Today much is said about the need and use of social media to drive business performance.  There is no question it has its place.  LinkedIn is great for capturing warm introductions to people in a customer’s network.  Facebook can be successful if it truly interfaces and is constantly updated for customers and prospects.  YouTube and even Twitter plays a role in some businesses as social media tools.

However, as Fast Company magazine so clearly pointed out, “The tactical uses of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have been written into more failed market plans that successful ones.  Social is an attitude and a culture more than a channel.”  That statement applies to every aspect of business, not just “social media.”  Social skills are critical in today’s diverse society.

Here are several tips to ensure you are seen as social as you meet people in the marketplace:

1. When you meet people always greet them with, “Nice to see you” versus “Nice to meet you.”  Why?  It is more gracious and leaves no chance they might say, “Oh, we met before.”

2. When people ask what you do, respond but then ask them, “How long have you been involved in, or a member of, or interested in (whatever the event)”.  Why?  You engage them more deeply than responding with, “And what do you do?”

3. Be engaging even with people you have never met before.  Ask them (while leaning in to show interest), “What are some of the benefits you receive out of this organization?” or “The program was interesting.  What points did you find useful?”  These types of questions will typically generate a good “give and take” conversation and promote you as a good conversationalist.

4. At social events, avoid passing out business cards.  Instead create and use personal cards.  A personal card has these components:

* Your name
* Your personal cell or home phone number
* Your personal email address

This is a personal card, not a business card.  Thus it gives you a way to

have people contact you socially.  For those of you who protest, “But what about capturing business”, fine.  Simply say, “All that isn’t on here is my office number. Would you like it?”  That will create a pathway for further discussion.

5. Always send a hand-written thank you note after every invitation or event.  The personal note is remembered and treasured in today’s email social media world.

Remember, if you are social you will develop a network of opportunities on and off the internet.  The question is – Is your “net” working?

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