Communication Skills

What speakers know about twitter that will help you succeed

By February 18, 2010 No Comments

Doyle Slayton (@SalesBlogcast) turned me on to the Harvard Business Review post about Vancouver’s Twitter Lesson. It’s an interesting and funny (Don’t fault us for not getting the torch up in time, Canadians invented insulin not viagra. #van2010 #olympics)  article about how organizations should focus on positive tweets and ignore the negative because Twitter, by its immediate nature, lends itself to memorializing negative events that otherwise would be forgotten.

Maybe not. Paying attention to those comments, responding respectfully and learning what you can do better is such a great aspect of embracing twitter, accounts with the most twitter followers have had to follow this in order to maintain their audience.

On the other hand, I agree that paying too much attention to the negative tweet – while taking the good ones for granted – isn’t smart business either. A bunch of years ago, I was presenting a full-day public seminar in Napa Valley. A woman approached me before the start to tell me she was a “master teacher” and for the price of lunch (I would treat her), she’d observe my speaking/training style and offer suggestions for improvement. Seemed like a good deal to me and we agreed to meet at lunch time. At the first break though, she came running up to me. “Those three people in the third row on your right hate you,” she said. OMG! How did she know? “I know because you stole from the rest of the audience to try to get them to like you. Instead of focusing on the rest of us who are giving you positive energy and are paying attention and taking notes, you spent almost the entire time trying to woo those three. Maybe they do hate you. Maybe they hate themselves. Whatever, stop it.”

Tweets. They are wonderful evaluations of services provided. And as a speaker, I’m pretty used to reading evals. I once had an attendee write  “your nail polish color clashed with your suit and I couldn’t concentrate.” At first I laughed it off. Get a life, I thought. But I realized she was right and she had the guts to speak her truth. If I was my own distraction to even one person, how many others felt the same way and just didn’t write/tweet it? I stopped using colored polish on my nails.

Don’t let the negative stuff overwhelm you. But don’t dismiss it either.

Your take?