During a workshop we hosted for the EMA last week two people from my on-line world approached me: “you’re active on LinkedIn” and “I like your blogs”. That’s nice I thought and I recognised them too, from their on-line profiles. It can be a strange thing sometimes when you interact face-to-face with people you’ve only dealt with on-line. I have a friend who refuses to do anything communication on-line – even texts are pushing the boundaries: “If I want to communicate I’ll speak to you thanks”.
I’ve come to quite like the on-line world. There is no doubt at all that we can connect with more people (if that’s what you want of course), but significantly, a range of different people with insights and knowledge that you wouldn’t ordinarily have easy access to. So you’ll find me on Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, the Blog, LinkedIn, email, the CIL Website, my personal blog, Skype and I’m sure there’s more to come.
But I do challenge myself: is there an on-line person and a face-to-face person? Or are they one and the same. I hope you’d find me the same although there’s no proof-reading when you’re talking face-to-face so anything might come out, and often does!
And there’s a business reason for doing it. At the Leadership Centre I look after we need customers and so I need to keep communication as easy as I can. I do try to keep the communication honest and authentic which sometimes means asking for business. If we didn’t, I’ll soon be looking for something else to pay the bills, which reflects what I heard Jonathan Ling, the CEO of Fletchers say once: I need managers that firstly, can make a profit. David Silverman in his “4 tips for writing better email” says you should:
- ask for something – a call to action if you like
- say it up front – the purpose should be clear
- explain – don’t expect your readers to know what you know about your products or business
- tell them what you think – don’t ask for ‘thoughts’ without giving yours
I think that these tips can be applied to more than just email, but can form a wider strategy of on-line engagement. I’m sure, if you’re a regular reader here you know that I’m doing plenty in the last category, but I intend to challenge myself about the first one. That’s authentic. We all need to prosper to be able to grow. So like my friend, I’ll speak, but in many different ways that will hopefully work for all of us.