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Twitter- You either love it or hate it!

  • There are those who feel it is self-indulgent and useless when it comes to promoting your business or career.
  • There are those who find it fun, powerful, engaging, entertaining or just plan addicting.

Regardless of which category you fall into, I want to share a couple of quick stories themed “How Twitter can help you face-to-face network”. I want to share some of the powerful connections I have experienced using those pesky 140 characters.

Great Connection Moment #1

On a date at my favorite NYC restaurant in December,  I tweeted about the delicious meal I was having and the spectacular quality of the ingredients. That tweet aroused the interest of the owner who does his own tweeting (love that!). Over the following weeks, we talked back and forth on Twitter about my love of the restaurant (been going there for almost 20 years but never met him) and some funny exchanges: quality of the food vs. quality of the date (smile). Fun. Authentic. Hysterical at times. Told him I was headed in there for brunch on yet another date with a different person a few weeks later. I was greeted with a reserved table sans the hour-long wait, special attention and a fully comped meal. Business owners and food lovers alike take heed. Brand loyalty is rewarded! All starting with 140 characters!

Great Connection Moment #2

Headed to the Do It In Person Party during NY Entrepreneurial Week a few years ago after just starting my business, I was certain I knew absolutely no one at the party.  I was on my own, but I enjoy meeting people so I thought, “this will be fun!”

After getting a drink, I wandered over to a guy, Nick, who looked nice and was not speaking to anyone at the time. We struck up a conversation about technology since that is his passion. Soon another person joined us- a lovely female copywriter named Sara. The conversation soon took a turn to social media (big surprise since it is one of my favorite conversation topics) and lo and behold we discovered that both Nick and Sara learned about the party on Twitter. How Fun!

We vowed to keep in touch and sure enough, the three of us continued to tweet.  A few months later had a meeting of the minds at a funky downtown hotel one afternoon.  Sara has since moved to Denver but we all send a tweet out to each other every once and a while keeping each other in mind for referrals.

Great Connection Moment #3

Matthew, a friend and colleague of mine who used to live here in NYC hosted a virtual telesummit of fascinating speakers a while back. I spent much of my time during the interviews tweeting nuggets of wisdom and observations to pass on. I was not alone in this. Another person named Jared was doing the same. With each interview it became more and more fun for me to share the space with him. And from that point on, we followed each other on Twitter and shared a few thoughts from time to time.

Not long after the telesummit, Matthew and I were in Seattle at a weekend event at which I was speaking and he told me he was getting together with a new friend who had recently moved to Seattle. Cool. But even more interesting was that the two of them had struck up a friendship first on Twitter and then over the phone. This was the first time they were meeting. When he told me it was Jared I squealed with delight! Oh I wanted to meet him too! And I did- he is as smart, quirky and generous in person as he is on Twitter.

And there are so many more of these stories! Stories from sporting events, coffee shops, concerts, lines at stores, Amtrak train rides and the list goes on!

Twitter is just a tool. A tool that can absolutely be used to help you to build your networking circle and provides for fun and often off-beat face-to-face networking opportunities with people you may not have interacted with in any other way!  Don’t be afraid! Try it! All you have to lose is a few 140-character thoughts!

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I love the Muppets.

I am almost 46 years old and I love the Muppets.

They are my friends- at least that’s how it feels.

They make me happy and hopeful.

When I forget, they help me to see the world for what it is- magical, fun and filled with opportunities to love.

I have blogged many times about hero Jim Henson – ALWAYS the answer to any version of that question “if you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?”

Through his willingness to step out and be exactly who he is (at a time in the 60s and 70s when I cannot imagine it was a big popularity move to be a grown man creating puppets) has had a profound impact on my life. The risk, the creativity, the vision, the ability to reach people in the best way he knew how, and the gentleness of his entrepreneurial spirit shining through…. All make me cry with overwhelming joy. Each and every time I think about him. A perfect embodiment of that statement, “Attraction not promotion. I want what you have.”

And in my mind, an incredible example of vulnerability.

Thank you Jim.

Thank you for wanting to be on that new medium-television-so much so that you created puppets to be sure that your dream was realized.

Here is one of my favorite segments of a larger series called The World of Jim Henson to share with all of you. Some remarkable insights into how it all began.

On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful to you, Jim and the risk you took to share your crazy brain with us!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

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Wonderful opportunity to join a dynamic discussion with Ted Rubin, Kathryn Rose, Miriam Cohen and moderator Susan Newman on a topic near and dear to all of our hearts. This is a 25 minute sampling of the 45 minute panel presentation on Main Stage.

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Yes, I admit it. I love Twitter. Tweetlove is addicting.

New friends. Old friends. Industry leaders. Breaking news. Links. Pictures. Videos.  Social causes. It’s all here. And more.

I love Twitter. I appreciate Twitter. I remember where I was when I first learned about Twitter. (yes, this probably really makes me a geek, doesn’t it? See my prior blog post)

I have so many clients, collaborators, friends and community members who do not understand. They don’t get it. And that’s okay. I am a HUGE Twitter advocate and the #tweetlove is flowing on a daily basis but I understand it’s not for everyone.

