Category Archives: Advice

#31WriteNow Am I Being Punk’d? Social Cues and Train Stalkers

I’d like to share another cautionary tale with the ladies today. As I stated in an earlier post, we need to stop being so nice, and by we, I mean me and anyone who feels programed to be polite before being safe. Many women are taught in society to be agreeable and polite FIRST and that can be dangerous. To be honest, when I first began writing this story, I thought it was hilarious. Now, looking back, if situations like these are not kept in check, they could conceivably escalate.

Basically, I have a stalker on the train…He could be a scary stalker, but he’s just been obnoxious thus far and we’ve only had two encounters. But that’s two encounters too many.

I was on the train on the way to work with my headphones on and simultaneously checking emails, and a man asked if he could sit next to me. I wasn’t really paying attention to the train, so I told him to go ahead. As he sits down I happen to look up, and I realize that there are tons of other seats he could have chosen. The car was practically empty.
Whatever. I take it with a grain of salt and get back to checking emails. I settle in for the ride and that’s when the questions start. This guy will NOT stop talking to me. Despite the headphones and even though I am clearly on my phone. Also, it’s the morning commute. It’s not even double digits yet, dude!
I don’t have a phone. Do you like yours?
Yeah, it’s cool.
Yeah, I need a new phone, I dropped mine and so now I’ve got this flip phone.

*No response from me*

So I’m looking around the train and the other ladies on it are giving me the sad pity face.

pity face

Train guy introduces himself and sticks out his hand for me to shake, and I don’t take it. Message loud and clear, “I’m not interested” Right? Yeah, one would think he would get the message, but nope. I’m clearly giving him the shortest answers in the world, and am clearly not engaging with him, but he will not stop talking to me; about his job, his dentist, his weight loss.

Man, I didn’t buy a ticket for the train. Oh well.
It happens. Luckily, you can buy tickets on the train.
So what do you do?
Marketing.
Yeah, me too. I’m a TMM…Telemarketing Manager. I’m going to check in on my Bridgeport office to see how they’re doing.
*No response from me*
I like gum…my dentist said I shouldn’t chew it, though, cause it leads to cavities…but I like fresh breath, so now I use mints instead.
*blank stare*

Is This Real Life

Is this real life?

Then as my stop is coming up, he asks if he can give me his business card, to “talk about marketing, strictly for networking purposes”. I say sure, so he pulls out this business card.  Suddenly he says, “Well I’m actually out of business cards, but I have my my boss’ card, I’ll write my contact information on it.” AND PROCEEDS TO GIVE ME HIS TWITTER HANDLE AND FACEBOOK URL. ARE YOU KIDDING, DUDE?!?!
While he’s taking forever to write down his information on the card we arrive at my stop. Unfortunately, I’m sitting on the inside, so I’m kind of trapped.
Soooo this is my stop, so I need to get off.
Oh, sorry, sorry. Nice meeting you

I nod and fly off the train.

That was last week.

This morning, I’m on the platform and I see him walk by, but I’m listening to my headphones and looking at my phone again. I see him walk past, see me, and then walk back up the platform towards me.

He walks over to the post that I’m standing next to and gets on his phone. (I guess he finally got one.) He makes a huge production of dialing and speaking really loudly on the phone while waving his arms around, but I don’t look up. I shrink further and further behind the post hoping he doesn’t really see me, but I know he does. I see him start to come over to me like 3 or 4 times, but I made sure to look extra busy. All the while I’m pretending I’m deep into my phone, but I’m actually texting my girlfriends.

Omgeeeeeeeee that guy from the train is back again! The one who wouldn’t stop talking to me.

If he does it again, you should definitely move.

Nooooooooooo he’s walking over!!!!!!!!

Move!!!

The train finally arrives and and he’s still standing on the other side of the post from me. When the doors open, I take off down the platform in the other direction, so I can get into another car. But he follows me. I run to another car and , much to my relief, I don’t see him for the rest of the ride.

I’ve come to a conclusion after talking it over with my older sister:  He’s either really aggressive, or doesn’t understand social cues…but either way, no thank you.

