Digital Conversations Need New Talents To Talk To People


Cocktail My friend Caryl is getting started in social media. It's fair to say that Caryl is not a digital native but I felt for certain she'd feel right at home in the world of online conversations. She is one of the friendliest women I know. She's funny and smart and the first person to make a new comer in the group feel comfortable. She has the talent of talking to people.

I was surprised when she mentioned she hadn't dropped into her LinkedIn page since we set it up 4 months ago. Her reason was simple - she didn't feel comfortable. "How could that be?" I thought. Caryl is a People Person with cap Ps. Social media = people.

As we talked I found a few reasons why it wasn't as simple as dropping into a Chamber networking event for her.

Caryl's 4 Big LinkedIn Questions

1. How do you engage and determine interest without physical or tonality cues?

2. How do you jump into the conversation when you don't know the people?

3. How do you enter the conversation without being invited?

4. How do you know when to continue the discussion when there is no feedback from the group?

8 Ideas On How To Join A LinkedIn Conversation

1. Read the post and any subsequent comments before jumping into the the discussion.

2. Review the profile's of the people interacting on the thread. You may find some ideas of how to frame your remarks that add specific ideas for your group members.

  • 3. Remember the culture of (most) social networks is not based on who you know but what you share.

4. Remarks are welcomed that take the conversation into areas where new ideas are explore and even when the status quo is debated.

5. Realize that although your input may be considered valuable people may not comment back. Don't take it personally.

6. Returning often to the group will help people know you better, you them and increase your comfort level networking in the social web.

7. Results often lead to "off LinkedIn" conversations where you can continue to build relationships in more depth.

8. Respect the people in your group by keeping your comments on topic *no spammy or overt selling in this world.

What advise would you give Caryl to help her feel more comfortable using LinkedIn and social networks?

note: thanks to jbrotherlove for the edit love.


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I see Caryl's point in being nervous about joining conversations that you are not invited too. I, too, am a social butterfly but hesitate joining in conversations when it comes to online communities. Just like Caryl, I updated my linkedIn profile today after not touching it for months and realized that social media is one of the most effective methods for personal branding. In addition, I recently decided to open up my mind and started blogging and quickly realized that social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc, is one of the most effective ways to publicize.
Thank you for sharing your opinion! I would like to see what you have to say about my blog:

Posted by: Janice Hiromi Reinold on Dec 13, 2009 3:29:40 AM

Great post, Toby! Good tips!

Posted by: Joe Koufman on Dec 15, 2009 9:48:56 PM

@janice - Thanks for validating. This seems to be a challenge that is not often addressed but can be significant for people who are getting started in social networks. You found the social media secret there is synergy withing your social networks since not everyone sees everything in their streams. Popped into your blog. What I love best is your point of view through a mulit cultural lens. That makes your posts unique and gives me a wonderful sense of *you*! Hope you're enjoying the holidays with your family in Germany.

@joe - thanks for your kind words. what seems intuitive to some may not to others.

Posted by: Toby on Dec 16, 2009 10:24:03 AM

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