However, I thought I would take this self-indulgent moment to talk about 10 reasons I love Twitter and how it has helped to transform my business! Maybe you will gain an insight or two regarding how Twitter can support yours.

10 Reasons I LOVE Twitter in my Business:

Research: Rarely do I go to a conference or event without first researching the people involved-coordinators and speakers. I review the conversations surrounding the event. I look for what the social buzz is and usually jump in and comment. Connecting with people this way makes the huge room of people so much smaller when I arrive.

Build Community: Based on ME. People on Twitter see what I talk about, what I promote, who I talk to, what I care about and can get a sense of who I am. I build my community without any fancy technology adding people who “might” resonate. I want you to clamor to be in my tribe so we can get to know each other! Sure there are a lot of people following me and people I follow who I have not yet met. But I am always keeping in mind it is about quality not quantity.

Make Friends: Yup. I make friends on Twitter. Friends where just like other forms of social media, my aim is to eventually move the conversation from Twitter to the phone or a cup of coffee or an event. I can count off the top of my head over 3 dear friends, 20 business colleagues, 8 clients and hundreds of collaborators who I met on Twitter. Plus there are all those “friends” who just talk to me on Sunday when we are chatting about Giants Football.

Find People in Airports: Honestly better than Foursquare. One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to tell everyone on Twitter where I am. And about 8 out of 10 times, someone I know or who I follow/follows me is in that airport or city with me. I meet them for a hug or a hello at a Starbucks.

All About the Fast-talking: Everything in 140 characters or less. Streams moving at the speed of light. Conversations thrown out and whizzing past me. I love it. It’s me-fast-talking at its best. And if you’ve spent even 10 minutes with me, you know I am a fast-talker!

Breaking News Source: I admit it. Twitter is where I find most of my breaking news. Not only by following established news sources but bloggers and other Twitter news junkies. Natural disasters, NYC neighborhood news, world issues, etc. all come to me through Twitter at least at first glance because I can get a brief view, photos, links and opinions all in one place.

Lovin’ the Hashtag: Sometimes, I just search hashtags for the fun of it. Sometimes I just add them based on how I am feeling (like #joy). But the best use of this hashtag concept in my business is to see who is in a particular Twitter stream while at an event, before a conference, or determining who is talking there who I can connect with and get to know.

Favorite Brands and People: I follow the brands I love, the celebs I love and the thought leaders I want to hear from. I talk to brands-like Starbucks, 3M and USAir-to their customer service team and their marketing team. Hotel room upgrades, free coffee, rebooked flights and book excerpts are just a few of the “gifts” I have received via Twitter from various brands.

Insights into People: You get to see the random thoughts of people you know. It is so funny to see what they are thinking about beyond their business and their main message. People with their favorite sports teams, pets, music, movies, and causes-great connection points for further conversation and relationship building.

All Organic: I talk about what I love-connecting, my cats, coffee, post-its, planning, strategy, Muppets, social media, my family, NYC and the list goes on.  And here is just one more little bit of Twitter Trivia about me-a few weeks ago I stayed up late on a Sunday night to watch my twitter “odometer” move from 4,999 followers to 5,000. Such a proud moment since I grew this community organically with no big technology intervention to go out and find thousands of people for me to follow and to manipulate them into following me. All organic. Just how I like it!

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Coffee Location:  At my desk as the sun comes up over Harlem

Today’s Beverage of Choice:  Espresso in my little white espresso cup

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Friday night, my friend Lena West brought me as her “plus one” to the NYC premiere of a highly acclaimed documentary. How will I ever thank her enough? This experience was, well, life-shifting and perspective-shifting.

What I knew going into the event was that I adore Lena, private screenings with the opportunity to rub elbows with powerful women thrill me, the documentary’s theme was right up my alley, I adore a panel with the writer, director, producer and other key supporters and perspectives which was to follow the screening, and then add that to the special instructions that we were not to share this event or our thoughts on the topic with our social media communities until after the screening was all quite intriguing to this gal!

Leaving the event, I wanted to run through the streets of Manhattan gathering people to watch the film. I wanted to call every mother, father, aunt and grandparent in my life and have THEM watch the film. I wanted to own a copy immediately. I wanted to get this programming in every school in the country. And more than anything, I just wanted to go home and have a good cry.

Here’s a little information:

Miss Representation

http://www.missrepresentation.org

When the documentary Miss Representation premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, audiences were riveted and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network acquired its broadcast rights.

The film explores how the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.

It will premiere in the US on Oct. 20th at 9pm ET on OWN. Set your DVRs.

Honestly, there is too much swirling around in my brain to really make sense of it all right now. I’ll watch this film again and again to clarify the language I want to use. To express the waves of feeling bubbling inside. This is what happens for me- and when I came to understand it I was so less critical of myself. When a topic or an experience affects me deep down in my core belief system, I get “stuck”. The words don’t come out. I lose my voice. Only tears come out.

When the screening was over, I looked at my new friend Lena and between the sobs and the hugs, I said “There are things you don’t know about me- that you could not have known- that were touched to the core with this movie. How will I ever thank you enough?”

