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11 Sep, 2012

Virtually Engaging – Saira Nisa

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles|Coaching Articles|Tips

Virtually Engaging - Saira Nisa
Let’s face it, the present and future is electronic, socially, financially, academically and just generally.

We make and “meet” our friends and contacts online, we purchase online, we submit our homework online, do online courses, we’re always online even when we’re out all thanks (or no thanks!) to those smart gadgets we carry around, we’ve never detached.

It’s the same for businesses. All those who wish to stay ahead of the game and remain engaged with their client base know the way to do so now, regardless of how many other groups of people wish to return to the traditional ways of socialising, banking or shopping.

So for those of you who use the internet and most notably have registered on to networking sites, are you sure you have made the right move? If you regularly engage with your audience and they respond back positively, you’ve made the right move.

If you’re gaining business and popularity from networking sites, then again, you’ve made the right move.

What about those of you who have registered and then done nothing? You read a few articles, click a few links but never utilise the online resources to harness an audience. Was there really any benefit in joining? Maybe you only want access to the articles which is fine.

What about those of you who have paid a membership fee in addition? Most importantly, has anyone made any friends and contacts?!

I find it bizarre that there are business owners who register to a site, complete an online profile and then never network with others on there. I see articles and blogs posted and invites sent to others to join their group and ‘like’ their page but I don’t see many, if at all any, engaging in meaningful conversations.

I’ve been on sites where other businesswomen will even send me friend requests – great! I love it but there is no introductory message.

Ladies, tell me about yourselves, if you want me as a potential client one day or a business contact, then you’ve got to tell me about yourself, you’ve got to (dare I say) talk to me or type since it’s online but either way, there needs to be a conversation otherwise there is no rapport and no start of a beautiful relationship.

Perhaps it’s a misconception. Perhaps business owners genuinely believe that putting a profile up equals instant business and contacts and all the fame and fortune that comes with it. Perhaps mass duplicate postings of our page links will draw the bees to the honey.

One thing I do find (including at women’s face-to-face networking events) is that once women have come across another who is in the same line of business as themselves, they end their pleasantries with a civil grin, conversation becomes vague as they hold back their ideas, visions and thoughts (lest the other one should steal it) and they move on quickly, hoping that they bump into that one other woman who is in the line of business they which suits their needs; you know, a female accountant you can make friends with, a designer you can pitch your artistic skills to and that journalist who can raise your profile.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to sound cynical here or berate anyone, not all women have registered to networking sites and events to sell sell sell. However some I’ve registered with, women there do not like the notion of “strength in numbers”.

This doesn’t mean you all have to merge your companies; it just means you can both impart golden nuggets of experience and advice. You can at least become each other’s mentors. Why do you think there are associations of ‘professions’?

All the professionals in that one industry get together and network, they converse, they share ideas and stories, they all know each other from previous meetings and their success continues outside of those walls.

Multi-level-marketing (MLM) companies work similarly, the success of one person relies on the success of those who sign up in their team and working together and putting the effort in as a team, each person in the team can climb the success ladder together.

Once one person begins to fall behind, you can guarantee someone else will, even if it is just one or two of them.

So next time you register to a networking site, start talking to people, actually start to network. If you send a friend request to someone, follow it up with an email or add a personal message to the request. Add your photograph to your profile so people can relate to you better. Have your company logo there too so others know what you stand for.

People need to be able to relate to you before they will buy into what you offer.

Just to put this into a little more perspective, a story I heard at a business event last year;

When Steve Jobs realised his company was suffering financially, he approached Bill Gates for funding ($3 million or $3bn dollars, I can never remember). Bill Gates asked why Steve thought to approach him of all people and why he should hand over the money. Steve Jobs’ response;

Because without Apple, your company, will never strive to become innovative and will never progress. You need us to keep you in the game.

Bill Gates handed over the funds.

Lesson: competitors should be your motivators and those mentors from whom you learn important lessons.

7 Responses to "Virtually Engaging – Saira Nisa"

1 | Barry Wilding-Webb

September 12th, 2012 at 6:29 pm

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Saira, love the article, just a shame no one else has read it or if they have they haven’t commented…but isn’t that what your article is all about..oh the irony!!keep writing and I’ll keep reading..or is it my turn to write something for you to comment on? Perhaps I’ll write something about online coaching then. Barry

2 | Pauline & Stephen Thomas

September 13th, 2012 at 7:50 am

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Have a lovely day

3 | Mark Tanner

September 13th, 2012 at 11:34 am

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Hi Saira, a great article that hits so many true points.

I really do find it annoying when I try to start on online conversation that never seems to materialise. Maybe time can be an issue but the reality is that priority is the issue.

I also completely agree with the point about mentorship; isn’t that what the ‘old’ idea of apprenticeships was all about? Keep on keeping on! Don’t lose heart.

4 | Aaliyah

September 15th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

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Brilliantly written article Saira, too true! Thank for sharing and the helping others to add value to their communication. Looking forward to reading more

5 | Thomas Jombla

September 16th, 2012 at 6:47 am

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Hi Saira,
Love the article and you drew my attention to very simple behavioural truths that I will start to overcome as I embark on networking and use of other online tools and business I might want to engage. The most that hits me is (to summaries) the lack drive to finalise, develop in-depth rapport and even share ideas with people that I meet at forums, seminars and in training sessions. You might find as you said that people including myself is often scared to let what could be a great idea out with the notion that someone might steal the idea. These are inhibitions that most people and me have to overcome with the though that someone might just be able to harnest or give directions to a much needed and suitable resource by just sharing sharing or talking. Very interesting points you touched on. You are great. Just one tip/advice – proof read the article, as I can see a few grammatical errors and lack of cohesive flow of your ideas or points be but rest assured that I have been impacted. Thanks very much and keep writing and God bless you Saira. Amen.

6 | Saira

September 19th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

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Dear All,

Thank you very much for all of your comments encouragement and feedback. I will keep writing and share my writings. Thomas, thank you for your feedback, I did cringe when I read the article after it was published as I picked up on the errors as well even though I had proof-read it a few times before submission. I now have a proof-reading buddy to help me out when I become square-eyed!

Barry, yes I believe it is your turn now :o ))

Thank you all once again, I appreciate all your words.

7 | Annette Ecuyere

October 9th, 2012 at 10:57 am

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Hi
Saira
sorry it’s taken me so long to get to read your article – lost my way to the blog! Which sums up my connection to it. Your points have been an awakening call and one i really need to take on board. Changing some habits and fixing dates with myself for different areas of my life would be a useful start.
I am only just getting my head around using online services and will need some more help on this. keep writing as I really connected to this and loved the Apple quote at the end.
All the best
Annette

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