIn is for your professional life
LinkedIn shows our business connections and lets you gather their insights. You're more likely to read an article when a trusted connection posts a link and suggests you do.

Suppose you were confronted with the challenge in this video:
Skill testing question
You'll have difficulty getting an answer with a search engine. Your best bet is probably your LinkedIn network. Jonathan noted that the connections of your connections are more important than your direct connections.

To find out more about the aspects that intrigue you, do a web search or ask your community.


PS Complete your LinkedIn profile to 100%

February 7, 2011


tattoo: "forever"
You better stand for something or you're gonna fall for anything — John Mellencamp

In today's competitive landscape, taking a stand helps you command attention while noise bombards your clients.

You probably believe in the likes of honesty, integrity, accountability and service. Without proof, they're hollow words. What you say quickly vanishes but what you write can last.

Why not go on the permanent public record with your considered views? This is an easy way to set yourself apart over time. Some will be drawn to you, even if they don't agree with you. That's the power of sharing your convictions.

Go where your clients already gather, rather than where your competitors flock. You're bound to discover blogs and communities.

My Company Won't Let Me

How would your company know what you're doing from home? Be discreet. Setup an anonymous email account (e.g., Gmail) and identity. Find relevant articles on blogs or newspaper websites. If you're not sure how to proceed, observe. If you're worried about making mistakes, get more media savvy (Mitch Joel's blog).

Start leaving comments under a consistent pseudonym. Comments like "great post" add to the noise. You want to move conversations forward and see how others respond to your contributions. Do this effectively and your influence will expand as you establish your authority (principle #3) and liking for others (principle #6).

As your confidence and skills grow, get bolder and switch to using your real name (if allowed).

My Company Will Let Me

You still need to be careful in what you say. You're an ambassador for your firm. Again, you may want to start anonymously. Maybe you'll find you have so much to say that you start blogging.

Real Name

If using your real name makes you uncomfortable, ask yourself why. We state our opinions continuously. What's the problem in recording them? If your views change, so can your opinions.

When issues that concern your clients arise, support their causes. Becoming their advocate is a key strategy in Networking With Millionaires by Dr. Thomas J Stanley. Support their causes and let them know you're with them. Some hills are worth fighting over.

How can you stand out if you won't take a stand?


PS For practice, why not give this post a Rating and leave a Comment?

February 1, 2011


fumble recovery
What happened?

I left home in the dark for an expensive breakfast. Expensive in the sense that there was nothing hot for vegetarians. Cold, sweetened fruit salad is less than appealing on an icy day. That's okay because the food wasn't the draw. We were there to listen to a speaker and network.

Normally, you take your food when you arrive and chat with the people at your table. This structure rewards early arrivals and reduces line-ups. Here we weren't to take food until an announcement was made. That was an opportunity to apply the three tips to master networking events.

The Trio

Most attendees were chatting in groups of two. Rather than risk interrupting, I looked for loners or larger groups. I went up to a threesome. To my surprise, they were all from the same company. They sold location-based search engine optimization. I wasn't a prospect but they took turns talking. I couldn't understand why paying them was better than following Google's five marketing tips. The trio omitted important details like proof and pricing. I couldn't possibly refer anyone to them.

Tips: Split up. Talk to strangers here and  to each other in your office. Be novel. Demo your services (e.g., with an iPad, they could have done a live web search to see if I showed up). Give out business cards or a brochure. Sit at different tables.

The Quintet

I sat at the end of a table of five. Only the person to my left introduced herself. She sat beside a colleague. Neither ate. I asked about her business but she didn't ask a single question about mine. She didn't offer her business card. As the event ended, she left without saying goodbye.

Tips: Don't sit at the same table as a colleague. Pretend you care or save your company money by not attending.

If you're at an event, you might as well use your time well. If the other attendees don't matter to you, be daring and experiment with a new introduction. Perhaps do a survey. Pretend you're the host and treat the attendees as your guests. There are many ways to avoid fumbling.


PS I'll probably return since I had three good conversations. Next time, I'll avoid groups of three and tables for five.