This week, I delivered the morning keynote for the 2013 Agribank Annual Insurance Conference. Part of my message included mentioning the communication revolution in a way that was relevant to the audience. I asked a few questions and offered examples of the opportunities that have been created by the shift in how we connect, communicate, collaborate and make decisions.
Following my keynote (and prior to my breakout session) I checked the light Twitter stream and noticed that one attendee shared the following:
It was a straightforward comment that also provided an opening for me to engage, learn and get better. So I asked:
Kelly was kind of enough to comment and help me prepare for the breakout:
Of course, my team and I always conduct discovery prior to every event. We always define the specific customer challenges and core learning objectives. But, we don’t always get to understand what is top-of-mind for someone like Kelly, who had already seen me speak for an hour. Making that connection, customizing my content accordingly and confirming Kelly’s needs during the session was a golden opportunity.
Since I had a couple hours between my keynote and breakout session, I decided to adjust my deck. I included my Twitter exchange with Kelly to serve as an example of how listening to the conversation real-time can provide both an opportunity and advantage (particularly if the competition isn’t paying attention or participating at all).
Social listening is a real opportunity. Paying close attention to your audience pays dividends. The concept of social listening gets plenty of air time in “thought leader” circles.
But, here’s what I think is more important than listening: your response. How do you take action while listening and learning? How do you engage around the insight you gain? How do you use what you hear to get better?
Kelly’s comment changed the context of my next session. Context matters. Hopefully I was able to make the session a bit more meaningful by applying a real-time example of the new opportunity to make connections with customers.
In this particular instance, the conversation continued after the meeting ended. For example:
Another opportunity for me to connect, engage and get better. My action:
The conversation continues. So does the opportunity to add value for the customer, Dane Cook references aside.
Social selling represents an opportunity to add value, offer real differentiation, improve relationships and grow your business. All it takes is a desire to listen, learn, engage and get better.