Gray Areas Between Approachable and Annoying

Posted by By at 13 January, at 05 : 31 AM Print

Gray Areas Between Approachable and Annoying

magnifying_glassI’m a huge fan of so many great audio and video podcasts that I’m often lost with way too much content and way too little time to hold my attention. Podcasting in both audio and video form, in my mind, is an art. I’ve learned a lot from practicing and watching how others work their magic.

But, how do you get noticed with your own art?

Unless you’ve been on a TV show or have a bundle of money to start your brand in overdrive, you’re going to end up like the other 90% of us: wishing we were popular. We can’t buy friends like some bloggers and podcasters, we don’t work for a huge media site and we’ve not been in the spotlight before. All we have to market ourself is a good personality, patience and a will to be the best. I’m not sure about you, but personality doesn’t make you a star overnight.

I’ve often laughed when I looked back at some of my old friends and said “you probably didn’t like me at first, but then you got to know me.” As a kid, I probably made some really bad first impressions but my personality was tolerable and grew on you. I’m sure not much has really changed, but I’ve learned a few concepts from watching others socialize in awkward environments.

First, being a friendly approachable person makes you a person worth meeting. Hold yourself with confidence (even if you have very little at the moment) and strike up casual conversations. Avoid being annoying and pushing your personality to the extreme. In moments of fear some folks start to chat a little too much or just go way overboard and you can tell, this isn’t how they act when in one-on-one situations. You can smell the fear and awkwardness and just want to get away from them. Don’t be “that guy.”

I’ve found the best remedy for situations where I’m nervous is to ask the people around me questions about what they do for a living, hobbies and anything else to get them talking. Once they start talking my nerves calm and I can derive new lines of questions to help get to know them. They’ll like feeling special with the inquires and perhaps open their own line of questioning to you.

If you’re trying to social network with people in a higher tier of fame than yourself, don’t fawn and giggle. The person you’re talking to is actually human. However, you can learn a lot from an Internet personality in how they handle themselves in public, how they pay attention and compliment their fan base even if they would rather be at home with their own kids. You can learn a lot from how they deal with situations.

Although you don’t have to act like a school girl meeting New Kids on The Block for the first time, you can indulge their personality a little. Famous Internet personalities, in general, like to have their ego stroked and to be told how awesome they are. It’s not really because they’re conceited (in all cases) but they’re used to little kids sitting in IRC chat rooms talking about how much they adore all the things the person does. Let’s face it, wouldn’t you like to be told repeatively how awesome you are? You’re saying “no” but you’re thinking “yes.”

Unfortunately, you’ll sometimes find it’s not what you do but who you know. For most, you want to know a few people with a large base of fans but also do good work yourself. Even a big Internet personality can tell awesome work from a half-assed attempt to be in the same league.

What I’ve noticed, from listening to some high profile podcasts, is that those that get the most mention are those that do things for the Internet personality in question. You pat their back, they’ll tell you how awesome they are by pimping your website, tool or gimic you made for them. That could be your spring board to success, or at least give you 15-minutes of fame. But, nothing is more annoying than spamming your blogs URL over and over in a chat window, comment field or voice-call-in on a show.

If you are friendly and approachable you’ll realize others will be drawn to listening to you and answering your questions. If you are simply annoying they’ll be nice to you but forget you existed after you leave their sight. It’s probably best to leave a good impression than leave nothing at all.

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