In 2002 Nicholas Boothman penned a book titled “How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less.” Pinterest wasn’t around in 2002, so yes, I mean he is the author. It was a spin-off from a book he released in 2000 titled “How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less.” In his books Boothman states that research has shown that we have approximately 90 seconds to make a favorable impression when we first meet someone.
“If meeting is the physical coming together of two or more people, then communicating is what we do from the moment we are fully aware of another’s presence. And between these two events - meeting and communicating - lies the 90-second land of rapport that links them together.”
How quickly can you build rapport with others? Without rapport, you will not get what you want, but when you have it a lot of opportunities appear. Obviously Boothman’s works are focused on face-to-face situations because they were written before social media came on the scene. But I believe many of the suggestions he offered can be applied to the social media world.
1. Rule Number One: When you meet someone, look them in the eye and smile. Online this means make sure your profile picture is business class. When you follow someone, or are following back a new connection the first thing they are looking at is your picture. I don’t want to see a picture of your company logo pasted into the spot where your face belongs. Also, you might be a fun loving adventurist mountain climber in great shape. But your end goal is to try and schedule a business meeting with me. So, is that really the picture you want to use to create my initial impression? Remember, I’m making a decision in just a couple of seconds on whether or not to take you seriously and at this point of our relationship I don’t care about your personal life. I care about people who can add value to my day.
2. Rule Number Two: When you want them to feel like they already know you, be a chameleon. What does a chameleon do? They instinctively know how to fit in. Online this means you need to fit into your target markets world and not force them to feel like they need to follow your world. Here is a suggestion on how to quickly connect with your audience and improve your social graces:
Before: “I hope you enjoy my tweets.”
After: “I’m looking forward to reading your tweets.”
See the difference? A chameleon makes it about their environment and synchronizes appropriately. When you adapt to their world they will feel more comfortable and be more inclined to like you.
3. Rule Number Three: Capture the imagination, and you capture the heart. Online this means your content needs to build trust and fire the imagination. What does your content look like? Do your blog posts tell a story? Or are they guaranteed to induce sleepiness? Is your Twitter stream engaging, or nothing but “Thank You for Following” messages post after post?
Coercion is about getting people to do what you want them to; persuasion is about getting them to want to do what you want them to do. Persuasion takes more time. It requires understanding your target markets needs and desires. You need to develop trust by building rapport and credibility, and minimizing their risk. If you’re not getting what you want from your online networking behavior it’s time to change your strategy.