The First Few Seconds

May 20, 2012 by Odile Faludi
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As I sat waiting in a noisy and busy coffee shop in the heart of Edgecliff, I was wondering to myself, how on earth would I conduct this interview with Greg Weiss amongst all this hullabaloo…writes Odile Faludi.

Odile Faludi

Surrounded by screaming babies, mother’s meetings and groups of elderly men enthusiastically recapping ad nauseum their past lives I felt the challenge of this meeting mounting. Funny, this was not too dissimilar to daily social media life, there’s a lot of noise… how does one get heard?

Greg is a Personal Brand Enthusiast whose business, The First Few Seconds presents an interesting offering. It is based on helping professionals design their own “individual brand” through different avenues – on and offline.  We spent most of our time talking about online branding and predominantly the use of social media. Greg says, “The more pronounced you are as an individual, the better you can develop your own personal brand. Think of Apple, they sell computers but because of their WHY methodology which is “we challenge the status quo” , doing the opposite to everyone else; people buy ‘why they do it.’ Therefore, making products that are beautifully designed, simple to use and  user friendly they can take all their products to a new level. That’s why they sell so much more than any of their competitors. We talk about Apple because everyone just gets it… How do you get people to ‘get you?’ Why not apply that same approach to individuals. Corporations have made a fortune with this clever marketing tool. For example, a good tax agent, is selling you a lifestyle. If he presents himself as a tax agent, most people will read that and say, boring. If he presents himself as showing you how to keep more cash in your pocket by avoiding paying unnecessary tax, suddenly his personal brand has more appeal. It’s all in the way you market yourself!”

What would be my first impression of this extroverted entrepreneur? After all, according to Greg, it’s the first few seconds that counts. Lucky for me, when Greg arrived he captivated my full attention at hello. With his big warm hug and matching smile I knew my first impression was locked in.  Greg is quick to explain, “You have eight seconds to make a good impression after that… it is all downhill. This applies to face-to-face meetings and social media.” Eight lousy seconds and then the browser is onto the next best thing. The topic of our discussion was, “How will your digital footprint support you in terms of your personal brand?” Greg was so interesting our 60 minute interview ran to 90 minutes even amongst all the cafe racket. Obviously, he knows how to make a lasting, as well as, a good impression.

Greg Weiss

There are essentially four social media platforms we discussed, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Blogging. Greg is a big believer before you do anything you need to start with “Why?” Greg found the 18 minute TED Talk of Simon Sinek invaluable. Simon’s philosophy is simple: “The more people you inspire, the more people will inspire you!” But ask yourself, “Why” first then you can plan and decide which social media platform suits your needs and how to maximise its effect. Greg explains, “By defining the ‘Why’ you  establish a purpose and intent.” Then you can decide on the What… and How. Always be careful how open you want to be.

Greg’s advice on your social media choices:

Facebook as at December 2011 had a staggering 845 million monthly active users. Things to consider:

·           Develop a strong policy around it. Maintain on a strictly “personal” level with selected friends. By segmenting your social media and keeping this site for close friends and family you never run the risk of crossing over into your professional life.

·           Your photo on Facebook will either kill or support your profile. Single women should display from the waist up, a fresh and beautiful picture with a big smile. Yes, it maybe sexist but the fact of the matter is men are visual. Invest in a professionally crafted beautiful shot of yourself, a photo that will make the viewer feel your warmth and friendliness.

·           Write a few lines that supports, “Who you are.” Seven words should do it, display your interests.

·           Treat Facebook as a social/friends network and be very particular about the information that you post onto Facebook. Once it is on there, you leave a digital footprint forever! Also, delete anything you wouldn’t be prepared to tell your grandmother.

LinkedIn is a totally different set-up to Facebook but still has immense popularity with 150 million members in over 200 countries as of February 2012.  One of Greg’s favourite sayings is, “I Google you, you Google me.”  Things to consider:

·           LinkedIn is your “professional network”. It’s okay to say you are single on Facebook but keep this information off LinkedIn – it’s unprofessional.

·           Whatever your digital footprint is it will either support you or it won’t. This is your own “personal brand.”

·           You must have a head shot photo which is authentically “you.” Have a warm, engaging smile, something that says, “I am approachable.”

·           LinkedIn is also your online Resume. The traditional Resume is almost dead replaced now by LinkedIn. A succinct rundown of your work experience listing your most current position first. Don’t forget your achievements, people will buy from people who have done a lot.

