Milverine – How Social Media Builds CONNECTion Between People and Ideas

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Without a doubt, the Internet has allowed people with common interests who were previously isolated by geography to CONNECT. The playing field has been leveled.  Obscure performers like Tay Zonday or the Numa Numa guy become household names.  An unknown singer named Justin Bieber found a connection with mainstream media success by first leveraging YouTube. Fundraisers now regularly build connection of  political outliers to splinter issues, thus creating visibility for presidential candidates. Countries have been overthrown by their frustrated citizens who found real-time connections on Twitter.  And, of course, there are myriad random “Fan Pages” created for topics formerly collected only in syndicated articles like “News of the Weird” or the Onion.

I’m guity, too.  Back in 2009, upon reports of  a call for President Obama’s consideration to add a new Secretary of the Arts post to his cabinet, I immediately fired up a Facebook fan page (partly as a joke, party serious) to nominate a good friend of mine (and incredible arts advocate) Ken Busby from Tulsa, OK for the post. With little to no effort, I immediately found connection to interested supporters who, if I’d been more serious, likely could have provided much needed leverage for wider support of the “campaign”.

Then, there are blogs which observe daily life, unexpected moments caught on video, and urban myths / legends like Milverine.

Sure, there are great ways to leverage social media to legitimately build an authentic CONNECTion with your customers and clients by sharing your views and offering tips to help THEM succeed (see what my friend Darren LaCroix is doing with YouTube!).  But, let’s not stop the amusing aspects these creative platforms encourage.  If there is something of interest to you, no matter how odd or less-than-mainstream it may seem to your immediate group of friends, post it up on YouTube.  You just might find a community of like-minded people. Become known for facilitating CONNECTion between people and ideas!

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How to Build and Profit from Your Connections

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It's not who you know, it's who knows you.
How to be a Connector

Simply stated, I get a kick out of helping people connect their potential with deliberate action that allows them to enjoy success at a level they previously thought impossible. The good news is that it is relatively easy…if you develop the habit of making connections about other people, instead of you.

Without a doubt, social media has changed the way people connect. Or has it? Certainly, technologies like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have shifted the definitions of a “friend”, “follower”, or “connection” to meanings significantly different than we once thought of them. And while this technology’s popularity makes it easier than ever to “stay in touch” even with the fringes of our networks, it is no substitute for a true, off-line connection.

Networking is a word which often brings back memories of hundreds of shallow, self-promoting people swarming around at some random event sponsored by your local chamber of commerce.  You probably have someone specific in your mind right now who claims to be a great networker….a claim backed up by the huge stack of recently collected business cards on their desk. Only, if you look a little deeper, it doesn’t take long to realize those “connections” aren’t really connections at all. In fact, that self-proclaimed networker is nothing but a business card collector – evidenced by the number of cards with their name on them, which they have given you over the years -each with a different company logo on it. (Get my drift?)

In recent weeks, I have given closer inspection to just which of the habits I have observed of people I admire as great connectors (as described in Malcom Gladwell’s instant classic, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference). The rules listed below will provide a roadmap for you in becoming a sought after person in the network of others.  Each demonstrates just how simply you can integrate subtle changes into your own routine to achieve the status of Connector:

