Advertising
Advertising

Reference Check: You Are Who Google Says You Are

Reference Check: You Are Who Google Says You Are
Google

    If first impressions count, then you are who Google says you are. Your reputation is the first 3 pages of search engine hits.

    The internet and its search engines have become so powerful, available and user-friendly that your reputation is becoming defined by what the first 3 pages of yahoo or google search hits turns up. Forget about personal and professional references for making a first impression because the internet search gets done before that.

    Think about how often you will do a quick internet search before meeting a prospective client or supplier coming to your office. How about checking up on a prospective date or hire? Chances are that you might do a quick internet search before meeting. Likewise if you meet someone at a networking event, how often will you look at their website and maybe poke around the net for a couple minutes or more to get a better sense before calling? For most corporate purchasing, the salesperson doesn’t matter much these days so long as there is good information on the website. If you are looking for a product or service, chances are that you would troll the net before doing much else. It is fast, cheap, easy and hassle-free because you can passively review the information without talking to sales people or going through any tedious hoops.

    Advertising

    There are 3 simple steps you can take to enhance your web profile:

    • Ensure your internet profile from the first 3 pages of hits matches up with who you want others to think you are.
    • Become involved in the online community so there are more cross-references to you and to your website if you have one.
    • Put good content on your website or wherever you leave your mark. If you are submitting articles or participating in searchable forums, make sure the stuff doesn’t work against you later. Presentation also counts so present the content well and not in the wrong places. Porn sites are likely not the best place to post articles, especially if you have a nosy mother-in-law with broadband.

    If you have a website, it should be well maintained and checked often enough to ensure the material there positively supports the online profile you are trying to establish and maintain.

    There are some great ways to enhance your internet profile. Most of them do not involve paying search engine listing fees or buying ads. The better ones include:

    Advertising

    Publishing articles online. Articles that contain your name, links to your website and key words are automatically picked up by the search engines and will bump up the hit counts on your main website.

    Affiliating with other websites. Your hit counts will get pulled up if you tie into trade association or non-profit organization websites, especially those with higher hit counts than yours. Many non-profit associations have websites and if you are an active member chances are stuff will get onto the website and maybe other places on the net from this.

    Keeping past content on the server. Do not remove past content from your website if it is consistent with your desired messaging and already picked up by search engines. It keeps working to advertise you or your business and adds to your hit count. Conversely, empty hits which are those annoying dead ends when you click on a search engine result that goes to content that has been removed frustrates people.

    Advertising

    Monitor your hit counts and do regular searches. Use your website hosting company or third party performance measurement and monitoring tools to tune your website and track links to affiliated sites, articles, etcetera. Be mindful that as your traffic increases, it grows geometrically, not linearly. If your site is an early hit on the search engine results lists, it gets additional traffic because people tend to go to the highest hits first, increasing the counts non-linearly by that act alone. Just like in most competitions, 1st place gets much more attention than 3rd place and 4th place gets no notice or prize money. Hitting on your own site can effect the counts and improve search engine placements, especially if you are highly specialized.

    Send people direct links to your content rather than the file itself. A good example would be for articles. Rather than attaching the file itself to an email, put a link in the email with maybe an extract from the article in the body of the email. That way you do not load down people’s emails while you create additional hit counts that raise your positive internet profile.

    Become a great spammer. Spam the internet itself with your messaging. It is not the same thing as sending spam via email. Participate in forums, comment on relevant news pieces (putting in a link to your website), post articles, join lists and get your messaging into as many places as possible.

    Advertising

    Let your introduction and a positive first impression be made for you by the internet search engines. Whether dating, looking for a job or a client, if you do a good job developing and maintaining a good internet profile, you will have a chance to make a good second impression when you first meet the person.

    Peter Paul Roosen has an engineering background and founded numerous companies including firms involved in locomotive and plastics manufacturing, computer software and marketing. Tatsuya Nakagawa is president and CEO of Atomica Creative Group Ltd., a strategic product marketing company based in Vancouver Canada. He has assisted numerous companies in diverse industries with their early stage deployments and product launches in North America, Europe and Asia.

    More by this author

    20 Things People Regret the Most Before They Die Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science Quit Your Job If You Don’t Like It, No Matter What What Highly Successful People Do Every Day To Perform At Their Best How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

    Trending in Featured

    1 How To Start a Conversation with Anyone 2 Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context 3 How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day 4 5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life 5 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on August 12, 2019

    How To Start a Conversation with Anyone

    How To Start a Conversation with Anyone

    The hardest part of socializing, for many people, is how to start a conversation. However, it is a big mistake to go about life not making the first move and waiting for someone else to do it [in conversation or anything].

    This isn’t to say you must always be the first in everything or initiate a conversation with everyone you see. What should be said, though, is once you get good at starting conversations, a lot of other things will progress in the way you want; such as networking and your love life.

    Benefits of Initiating a Conversation

    First thing is you should acknowledge why it is a good thing to be able to initiate conversations with strangers or people who you don’t know well:

    • You’re not a loner with nothing to do.
    • You look more approachable if you are comfortable approaching others.
    • Meeting new people means developing a network of friends or peers which leads to more knowledge and experiences.

    You can only learn so much alone, and I’m sure you’re aware of the benefits of learning from others. Being able to distinguish the ‘good from bad’ amongst a group of people will help in building a suitable network, or making a fun night.

    All people are good in their own way. Being able to have a good time with anybody is a worthy trait and something to discuss another time. However, if you have a specific purpose while in social situations, you may want to stick with people who are suitable.

    This means distinguishing between people who might suit you and your ‘purpose’ from those who probably won’t. This can require some people-judging, which I am generally very opposed to. However, this does make approaching people all the more easier.

