Anyone who spends any time or resources online has heard the saying “content is king”. That, though, is so Web 1.0.
To succeed in being visible and memorable in the Web 2.0 world, conversation is king. And, it’s about engaging conversation not just one sided “walking commercials”. The key to anyone’s success is communication and it hinges on two types of conversations: 1. The conversations we have with ourselves – our internal talk; and 2. The conversations we have with others.
Your conversations have the power to bring your business to new heights and you will see that your conversations more importantly possess the authority to shape your life into what it is you want.
Strong conversational skills with positively affect your life on and off-line. Understand that your skills do not automatically get better when you get online. In fact, social media is nothing more than word of mouth on steroid! And word of mouth is a double edge sword – it can be positive and it can be very negative. How do you make sure that it’s positive word of mouth that is flowing your way?
John Genovese, of the Rapport Key, refers to growing your connections like growing a tree. “Think about your personal network as a tree just sprouting from the earth. As you grow up, you begin to grow stems which eventually turn into branches. Each branch is a connection that you have made and each stem on that branch is a resource that you are linked to. Your goal is to be the tree with hundreds of thousands of long thick branches with smaller stems and branches sprouting out from it. Each contact you make will have his/her own group of contacts, who will be connected to you.”
Here are the basic conversational skills that you need:
• In & outs of breaking the ice
• How to initiate small talk
• How to establish mutual connections and what to say about them
• How to establish someone’s location
• How to establish how a contact spends their time
• How to establish their Hobbies / interests to leverage conversation
• How to establish their aims / goals for future leverage with them
• The most successful way to part ways (by maintaining them as a contact)
And, the given in all this is that you do so authentically from your own style!
You must also be good at communicating who you are and how you help people. Really, what is your super power? Refrain from acronyms and titles – they only box you into someone else’s experience with that position and title. Or, they serve to make the other person feel that they “don ‘t understand” what you just said and so in return you’ll receive a “that’s interesting” or “oh, I see” which is a definite conversation stopper.
For example, I met someone for the first time at a meeting the other day and asked what do you do and she said “I’m a CIO”. Talk about something that sat figuratively like vomit in the middle of the conversation! It was definitely a conversation stopper. I watched her as she repeated her introduction and repelled others as she “worked the room”.
Make sure you have the questions of “what do you do” and “what have you been up to down” in a way that informs and encourages conversation. When you have that part of the conversation already in mind, it will free you up to truly listen which is the cornerstone to success of any conversation.
Maria Elena Duron | chief buzz officer, speaker and coach focuses on helping you move, touch and inspire others to action and speak positively on your behalf at buzz2bucks | word of mouth firm. She is one of the creators of #brandchat, a weekly twitter conversation about all aspects of branding. Duron will speak at the 2009 Massachusetts Conference for Women.