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How To Look People In The Eye Digitally

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  • By Ted Rubin
  • Leading Social Media Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators
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Overview

In today’s digital world it’s all too easy for us as brands and individuals to let our relationship-building muscles atrophy. We get caught up in a multitasking whirlwind of emails, social updates and text messages where it’s easy to let a connection or a conversation fall through the cracks. We’re super-connected, yet somehow

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disconnected at the same time. This puts us at risk of losing the very relationships that help us prosper as companies and people.

In How to Look People in the Eye Digitally, Ted re-introduces us to the one-on-one communication skills we’ve forgotten in our rush to new technologies. He shows us how we’ve let social and mobile technologies hold us back, and teaches us new ways to use the people skills we already have to stay connected in an authentic, human way. Through anecdotes from his own experiences as a busy, socially connected executive and single dad, plus examples from brands that are getting it right, Ted inspires new ways to build relationships online that truly grow and prosper.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter One: Listen First: It's the Most Important Step

Chapter Two: For Heaven's Sake, Respond!

Chapter Three: #JustBeNice

Chapter Four: Take It Offline

Chapter Five: Use All Possible Channels

Chapter Six: Some Great Examples, from Brands that "Get It"

Chapter Seven: When in Doubt, Be Human

Printable Resources

About Ted

Chapter One: Listen First: It's the Most Important Step

Sales. It’s the ultimate measure of success in any business. Yet there is a single distinction between a good salesperson and a bad salesperson that just about everyone can agree on—the ability to listen. The same thing can be said for managers, customer service personnel or C-suite executives. Those that are most successful are not just doers, they’re great listeners.

When you’re trying to build relationships, listening is the first skill you need to master, and the person you’re talking to right now is your first priority. There’s nothing wrong with a high level of confidence in yourself, your brand and your business, but it always needs to be tempered by an understanding that listening is the key to the whole process.

Unfortunately, none of us practices the art of listening enough. It’s not something that we’re taught in elementary school (although I think it should be!). We usually learn it by trial and error—mostly error—and yet it’s the single most fundamental skill humans need in order to build and maintain relationships. When we converse with people face-to-face, we not only listen to what they’re saying, we also learn to catch subtle social cues. Those who are observant enough can see when someone’s body language suggests that they’re losing interest, or that the expression on their face indicates confusion.

Humans have an inherent need to be heard and to have their feelings validated, and you don’t have to go far to find examples of what happens in sales when listening doesn’t happen.

Think about car shopping for a moment. Let’s say you walk into a dealership with a make in mind, but with some questions about the different models available. How can the salesperson win you over, and, just as importantly, what might they do that would turn you off immediately? No matter how well the salesperson knows their brand and how good their intentions, a one-sided monologue is likely to send you scurrying for the door. You don’t want to ask a question about engine specs only to receive an answer about this month’s red hot payment deals (or no answer at all), yet we’ve all been victims of this kind of lazy salesmanship.

It’s a simple concept. If you call, you want someone to answer. If you ask a question that applies to your unique circumstances, you don’t want a boilerplate response. We recognize and act on this type of thing all the time in face-to-face settings. However, the standard for digital interaction has been lowered dramatically in comparison. Maybe it’s easier to miss without the benefit of body language and personal interaction, or maybe it seems easier to manage your digital presence at arm’s length than to truly dig in and get involved. In either case, the easier way is not the better way. Social isn’t magic, and success takes effort. The key is to learn digital listening skills and use those skills to relate better with individuals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ted Rubin

Ted is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators and in March 2009 started publicly using and evangelizing the term ROR: Return on Relationship™... a concept he believes is the cornerstone for building an engaged multi-million member database, many of whom are vocal advocates for the brand, like the one he built for e.l.f. Cosmeti...

Ted is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators and in March 2009 started publicly using and evangelizing the term ROR: Return on Relationship™... a concept he believes is the cornerstone for building an engaged multi-million member database, many of whom are vocal advocates for the brand, like the one he built for e.l.f. Cosmetics as the Chief Marketing Officer between 2008 and 2010, and the one being built for the new updated OpenSky where Ted was Chief Social Marketing Officer until the end of April 2011. On May 1st, 2011 Ted announced leaving OpenSky and accepting the position of Chief Social Marketing Officer at Collective Bias (whose Advisory Board he joined in January 2011), a company he has worked closely with since it was founded by John Andrews who Ted met through the blogging community when he was leading Emerging Media at Walmart.

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Connect

  • Mike

    Hi Ted! Big fan – Builds on the “Return On Relationship Book” and makes #digital interactions as genuine and as real as in the regular world. #JustBeNice!

    • substantium

      Thanks Mike! Always super cool to hear from readers. Make sure to keep up on this by following @TedRubin or #RonR