Evaluate and Improve Your Online Presentation
Narrative is an important part of the way we connect to the world. Story telling is important. You start to build your brand's story before someone ever meets you. You start to tell that story many, many times, particularly in the professional world, before anyone ever gets to experience your company. I start by welcoming you here today because I appreciate the fact that you're physically here with me. That we have the opportunity to empathize and connect with one another. Most relationships, particularly professional relationships, begin before you ever have that opportunity to connect or to empathize. Where does it usually happen first? Yeah.
By email or by phone.
By phone, usually it happens over a distance. When I do that intern hiring at the Emily Post Institute and I get that resume, I kind of scan it. I look for what school you come from, about what year of school you're in, and you know what I do? I take the name off the top and I google search it. Many people meet you onli...
ne, meet you via email, before they ever have a chance to spend any time with you. Before you really have an opportunity to give a positive impression, to rest some control of that critical first impression that someone has of you. Google yourself. Know what you look like online. It's not an exercise in vanity. It's not an exercise in narcissism. It's a little bit like looking at yourself in the mirror before you walk out on stage and start presenting. Or looking at yourself in the mirror before we leave the house in the morning, before you go to work. So you have some idea of what it is you look like. You have some idea of what it is that other people are responding to when they see you. So here's the tip part. First comes the permission. It's okay, go ahead and Google search yourself. Okay, it could become an exercise in vanity or narcissism if you do it all the time. Like looking in a mirror, it can be something that's not healthy. But once in a while it's a good idea. It's a useful tool. So how do you make the best use of that tool? There's one little technical trick that's helpful. You gotta learn to shut off your search history. Google, or whatever search engine you prefer, will weight the results of your search based on your previous interests, your previous engagement online. And you want to remove that history. You want to see yourself the way a generic user would see you. You want to see yourself the way anybody who isn't an etiquette expert and who searches etiquette all the time sees you when they search for Daniel Post Senning. When I search myself from my own computer without shutting off my search history, I get a lot of the interviews that I give. I get a lot of the search results that are, search results that relate me to the concept or context of etiquette. When I shut off that search history and search myself, I see my wedding photos. When a client who doesn't search etiquette all the time searches my name, they see something very different than what I see when I search myself. It's important to know this. It's important to know what people see, what associations they bring to our first meeting if they've looked me up before I have a chance to introduce myself. So if this makes perfect sense to you, give it a try. You might do it already. If it sounds a little strange. You're not exactly sure what I'm talking about, find somebody who does know what I'm talking about and ask them how to do it. It's like the difference between looking at yourself in a fun house mirror and looking at yourself in a mirror that's just a regular flat mirror. So what are you going to do? I don't recommend reputation defenders services. I don't recommend that you spend a lot of money for people that help you try to modify or adjust your Google search results. As a professional, there's one very simple thing you can do to start to impact the way search results present you, and that's to put up a LinkedIn profile. A lot of people think of a LinkedIn profile as an online business card or an online resume. LinkedIn plays really well with Google. Some social networks don't play so well with Google. LinkedIn plays really well with Google, it's a great way to start to build a professional impression of you if someone searches your name. Most people aren't going to look past the first page of search results. It's about that initial impression that's created by that first page of search results. So if you can push a couple professional responses onto that first page. Some people might also do a an image search and a news search. It's worth knowing what those search results also put up about you. I know, it's ruthlessly unfair. And yet, it's not terribly unfair. This is the world that we live in. It's an information age where information is currency. And having some idea for how that world thinks of you is an important part of your brand's story. So something else that I like to think about when it comes to telling a brand's story is the way that you tell that story consistently. Is anyone here familiar with what the continuity editor does in the movie making process? The continuity editor, yeah, help me out.
They make sure there's not flaws, like you were wearing a blue sweater and then a red sweater across scenes in the same day.