The most interesting thing about this story is the reactions that I get. So far, 100% of the guys have said, “Why didn’t you get up? Why wouldn’t you just move?” While most of the girls all say, “Ugh, that’s so annoying but it would have been super rude to move, especially if you were on the inside.” Funny thing about this, while the guys all have had the same reaction, the female reaction has been quite mixed. Most of them did say they would have wanted to move, but probably wouldn’t have, but there were a few that said they would have told the guy off and moved immediately. My question is, what’s the difference between the girls that wouldn’t have moved and the girls that would have? And why was everything so cut and dry for the men? Why do some men keep after a woman after EVERYTHING about her demeanor and body language says, “LEAVE ME ALONE!”? Any insights from either side? Opinions are welcome, as this is a judgement free zone…for the most part 😉

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Top 10 Tips on Social Networking

business card

Networking has always been a business best practice, but in this day and age, one must stay abreast of how to best network. Using every avenue available to you is paramount and social media is no exception. Here are my tips for being a social media networking rock star.

  • Observe your prospects before reaching out – You should always research your target audience. Having prior knowledge of the person and his or her brand before reaching out is key. This knowledge will lend itself to your credibility.
  • Be strategic in who you reach out to – Make sure you know exactly what end result you’re striving for before reaching out to a prospective contact. Be certain they are in a line of work that can help you achieve your goal. The “spray and pray” method is not a good strategy and can ensure that you waste your time, as well as your prospect’s time and since time is money, you’ll want to be careful here. Nobody likes their resources wasted.
  • Don’t be presumptuous – Don’t assume that your contacts know who you are or what you’re trying to do. Don’t assume that they will be willing to help you, either.  Confidence is a positive, but pride (false or otherwise) is not. This is essentially a pitch, so sell yourself!
  • It’s about them, not about you – networking, in its infancy, is about what you can do for a potential contact, not what they can do for you. Make sure your knowledge base and skills will be a value-add for your potential contact. Once you’ve proven yourself worthy, the relationship can and will progress from there.
  • Be up front about what you want – As stated in #2, nobody likes to have their time wasted. Be upfront and honest about what you want, and what you’re trying to do. Refer back to #4 and make sure you have offered the prospect something they can use, but also make sure that they know what you’re striving for as well. That way there’s no confusion regarding your goals, and everyone is on the same page.
  • This also a great spot to mention business cards. If you don’t have any, get some made ASAP! Vistaprint is a great place to start. The cards don’t have to be flashy, but do remember your card is like a tiny resume and it represents your brand. Keep that in mind when choosing a design.  I like to recommend using a picture on your business card, as well. It keeps your face in your prospect’s mind and helps them to recognize you if you ever bump into them on the street or at an event.
  • Don’t be pushy; the best things come to those who wait – People tend to cultivate relationships naturally, and they do this on their own terms and in their own time. No good relationship is ever forced. Any good salesperson knows that, while follow up is great, there is a point where you can be too aggressive and scare a prospect away. The same is true with networking. You can’t force a relationship. Let things progress naturally, and what is supposed to happen will happen.
  • Follow up with contacts in a timely fashion – Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave people hanging. In this world of relationship management all you have is your word, and if you don’t make good on your promises, you WILL fail. If you say you’re going to touch base with someone, do it. If you say you’re going to do something for somebody, make sure you do it. And make sure to do it in a timely manner. Most contacts will only give you one chance to make an impression, so you better make it count.
  • Make sure to acknowledge those who help you along the way – I saw an example of this on Twitter just the other day. An industry leader tweeted “If you act like you didn’t get a contact from me, I’ll act like I don’t know you when you need another one.” Relationships are EVERYTHING no matter what industry you’re in. Don’t underestimate the power of a thank you note or email. Some consider it old school, but I think it’s just good manners. Show some appreciation for the time they spent with you. Be grateful. Always. Respect those who take the time to help you out, because they REALLY don’t have to.
  • Make sure to pay it forward – “Reach back; pull forward” is one of my favorite mottos. Hard work aside, with a few exceptions, no successful person got to his or her current position without an advocate in his or her corner. It’s a successful person’s responsibility to sow what he or she has reaped. It’s the law of reciprocity. You will always get back what you put out.

​As a final note, don’t rely solely on social media only when it comes to networking – Real world connections are most important – No matter how convenient social media is, real world connections are key. Meet for coffee or a cocktail. Try to have a business lunch or dinner. You need to be able to shake someone’s hand. People tend to remember contacts that they’ve had real world connections with. Having a social media connection can be great, but it’s important to make sure you touch base with your contacts or prospects in real life if and when you get the chance.  It can cultivate a more serious dialogue and solidify a more serious relationship. That, in turn, will turn a prospect into a serious business contact, and hopefully push you along to you final goal.

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