  1. It can never be about you. – I once went to an interview for a job I knew I did not really want, just to get an offer I could turn down.  Shortly after passing the “screener’s interview” at the door, I was asked to stay and visit with the insurance agency’s owner.  Sure enough, he offered me the job.  I immediately turned him down – then sat in his office for nearly an hour listening to him telling me how wonderful and successful he was.  Presuming for a minute he was half as successful as his puffed up autobiographical interview suggested, I knew my instincts were correct.  Working for him would never be about the development of my own career. It would only be about him.  Successful, perhaps.  Did I ever follow up?  Let’s just say the materials he gave me on the way out the door never made it out of his office building.
  2. Connections should be authentic. I enjoy a great spy/action novel. In between the great number of business and success oriented books I read each year, I find it relaxing to just get lost in a great story once in a while.  When I learned a friend of mine had written a novel set in my former hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, I downloaded the free sample from his website and sent him a note.  Prior to the release of his book, he kindly forwarded me the final version of the first two chapters.  On the day it was available for purchase from Amazon, I immediately downloaded the book to my Kindle….and posted everywhere I could online how great it was a friend of mine had just released his first in a series of novels.  And let me tell you, the book is a thriller! [Here is a link to the book: The Perfect Candidate. If you download it, please come back to this blog post and let me know what you thought of it!] A few days later, I asked him to preview a new video project of mine ahead of it’s release, and he gladly responded.  Offering his feedback, he then (without my asking) mentioned he would forward the link to a few of his own contacts whose organizations often hired speakers.  That’s a referral I didn’t even have to ask for!
  3. Focus on giving. – A close personal friend of mine once said, “Don’t just be a face on a roster.” What great advice.  I have learned time and again that connecting people with their best interests at heart will gain you more than trying to shoehorn yourself into being the right solution when you (or the products or services you offer) are simply not a good fit. People remember and the return is much greater in the long-run when you keep this principle in mind.
  4. If at first you don’t connect, try again. – In a soon to be released audio program, I share more of the details about this idea.  Keep an eye out, because in this program you will hear real cases to teach you how to can turn a missed sales opportunity into your largest client.  Some of my best connections have developed from people I just didn’t “click” with at first.  If your approach didn’t connect with them, it is up to you to show the value of what you can bring to their network. (See Rule #1)
  5. Always maintain your integrity. It is flattering to be asked to help someone out.  I’m sure that your reputation (out of a cast of thousands) has brought forth many efforts to help an obscure Nigerian prince ex-patriate some funds from his country, if only you would email this thoughtful and promising stranger all of your financial details so they can deposit the promised millions into your account for “your trouble”, right?  Listen.  I once had a client walk out of my office, with a smile on his face, having lost nearly 95% of the value of his account, carrying only a new coffee mug.  My largest single commission as a financial adviser was a one-time investment with a gross commission of $17,000!  What do both of those stories have to do with integrity?  In both cases, the clients had acted foolishly and completely against my advice.  That’s right.  I advised them against their respective investments, yet by standing firm on my position (instead of slobbering over the commissions thus making a complete fool of myself), I earned their trust and respect.  And I won their business (and their commission income) while still finding myself able to sleep at night because I had simply told them the truth.

These five rules are the absolute keys to building solid connections with those to whom you do business.  Avoid them at your own peril! The most successful people I have ever studied all possessed the ability think past the short-term, and enjoyed success for the long-term.  Which path will you take?

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Are You Connected?

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This past year has proven remarkable for Cooksey Connects. Following a Headquarters relocation to Houston, TX, business has exploded (in a good way)! In fact, my first engagements OUTSIDE THE FIFTY STATES have just been booked! To find out where they are, CLICK HERE.

As I continue to lead training workshops around the country, a growing number of people have been inquiring as to how they can Connect with me.  To make it easy, here are a few links:

Watch for even more updates coming over the next few weeks, including a NEW SECTION on Recommended Reads to keep your Success Library growing!

Remember, you cannot FORCE someone to follow you…but you can give them a REASON to call you a LEADER!

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Man + Twitter Profile Pic + Peer Pressure = Social Media Success

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Earlier today, I ran into a friend of mine (we’ll call him JB..no, not that one…the other one) who works in corporate communication for a large regional bank. He’s a terrific fellow whom I have known for several years. Everyone I know who knows him has nothing to say but how great a person he is, how professional he is, and how passionate he is…..about his bicycle.

His bicycle?

You see, JB is a Twitter user. He doesn’t go overboard with it, but he regularly posts tweets for his friends and followers (currently about 300). Often times, he tweets about his bike. I mean, he is a Dad and all, but he LOVES his bike. I’m just jealous because I am ready to trade in my running shoes (at least a couple days a week) for the adventures that await me in the saddle….but we digress.

SO, realizing that JB’s followers were beginning to mention his place of employment and ask him information about the Bank itself, he started thinking about his “online image”. Careful not to post anything inflamatory (EVER) and always helpful, JB decided to change his profile pic to something more….professional.

Well, within MINUTES of his next tweet, his followers let him know what they thought about the new picture…THEY HATED IT! What’s wrong with a corporate, black and white head shot for someone who holds a professional position at a respected company as the profile pic on Twitter….well, apparently EVERYTHING!

JB’s picture (which was QUICKLY restored) is one from a function he attended several years ago. It features his trademark smile along with the corniest, Woody-from-Toy-Story-look-alike, cowboy hat perched atop his noggin.