Absolutely, they're responsible for the way the movie progresses from one scene to another. The way the story is told, the way the viewer moves through a story, both in time and in space. They don't want anything to take you out of the story. Once you have broken the trust of the viewer, it's really hard to get it back. There's this whole concept of the suspension of disbelief that's important when you bring someone into a theatrical experience or you're telling them a story in some way. Once you've lost that suspension of disbelief, it's hard to get it back. There are some classic examples of really bad continuity editing. Jaws three, the first Jaws, one of the best movies every made, incredible, well done, well produced. By the third movie, and I apologize to anyone out there who was a part of it, the franchise was in disarray. It's was, even if you didn't see it in 3D, it was a really bad movie. What made it a bad movie? The guy crawls out of the water and his shirt is dry. It was just badly made. Bad continuity editing. That photo shoot with Downton Abbey where there's a Coke can sitting on the mantle, bad continuity editing. Even in just a visual image. Great continuity editing, you can play with it. Pulp Fiction, great example of a movie that played with continuity editing, with your experience of the way time affected and impacted the story. They played intelligently with the way you moved through time in that story. You're your own continuity editor. Congruency equals trust. You want to maintain the trust, the belief in the story that you're telling. You want to know that story. You want to know it well so you can participate in it when someone meets you for the first time. If what they discover about you when they search you is radically different than what they experience when they meet you for the first time, right off the bat you're trying to cross a hurdle or a gap that's already been established. It makes it harder for you to meet expectations that are already starting to form in someone's mind. So continuity editing and the way you manage your story has to do with the way you tell the story to begin with, but also how you participate in it and your understanding of what set that story up before it even begins with you in person. One of the places that you're most likely to break faith with your audience, one of the places that you're likely to interrupt the story that you're telling before you even have a chance to meet that person in person for the first time, is on social media. No matter what social networking sites you participate in, whether you participate just peripherally a little bit, whether you just have a profile that's active that you haven't used in 10 years, or whether you are an active user across a broad spectrum of platforms. This is one of those places where beside just the Google search results, you start to tell an online story or a digital story about yourself. It's also the place where people get into trouble. The stories aren't as common as they used to be when these were new tools in our world, but they are still remarkably common. I work in Burlington, Vermont, but I live in a very small town outside of Burlington, Vermont. The same small town that I grew up in. I am amazed that how many people in the small community that I live in participate on social media. Even the people that know not to specifically talk about each other, I'm surprised, I shouldn't even say I'm surprised because I'm not so surprised, at how often I know who people are talking about. Even if they go to some pains to not say who it is they're talking about, I know who they're talking about. There's only three people that work in that town office. I know who you're talking about. None of us are quite as subtle as we think we are. The world is a small place. It's funny it's getting bigger and smaller all at the same time, but it's always been true. That the cycles and the networks that connect us are often times remarkably small. Everyone's familiar with the whole idea of seven degrees of separation. It works no matter what scale you're operating on. The city of New York can be a small town, just like the town of Duxbury, Vermont can be a small town. So how do you hold yourself accountable? What are some broad ideas, some broad concepts about the way you can participate on social media, whatever platform it is. And the platform of choice is going to change. By the time you watch this video or think about this next, you might find that your participation habits have changed, or the choice that you make to use Twitter or Instagram instead of Facebook has changed some of the particular expectations you have of yourself. The big idea picture is that participation is not obligatory, so you are responsible for the choices you make. No one's telling you you have to, which means that when you cross that threshold, when you participate, the price of admission is that you take responsibility for what you do. So I've mentioned Vermont a couple of times, I'll mention it again, we have a learner's permit system in Vermont. When you're 15 years old, before they give you a license to drive a car, they give you a learner's permit. You have to drive with someone who's of a certain age. You have to drive during daylight hours. You have to drive under their supervision. You have to learn how to drive a car before you can go drive it by yourself. This is the information super highway. There is no learner's permit system before you jump on board and start making choices that can have really significant impacts and repercussions in your life. Your personal life, maybe you're prepared to accept those repercussions and consequences. Be really careful about your professional life. The personal you and the business you. Sometimes these are very different stories that you're telling. Who you are professionally and who you are personally, how you sequester those two stories, how you manage the different silos that you're telling those two stories in, one of the places that you're most likely to cross the streams between those two stories, is in social media. Maybe you are a whiz, you are a genius, you use Facebook privacy settings in such a way that you send the messages that you care about directly to certain people. And messages you care about in other way to other people, that you participate broadly in certain ways and more particularly in private ways. Be careful about how you manage your posts and your pages, but also be careful about how you participate on other people's pages and with what other people post. It's easier to remember to hold yourself accountable when you're setting up a profile than it is when you're commenting on someone else's pictures or what they are sharing. In an information age, there's an emerging courtesy about how we share, the frequency and volume with which we share, and also how we manage our personal privacy online. You might be really comfortable talking about certain things. I might not be so comfortable hearing about them. Sometimes other people's perspective that matters as much as our own. This can be hard to remember. It can be hard to hold yourself accountable when you're operating through these mediums and platforms that don't allow you to see how other people are responding to what you do. Ultimately you are responsible. How you choose to participate is really up to you. I won't belabor the point. In the course about communication we'll talk more about particular tips and strategies for using different kinds of social media effectively.