In my personal selling class we have been talking about how to use small talk when networking with people as well as when approaching a prospect customer. Small talk means you can talk about random topics, but everyone knows to avoid politics and religion.
This is the same for nearly every aspect of conversation at work, online and when meeting someone for the first time.
Christina Khoury, author of the PRBreakfastClub, wrote about trying to find the fine line between being yourself and “word vomit” or as she defines it, “the act of putting one’s foot in thy mouth.” A few ways to avoid this, according to Christina, is by not discussing politics and religion for their tendency to lead to debate and why you hate your job, because the wrong person (boss or client) might see it.
Brandi’s best tip was to “treat your online relationships like your offline relationships.” She presented the scenario that if you walked into a party where you did not know anyone and yelled ‘I am here’ it would be considered rude and awkward. In a normal situation, you would talk to people and get to know their background a little and earn their trust before getting deep into a conversation. Brandi says the same thing applies online, listen and gradually add to the conversation instead of being the loud obnoxious new person.
Brandi also mentions three key topics to avoid in conversation: politics, religion and sex.
It is all about our online image. We are branding ourselves out there in the gigantic world of online networking and just as people are forming opinions about our company whether we like it or not, they are being formed about us as individuals as well. As a student looking for a job or even someone currently employed by a company, filtering your online presence is very important to building your credibility.
Hopeful parting words:
Brandi mentions in the podcast that human resource people don’t necessarily have all the time in the world to dig up your history in photos. That is not to say they will not look, therefore, becoming more conscious of how your online presence looks currently is definitely a step in the right direction.
Our guest speaker in class last night, John Scroggins from Noble and Associates, mentions that he understands being in college and utilizing privacy settings. He considers that a judgement call rather than hiding a deep dark secret.
That said, not everyone will be as generous as these two professionals and we should dfinitely still use discretion. If you wouldn”t want mom to see it, don’t post it.