For me, I need a plan [huge surprise- right?]

A plan to ensure that all this emotion does not stop with a weekend of thinking about the film and its impact and a few days on social media encouraging people to watch the nationwide premiere on Thursday. I NEED to carry this message for me, for my nieces, for all the children watching television, playing a video game, reading a tabloid site or getting dressed for school right now.

I am not sure yet how my plan will play out- but here are a few initial thoughts:

  1. Already signed the pledge on misrepresentation.org- take a look and see if it is something you are willing to sign! It states: “Together we are amplifying the voices of women and girls everywhere, motivating men and boys to stand up to sexism, and taking steps to shift our culture towards equality. Join the campaign today!”
  2. Find ways I can be involved in this movement. Give my time. Leverage my influence. Fundraise to get this message into schools using the curriculum they have created.
  3. Work locally with the sponsor organizations to carry this message.
  4. Reach out to Dr. Jean Kilbourne from Wellesley- prominently featured in the film and whom I could not find in the crowd after the screening.
  5. Share this individually with all the young men and women I have mentored over the years.
  6. Keep crying. Keep feeling. For me tears equal movement!

I encourage you to set your DVR to record the airing of this film on OWN on Thursday, October 20 at 9 ET. And I would love to hear your thoughts and further the dialogue together. Every hour I get more ideas and clarity around the issue. Together we can make such an impact.

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These past few months have been “event season” for me!

Conferences, one-day events, networking parties and the list goes on. These events energize me… until I crash from exhaustion!

And we all know- it’s A LOT!  There is so much to think about for each event:

  • Do I really want to go? (Maybe I’ll just finish that book instead!)
  • Will I know anyone there? (Or will I stand around looking like an unconnected, boring person?)
  • Will the content/crowd be interesting to me? (I do not want to waste my time)
  • What will I wear? (This is one of those thoughts that will actually over-take your mind and keep you home rather than networking)

And that is only the tip of the iceberg. I hear these statements and questions from clients, colleagues and friends OFTEN.

Therefore, I wanted to take a moment to share a secret with you. The process I use to prepare for each of these events. It is simple. You can implement it immediately in your business and life!

  1. Research. Research the speakers, facilitators, sponsors, coordinators, and hosts. Depending on how much lead time you have, you can do the simplest things such as following these people on Twitter or Facebook. Look up their profile on LinkedIn. Read their blog. Use this information to evaluate if this is the right event for you!
  2. Engage. You can take all this research to the next level and join the dialogue of the event~ Tweet with people talking about the event, for example~Now it is pretty likely that you will have a little list of people attending the event who you can say “Hey I met you on Twitter” and the small talk moves to a more knowledgeable discussion about their business or interests.
  3. Prepare. I go to EVERY event with a list of at least three people who I know will be there. They could be colleagues, friends, or people I have been interested in getting to know. But I am armed with info and I literally write it down on a post-it note or index card- sometimes with a few notes about them I can use in conversation (mutual friend, school they attended, recent business development, etc) When in doubt, I can always pull out that list and head to speak to one of those people in the room.

Now this might not help you decide what to wear, but I can guarantee that you will walk into the event confident and full of purpose!

Get out there and try these tactics this week. Let me know how it goes!

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  • How much time are you spending each week promoting your business?
  • Does it feel uncomfortable for you to constantly be drawing attention to yourself and/or your business?
  • Are you running out of things to say and places where you can say them?

These three questions are a constant source of conversation with my clients. And like everything in my approach to business strategy, I want to keep it simple. When it comes to promotion, it’s all about the combination of ingredients in your business– like baking cupcakes!  You have some foundational work (the batter), some choices to make (size, special treats like chocolate chips) and the parts that have you grinning from ear to ear  (oh that’s the frosting!) and then sharing that excitement with those around you. Cupcakes are “Happy Food!”

Now how can we get that attitude transferred to your business in the area of promotion. Simple, fun and blended into your life and activities in a way that feels empowering – not like you are spinning around without a plan.

Promotion is Simply a Form of Self-Expression in Your Business!

And for most of you- You ARE your business- You ARE your brand– so the stakes are even higher or so it seems. From my perspective, this fact makes it even easier!

Take out that calendar- paper or electronic – and get ready. You need specific times set aside on your calendar for promotion- EVERY DAY. I am serious. This is not an activity that can be handled in fits and starts. Consistency is KEY here.

This does not mean that you engage in the same promotional approaches over and over again! Shake it up. Have fun! Promotion is FUN. This is your business!

If this whole idea scares you a little, GOOD! It should. You are taking it up a notch!

Write into your calendar EXACTLY what you will do each day. Blog post. Article creation. In my opinion, social media should be written in for a few minutes every day on your calendar. Newsletter. White paper. Commenting on people’s blogs. Calls to possible collaborators. Book speaking opportunities.

Uncomfortable drawing so much attention to yourself? Well, ultimately you will need to get over it. But for now, get some help. There are communications experts out there who will help you promote, write and share your thoughts with the world!

Your target audience needs you!

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