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How To Become A Social Media Listener In 5 Easy Steps

How To Become A Social Media Listener In 5 Easy Steps

    A few days ago a friend of mine posted (on Google+) that nobody is listening on Twitter anymore. He offered his specific help to promote someone’ blog post there but got no answer. Obviously, because the other part wasn’t even listening. This story made me think about how people are consuming social media.

    Nobody will question that the biggest trend is to be a “broadcaster”. Use social media to promote your business, to enhance your brand, to increase sales. That’s what everybody and their mothers are teaching you nowadays. There’s so much noise in this area that it’s almost impossible to discern useful information from gibberish. That’s why many people entering in social media have really overwhelming experiences.

    I’ve been there too. I had my fair share of learning “how to influence people using social media“. But after having enough, a new trend in consuming this type of interaction emerged. Namely, I became a listener. And it took me only a few weeks to realize that the benefits of being an honest listener instead of an obsessed broadcaster are far more interesting than I thought.

    For instance, I can easily get access to trends. I gave up TV a few years ago and I don’t consume news in the traditional media form. But my need to stay informed didn’t disappear, on the contrary, so I just use social media to see what are the directions, who are taking the lead and what other people are saying about that.

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    Also, by constantly perusing my social media stream I grow what I like to call ”my filtering muscles“. I learned how to easily identify what is important from what is just meaningless repetition. And that proved to be extremely beneficial in other areas too, like casual social conversation. I can easily spot a lazy conversational partner and sparkle the interaction, if need will be. People seldom get bored while talking to me. Or so the rumor goes, anyway…

    But maybe the most important benefit of being a listener is that you get access to a lot of actionable information in your field. Promotions, events, new groups or things like these can be easily spotted and taken advantage of if you’re constantly keeping your eyes on the right streams. All you have to do is listen.

    So, how can you become an effective social media listener?

    1. Organize Your Broadcasters In Groups, Circles Or Lists

    Pretty much every important social media platform has this feature nowadays. You can organize your stream in smaller chunks. If you have a really big social media window, it will take some time to put it into ”folders“. But in my experience this will really pay off in the long run.

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    Also, as you grow the list of people you follow, do take the time to add them to their specific group, circle or list too. In time, their messages will become more consistent and it will also be a way for you to identify if that area really benefits you or not.

    2. Assign Specific Times For Perusing Each Group

    Don’t do it everywhere, anytime. It’s not working. I know, because I used to do it like this: on the computer, in my backyard looking at my iPhone or on the couch, scratching my iPad. The message will get diluted and the initial thrill of interacting will rapidly fade away.

    Instead, schedule some time for some specific list or topic and then drill down all the way to where you were last time you checked it. Dive in, immerse and try to get the most of it. Don’t give in to the thrill of interaction instantly, Just follow a fixed routine and let the results grow slowly.

    3. Respond

    This is not action. This is interaction: you’ll send a powerful message that you’re there, that you’re listening and that what the other part says is important to you. Also, be careful what you respond, with whom you’re engaging in and what do you really expect out of this.

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    Sometimes it will just be a casual information, but most of the time, after I started a thoughtful conversation on social media with somebody I was looking forward to do it for a long time, well, it ended with at least a constant and solid relationship, if not with some real life business stuff too.

    4. Follow Up

    Do this on requests, events or just facts. Ask around if there’s any change or if everything will go as planned. If somebody plans a launch, be there and help but also clearly state your implication in that project. If there will be a meetup, confirm your presence and the logistical details.

    That activity will prove that you’re there. That you’re alive and you’re having at least some simple synapses. People hate talking to robots, you know. So just by showing that you’re there and you’re interested in something, chances that you’ll ignite a solid interaction will grow exponentially.

    5. Take Notes

    I know this sounds utterly unproductive, but it isn’t. At least in the beginning. Do a daily writeup, sketch something in your journal or draw a mind map. Again, do this at least in the beginning. As your interactions will grow both in numbers and depth, you will find less and less useful to write down what happened.

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    But, as any other journaling activity, it will help you understand not only what is really going on out there (for instance, are they only posting boring links or stupid cats videos?) but also what are your real expectations. Are you happy with the time spent there? Just be honest.

    ***

    If you really take the time to look around, you’ll realize that social media is not just a noisy marketplace where you got to strive to make your voice heard at any price. It’s also a space of information, discovery and inspiration.

    In the end, like in any other area of life, it all depends on what you really want to make out of it.

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2020

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

    “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

    Are we speaking the same language?

    My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

    When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

    Am I being lazy?

    When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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    Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

    Early in the relationship:

    “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

    When the relationship is established:

    “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

    It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

    Have I actually got anything to say?

    When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

    A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

    When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

    Am I painting an accurate picture?

    One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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    How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

    Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

    What words am I using?

    It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

    Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

    Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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    Is the map really the territory?

    Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

    A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

    I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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