In Social Media, and I suppose in business in general, it’s easy to fall in love with our projects, departments, or jobs, and think more highly of them than we ought. You don’t often meet an SEO guy who DOESN’T believe that SEO is the most important part of your online plans. Nor do you see a community manager who feels like customer relationships just aren’t all that important. We dig into the stuff we do everyday. We live, eat, and breathe it. It’s great to love what you do, but it’s a problem when you feel like everyone else should feel the same way.
Executives, bosses, clients . . . they don’t care if your most recent Facebook post was super funny. They don’t care if your last blogger outreach made the bloggers clamor over who worked with you. They care how your work impacts THEIR most important job in the company – their own. Whether that’s brand recognition, Share of Voice, sales, or engagement. The biggest mistake you can make in communicating your important contribution to the company is sometimes OVER-communicating your important contribution to the company.
I’ve seen it in businesses, agencies… everywhere. Heck, I’ve even done it myself. A client paid a lot of money, or an executive went out on a limb to get your extra budget, and you come in ready to over-sell. You prepare chart after chart, graphs, and one slide after another, each one driving home the point more and more – This was awesome! You spent your money wisely! I’m SMART! But something happens about 2 slides in you didn’t expect – they quit caring. Yes it’s great… they are happy it was a success. They want to hear 2 points on why it was a success and move on. But you monopolize an hour, belaboring each point in excruciating detail. Every chart starts looking like the last one… and before long, your client or boss is actually confused.
We social/web professionals love to chuckle here. Because if there’s one thing we love, it’s proving to all the digital nay-sayers that we know more than them. Unfortunately – when the confused person is the same person approving the checks made payable to us, that confusion can very easily bleed over into their entire perception of us and our program.
So many life-lessons in Seinfeld … and one of the most important ones for us in business is knowing when to shut up. 2 graphs showing a couple of successes were enough to make them happy? GREAT! End of show. Close Powerpoint. Shake hands. Toast success. Leave. End on a high note.
It’s a really important rule in sales too. I was in sales in the past – and once I tagged along on a sales call with a newbie. I watched him discover what was important to his prospect, tell her all about how his product would meet those needs, get her excited… and then spend 30 more minutes telling her how amazing all the others features were that she didn’t need. At the end of the conversation, she only vaguely remembered the exciting stuff, and thought that it was too expensive for her, because of all those other options and features.
So shut up. Show the good stuff. Get them excited, and be ready to end early and leave. Use this example – George Costanza nails the High Note Exit.