Earlier this year, I attended Wordcamp in Miami. It’s a one-day, loosely structured conference with all the topics centered around WordPress blogs – of which, HR Bartender is one. (I wouldn’t say it’s an unconference because it has an agenda.)
Anyhoo, one of the mini-sessions I attended was conducted by Jim Turner, who authors the Genuine blog. During his session, he talked about becoming a blogger and getting accepted by other bloggers. He said the key to his success was simple – never ask your community to “buy your S@#% and click your junk.”
Makes perfect sense, right?!
Of course, Jim was talking about it in the context of blogging and social media. And he wasn’t talking about sending out a few Tweets after a new post. His point was no one wants to read blogs that constantly do little more than selling – buy my book, hear me speak, come to my event, yada yada. The value lies in engaging members of the community in conversation and building relationships. If you write good stuff, people will naturally want to know what you do.
But recently, I find Jim’s words coming back to me in the face-to-face world.
You know, having to deal with the people who only call you when they want something. Or the folks who are suddenly able to grab that cup of coffee because now they’re looking for a job. Or complete strangers who want to meet with you so you can tell them how to be a successful consultant.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for helping those in need, giving back and sharing. But, this isn’t a one way street. Good networking involves giving before getting. What I’m saying is there’s a fine line between networking – real networking – and just asking people to give you stuff.
And regardless of whether someone gives you a gift of their time and expertise or there’s a mutual exchange, it’s important to recognize and thank the other person.
I’m sure on some level this sounds like a rant…and maybe it is. I don’t begrudge anyone for earning a living. And, I whole-heartedly live by the philosophy “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. It’s just important that we regularly take stock in our conversations and make sure we’re giving along with the getting.
Are we spending too much time asking people to buy our stuff and click our junk? If so, maybe that’s OK. Or is it time to revisit our approach…