Today I just got an email saying that I was a “prodigy”. About a month ago I was called a “legend”. Heck, I was even called an “SEO celebrity” at one point.
But why is that? Why do we build up people we follow online way more than we should? Why do we keep forgetting that the people we follow are real & just like us?
This past weekend I met up with John Doherty and Tom Critchlow, two highly respected people in our industry. Before leaving, I remember telling one of my friends “holy crap! What have I done? I’m going to feel plain stupid in their presence.”
But you know what? I didn’t. I forgot that they, although smarter, were just like me. Sure, I did a lot of listening, but from time to time I had something to contribute to the conversation.
Which leads me to a bigger issue…
I want to talk about how you should act when talking with influencers online. We understand “why”, but the subtleties of “how” don’t get talked about much.
If you want to be on their level of expertise one day, then act like it. If you keep on flattering them and telling how amazing they are, it gets old. Just as Dale Carnegie said, “don’t flatter, appreciate”. Think about it, which of the below sounds better?
“Jon, you are a freaking prodigy! I love everything you do and everything you write. You’re so amazing!”
“Jon, I highly respect your work.”
Even though the second is shorter, it’s better, because I’m not overwhelmed. It’s also part psychology. If someone is saying how amazing I am, I imply that they are below me, because that usually means I’m significantly better than them in some way.
Instead, show appreciation, but act as if you’re on their level. Don’t forget to show modesty and watch where you step, but this will serve you much better if you want them to think highly of you one day as well.
Also, this goes way beyond the boundaries of the Web. I remember listening to Kevin Rose talking about people being afraid of approaching Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, in person. Kevin talked about how Jack was just like us, making mistakes and trying to solve problems. He just managed to hit one out of the park and learned a lot on the way.
Show them you’re real
I email & tweet a ton of people on a weekly basis, but few of them really stick out in my mind.
But it’s really not hard to be one of those people that I truly think of as real. Here’s a little hierarchy I created to help explain how to do so.
Picture < Podcast < Video < Phone Conversation < Meet In Person
It’s simple. If I see a picture of you, then I can put a name to a face. If I hear your voice, that’s better. It goes all the way up to actually meeting you in person. Shaking your hand & seeing you’re physically someone lets me know that there really is a person behind that twitter handle.
Golden Rule: Think Like Them
What I explained above isn’t rocket science. Just put yourself in their shoes and you’ll see what will make them like you. They’re real and have some of the same thought processes just like yours.
Thoughts? Leave them in the comments below.
Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Twitter.