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4 Steps to Being Better #IRL

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We’re interacting with dozens of people per day (more, depending on your social presence!) and the need for network is growing. You’ve heard it a million times: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and without an expanded network, you’re probably selling yourself short.  So, you’re grabbing your piece of the social media soapbox and stretching your reach with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and more.

Extending your reach is essential but I’d beg you to consider how meaningful your social strategy is. It’s not what you’re doing, it’s how you’re doing it.  We all can make a dozen new friends, increase our Klout score, and retweet our hearts out by lunch but what about the whole reason we’re doing this anyway? What’s our real purpose?

The social media soapbox is both genius and dangerous because you can contrive and project any image you want. Authenticity is optional.  We’re crafting brands, broadcasting our “life” and hopefully we’re meeting great people (and opportunities) by doing this. The dangerous part is the creation of a brand (which may or may not be anything like your true self) and the inflation of self-importance.  The image is too far stretched, too hyped, the highlight reel too demanding and often we can’t live up to the hype that we’ve created in person.

We’ve all experienced this: you follow each other on Twitter, you engage once or twice, and voila, you happen to meet in real life. But then something happens, they’re cold, brush you off, can’t hold a conversation, or just aren’t the same person they claim to be online.

So how do you ensure you’re not a letdown in real life?

1. Tweet from the Heart:  Share what you believe in because you believe in it and most importantly – engage with others. I once was told you shouldn’t share something on social media unless it engaged, educated, or entertained someone else.

2. Keep it Real, Not Ideal: No matter what, our social media presence looks like a highlight reel of our lives. Why? Because when we’re sharing from our hearts and we’re at fabulous events, meeting smart people, and eating good food our hearts are singing (and our statuses are getting updated!) Consider balancing your messaging with more of you and less of the fabulous things you do.

3. Talk the Talk: Be yourself online, as much as you feel good with and always consider that a real human being is reading your tweets.   Be prepared to talk about the stuff you tweet about in real life and better yet, if you’re tweeting thought leadership and ‘how to be a better person’ ideas, you probably should follow through and behave according to all the advice you’re giving the Twitterverse.

4. Retain Basic Skills: Spending too much time locked in on your device will restrict your people skills! Get out and talk to real people, minus the device. Learn to be charming, genuine, and engaging without a hashtag. Quick win: read How to Win Friends and Influence People.

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