The Redux:

If you want to connect with your followers on Twitter (After all, what is SOCIAL Media without the Social?) do the following:

  1. Be relevant and timely
  2. Be yourself
  3. Keep your profile pic a little corny
  4. Drop @jboudiette a tweet to let him know you love the hat!

Credit Where It’s Due:Bold

The role of JB was played by @jboudiette.
The role of peer pressure was played by @NatLoveBug, @jroby, @Nnascenczi, @beckyendicott, and @mattgalloway.

The obnoxious blogger who took this story to the web? @CookseyConnects


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How to Get The Most of Any Networking Opportunity

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You’ve heard me say time and again how much “success” is such a subjective term. Perception is a powerful aspect of how we as people and professionals (as if those are two different things) are viewed, it is amazing to me how many of us still miss the point from time to time.

Just this week, I was invited to visit a networking event with one of my clients, whom I have networked with for years. My travel schedule makes it tough for me to be a regular member of a group that meets weekly, but I figured it could be a fun way to meet some new people. When it came time for my 60-second commercial (as a guest I was granted 120-seconds), I glanced down at a few notes I’d scribbled on an index card and just started talking. They laughed. They smiled. We connected. Isn’t that the goal? At the end of the meeting, several people in the group requested the opportunity to meet one-on-one over coffee to learn more, and one fellow even handed me a referral AT THE MEETING!

Here are a few tips to get the most out of any networking opportunity. Try these the next time you walk into a room full of strangers. You never know where your next opportunity or client will come from:

  1. BE CONFIDENT – You are who you say you are, if your actions are confident. You are a subject matter expert for what you do…ACT LIKE ONE! [Need help in this department? Visit a local Toastmasters club!]
  2. TELL A QUICK STORY – Which do you think is more memorable: a) “Hello, my name is ______ and I work for _________.” or b) “**insert a quick 30-45 second story about how you solved someone else’s problem**:..
  3. LET THEM KNOW HOW TO GET MORE INFO ABOUT YOU – Two great ways to do this are: a) direct them to YOUR website (ask them to connect with you on a professional, social networking site like “LinkedIn” or if your organization has a “Fan Page” on Facebook, direct them there or b) Tell the audience to ask the person who invited you to the meeting to tell them how you successfully worked with them! What’s better than a live, word-of-mouth success story from a CLIENT!?

Above all…If you don’t have any business cards (hey, sometimes we forget them or run out)…make sure to get one from everyone in the room and make it a point to follow up with each one directly! Anyone remember the hand-written note? It works! Now…get out there a find some business!


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The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur… Learn how Cooksey CONNECTED!

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Friend and fans-

Just a quick note to let you know I was quoted this week on the Blog of “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur”. What is THAT all about, you ask? Well, check it out HERE! (Be sure to scroll down to #30 on the list!) – Scott

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Thanks for the Shout Out, Jerry Gitchel!

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One of my favorite professional groups is the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Speakers Association. Over the past few years, I’ve had the occasion to meet and learn from some of the most talented speaking professionals from all over the country.

I just wanted to take a minute to say, “Thanks for the shout out, Jerry Gitchel!”. Hey, I made his website and his blog. He even posted the pic, included complete with my noggin!

Be sure to check out Jerry’s Blog post (featuring a photo with my mug in it) here!

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Learning Modality, Social Media, & Your Online Brand

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While some people learn by watching, others learn by reading. Still, others prefer a demonstrative approach referred to as “kinesthetic“. Put another way, it means that the person learns by DOING. When it comes to Social Media, I’m the latter.

Several months ago, I set up my first account at Twitter.com. Immediately following, I found myself trying to sum up thoughts and ideas into often cryptic phrases comprised of 140 characters or less. Soon after, I began to “tweet”, converse with “tweeps”, and actually learned it was okay admit that sometimes I “twittered” in public.

With it, though, came a lesson. You see, I make a rookie mistake. (Part of the effectiveness of kinesthetic learning.) While one of the coolest aspects of Social Media communication is to syndicate and push out (through various “feeds”) information you post across multiple distribution channels, it’s something I’ve learned can confuse your followers. Even worse, I posted so much, people were starting to tune out my posts and tweets. Something you do NOT want to happen when building a brand!