    It helps to motivate the conversation if you really want to know this person. Also, you’ll find your circle of friends and peers grows to something you really like and enjoy.

    Advertising

    The Rules

    I don’t have many rules in this life, for conversation or anything; but when it comes to approaching strangers, there are a few I’d like used.

    1. Be polite. Within context, don’t be a creepy, arrogant loudmouth or anything. Acknowledge that you are in the company of strangers and don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. First impressions mean something.
    2. Keep it light. Don’t launch into a heartfelt rant or a story of tragedy. We’re out to have fun.
    3. Don’t be a prude. This just means relax. This isn’t a science and conversation isn’t a fine art. Talk to people like you’re already friends.
    4. Be honest. Be yourself. People can tell.

    Who To Talk To?

    I’m of the ilk that likes to talk to everyone and anyone. Everyone has a story and good personalities. Some are harder to get to than others, but if you’re on a people-finding excursion, like I usually am, then everyone is pretty much fair game.

    That said, if you’re out at a function and you want to build a network of people in your niche, you will want to distinguish those people from the others. Find the ‘leaders’ in a group of people or ask around for what you’re looking for.

    In a more general environment, like at a bar, you will want to do the same sort of thing. Acknowledge what you actually want and try to distinguish suitable people. Once you find someone, or a group of people, that you want to meet and talk to, hop to it.

    Think of a few things you might have in common. What did you notice about their dress sense?

    Building Confidence

    The most important part of initiating conversation is, arguably, having confidence. It should be obvious that without any amount of self-esteem you will struggle. Having confidence in yourself and who you are makes this job very easy.

    If you find yourself doubting your worth, or how interesting you are, make a few mental notes of why you are interesting and worth talking to. There is no question you are. You just have to realize that.

    Advertising

    What do I do? What is interesting about it? What are my strong points and what are my weak ones? Confident people succeed because they play on their strengths.

    Across the Room Rapport

    This is rapport building without talking. It’s as simple as reciprocated eye contact and smiles etc. Acknowledging someone else’s presence before approaching them goes a long way to making introductions easier. You are instantly no longer just a random person.

    In my other article How Not To Suck At Socializing, there are things you can do to make yourself appear approachable. This doesn’t necessarily mean people are going to flock to you. You’ll still probably need to initiate conversations.

    People notice other people who are having a blast. If you’re that person, someone will acknowledge it and will make the ‘across the room rapport’ building a breeze. If you’re that person that is getting along great with their present company, others will want to talk to you. This will make your approach more comfortable for both parties.

    The Approach

    When it comes to being social, the less analytical and formulaic you are the better. Try not to map out your every move and plan too much. Although we are talking about how to initiate conversation, these are really only tips. When it comes to the approach, though, there are some things you should keep in mind.

    Different situations call for different approaches. Formal situations call for something more formal and relaxed ones should be relaxed.

    At a work function, for instance, be a little formal and introduce yourself. People will want to know who you are and what you do right away. This isn’t to say you should only talk about work, but an introduction and handshake is appropriate.

    Advertising

    If you’re at a bar, then things are very different and you should be much more open to unstructured introductions. Personally, I don’t like the idea of walking directly to someone to talk to them. It’s too direct. I like the sense of randomness that comes with meeting new people.

    However, if there is rapport already established, go for it. If not, take a wander, buy a drink and be aware of where people are. If there is someone you would like to talk to, make yourself available and not sit all night etc.

    When someone is alone and looks bored, do them a favor and approach them. No matter how bad the conversation might get, they should at least appreciate the company and friendliness.

    Briefly, Approaching Groups

    When integrating with an established group conversation, there is really one thing to know. That is to establish the ‘leader’ and introduce yourself to them. I mentioned that before, but here is how and why.

    The why is the leader of a group conversation is probably the more social and outgoing. They will more readily accept your introduction and then introduce you to the rest of the group. This hierarchy in a group conversation is much more prevalent in formal situations where one person is leading the conversation.

    A group of friends out for the night is much more difficult to crack. This may even be another topic for discussion, but one thing I know that works is initiating conversation with a ‘stray’. It sounds predatorial, but it works.

    More often than not, this occurs without intention. But if you do really want to get into a group of friends, your best bet is approaching one of them while they are away from the group and being invited into the group.

    Advertising

    It is possible, like everything, to approach a group outright and join them. However, this is almost an art and requires another specific post.

    Topics Of Conversation

    Other than confidence, the next thing people who have trouble initiating conversations lack is conversation! So here are a few tips to get the ball rolling:

    • Small talk sucks. It’s boring and a lot of people already begin to zone out when questions like, “What do you do?” or “What’s with this weather?” come up. Just skip it.
    • Everything is fair game. If you are in the company of someone and a thought strikes you, share it. “This drink is garbage! What are you drinking?” “Where did you get that outfit?”
    • Opinions matter. This is any easy way to hit the ground running in conversation. Everyone has one, and when you share yours, another will reveal itself. The great thing about this line of thought is that you are instantly learning about the other person and what they like, dislike etc.
    • Environment. The place you’re in is full of things to comment on. The DJ, band, fashions; start talking about what you see.
    • Current events. Unless it’s something accessible or light-hearted, forget it. Don’t launch into your opinion on the war or politics. If your town has recently hosted a festival, ask what they think about it.

    Exiting Conversation

    Although I’d like to write a full post on exiting strategies for conversations you don’t want to be in, here are some tips:

    • The first thing is don’t stay in a conversation you’re not interested in. It’ll show and will be no fun for anyone.
    • Be polite and excuse yourself. You’re probably out with friends, go back to them.  Or buy a drink. Most people will probably want to finish the conversation as much as you.

    Likewise, you could start another conversation.

    If you’d like to learn more tips about starting a conversation, this guide maybe useful for you: How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

    Read Next