·           Provide a clear summary of Why, How and What you do – in that order.

·           Have a hook, create an engaging short story about yourself.

·           Update all your skills.

·           Seek and give recommendations. These referrals are like trip advisor. You would always check trip advisor before booking a hotel room. It’s no different with your personal brand. The more people supporting your brand the better! The recommendations must not only be reciprocal but they must be genuine “happy customers.” The messenger is just as important as the message itself. If you have a CEO of a major corporation endorsing you that adds a lot of weight to your personal brand.

 

Twitter has over 300 million users. Twitter can be overwhelming for new users but it’s actually very simple. It allows you to broadcast messages otherwise known as an sms of 140 characters or less to anyone who’d like to receive them. But, it’s also a powerful tool for building your profile. It’s a good support tool to promoting your personal brand. You can also link your Twitter to LinkedIn and that works well. But beware, there is a fine balance, and with all these tools you can become too much in your followers’ face and quite annoying!

In relation to blogging you can have your own or jump on the bandwagon of others and add to the conversations of others. It’s a great way to keep a conversation going if you have something interesting to say that you want to share with your network. Having your own blog requires maintenance and does require a fair investment of time to do it well. Then always go back to “Why.” Why do you want a blog and what do you want to actually say? Always have a clear understanding of your intent prior to doing this. If you wish to create an image to support a hobby or a professional blog that could work really well.

As much as he promotes these platforms Greg is also very weary of them. “Sadly there is a lot of mis-use, often I will see people on a date and they seem to be paying more attention to their phones then each other. People are hiding behind social media and the ‘sms dump’ has become quite acceptable or simply not replying to messages is a clear way of showing indifference. Will employers one day be doing their firing using social media – let’s hope not.”

Finally, Greg says, “There is a real skill to using social media but nothing replaces face-to-face meetings.” If you would like some advice about which technology platform to use, how to shape your personal brand and maximise your exposure please contact Greg at gregw@thefirstfewseconds.com   or visit www.thefirstfewseconds.com   Greg’s business runs online courses in all these areas and has the expertise and communication skills to assist you and your business to get prime time on line and face-to-face. Greg will talk you through the three D’s – Decide, Declare and Display and other learning modules to ensure you understand how to manage your personal brand. Remember, it’s The First Few Seconds that really counts!

Comments

10 Responses to “The First Few Seconds”
  1. Odile Faludi says:

    As a writer the biggest compliment I can get is that people actually read what I have written. Add to that a spark of healthy discussions, I am more than happy. Thank you to everyone who not only took the time to read the article but to comment on it. Best regards, Odile Faludi, Freelance Writer

  2. Tammi says:

    Good reminder to consider the ‘why’.

  3. Naomi and Shirlee ( still broiges with me, love !!??)

    you are both very wrong. The piece is not too long, but , actually quite incomplete. I read it twice looking for certain important details and still don’t know how many suggars Odille and Greg had with their capuccino. Maybe in the next installment….

  4. chell says:

    I read this article from start to finish and I agree with you Andy; I learnt a lot about social media that I didn’t know. Personal branding seems to be an important consideration for everyone, especially if you are promoting yourself or your business on the social media platforms. If it’s good enough for the TV and movie stars to have people follow them on twitter why not everyone who is trying to create an impression?
    I especially liked Greg’s tips on using Facebook and not to forget that what you say on Facebook stays on Facebook and the distinction between personal and business information on Linkedin.
    Well done jwire and Odile and good luck Greg on your new business.

  5. Jacky says:

    Great article, very valid points made that everybody should be aware of for work and personal reasons.
    I enjoyed it

  6. Jodi says:

    Very interesting and enlightening. I don’t think this would be a paid promotion. Mr Weiss needs only 8 seconds of our time …… 🙂

    Personally I was very impressed, like the writer, in the first few seconds of reading.
    I wish Mr Weiss much success not only in his venture, but also in helping others to succeed in theirs!

  7. Andy says:

    Useful article. The distinction between FB and LinkedIn is something a few people just don’t get and so it was nice to get some pointers. Thanks for the tips.

  8. naomi says:

    Much as I enjoy this site ..this particular article seems a little too long and full of self promotion.Is it in fact a paid advertisement ?Just curious.
    Thanks

    • Shirlee says:

      Naomi

      I agree with you 100%. I had the exact same thoughts and gave up reading after the first couple of paragraphs.

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