For example:

  • Someone who follows you on Facebook likes to see Status Updates, but doesn’t necessarily want or need to know EVERY LITTLE THING you’re doing…all the time! (Many of your “tweeps” however, don’t seem to mind.)
  • People who are familiar with Twitter understand that @cookseyconnects or @dscooksey are fellow “Tweeps” (Friends who also use Twitter); #usair was a group code used by multiple people to follow what was unfolding in the Hudson River as Capt. Sully completed the first successful “water landing” of a commercial jetliner; “RT” ahead of something I “tweet” means “I plagerized/am forwarding someone else’s post” by “re-tweeting” it; and URLs like http://bit.ly/b9mR aren’t necessarily sending me to some nefarious corner of the internet.

And finally, I just uncovered a little piece of brilliance that allows me to more consistently brand ALL of my online profiles using my OWN DOMAIN NAME…it’s called a “sub-domain”. I’ve known about them for YEARS, but didn’t realize how easily I could set them up for my followers. Many of the current social media sites have long, un-intuitive URLs to “share your public profile” or otherwise make it tough for people to find your site (a la “Fan Pages” on Facebook). The most popular “subdomain” is actually “www.” It stands for “World Wide Web” which, believe it or not, is merely a PART of the Internet. For most people, it’s where your website lives…but, I digress.

Why simply build someone ELSE’s brand, when you can make it easy for others to find either you, your business, or various web tools you often access, all the while reinforcing YOUR domain as the connecting brand. Check us out online at the following URLs:

So this post was a little geeky, but hey…it’s what we do. Contact us today and learn how we can put these, and other great tools, to work for YOUR company. Cooksey Connects!

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You Can't Take It Back

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As many of you know, I have the privilege of speaking, literally, to thousands of high school students each year as a presenter for Monster.com’s Making It Count Programs. During these programs one of the nuggets we caution students about is the importance of managing your personal image ONLINE.

Always curious about where my own “internet fingerprint” may turn up, I have a Google Alert set up to comb the web for sites where my name shows up. Over the past year, I’ve learned there are a handful of us around the globe who share the name “Scott Cooksey” (including one “Scott Cooksey” whose brother has the same name as MY younger brother-VERY unexpected.) There is a (retired?) soccer, goal-keeper in the U.K., a Dallas, TX area tattoo artist, and a fellow at Texas Tech University who seems to have a good reputation. I digress…

My latest Alert, which I received in an email this morning, linked to an entry I’d sent to the Tulsa World’s Opinion page back in 1997. I’d forgotten ALL ABOUT the post:

Trim elsewhere
Woodward Park is a gem, and deserves the love and care it has earned over the years as a wonderful, beautiful place in our city. Reckless acts of an arborist with an itchy chain-saw finger are simply that: reckless.

As an alternative to this condition, might I suggest the arborist look to more obvious eyesores such as the weed/trees standing tall along the train track in the middle of the Broken Arrow Expressway. While he’s at it, head on toward downtown to the south side of the Inner Dispersal Loop and consider doing some trimming of those “trees” growing up the retaining wall on the sides of the highway. They look awful.

As for spending city money for beautification, let’s fund those mowers to keep our roadsides looking good all the time; not just mowing them a week prior to a major golf event. It’s nice that the visitors get to see how nice our city looks once or twice a year, but if we could keep it looking good for the residents, that’s even better.

Scott Cooksey, Tulsa

Re-reading the article reminded me that no matter HOW or WHERE you post your thoughts, rants, opinions, and more on the ‘net, once you’ve published it, there’s no taking it back.

The lesson today, reminds me of some critical advice I’ve learned which can best be summed up as a three step plan for voicing your opinion:

  1. Be relevant – Make sure the issue you are raising is clearly articulated and one which truly matters.
  2. Provide a solution – No one likes a person who simply complains. Make suggestions on how the issue might be resolved. Even if your recommendation is not taken, it may still push efforts to implement a successful remedy in a productive direction.
  3. Listen to others – When you are the one in position to influence change, remember how appreciative you were when someone at least took the time to hear your ideas out before taking action. It’s an easy way to become known as a concensus builder – a powerful leadership trait.

For those of you curious, about 7 months after the above Opinion column was printed, Tulsa fell under the spell of Mother Nature’s response to the tree issue with an ice storm of disastrous proportions which took months to clean up. The park still looks great, but even previously healthy trees suffered severe damage. I guess it goes to show, you can’t prepare for everything!


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