The gift of giving and power of presence – social, the new religion?
“For it is in giving that we receive.”
― Francis of Assisi
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
― Winston Churchill
After a very positive year professionally, having been promoted, but personally perplexing (a story for another time and probably best over a bottle or two of wine), my mum decided I needed a little divine intervention. So, she took me on a weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Sanctuary of Lourdes in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France – not my usual summer sun escape or city break!
The site has recorded 67 healing miracles, since February 1858 (all rigorously tested by The International Medical Committee of Lourdes (C.M.I.L.), made up of some 20 respected members of the medical faculty, each with their own particular area of expertise), when a 14-year-old peasant girl, named Bernadette Soubirous, claimed to have experienced a series of apparitions of a lady dressed in white with a blue belt around her waist, who eventually introduced herself as the Immaculate Conception, a name by which the Virgin Mary was known. So powerful was the presence and the subsequent story of the lady that, on average, more than eight million pilgrims travel to the site each year and her story continues to be told throughout the world. I had no idea what to expect but what I felt on arrival and throughout my stay was welcome; with every person I met being open and friendly and giving, of themselves and their time. It was a wonderful week.
I arrived back in the office to an almost impenetrable inbox (everybody seeming to want something) and a request to write this week’s company blog post… Having been well and truly out of the loop – I had, for the first time in three years, gone away without my blackberry and didn’t once log on to any social media sites – I had no idea what to write?!
So, I got onto LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest (my now usual sources of inspiration) and started to research and read the latest news and insights shared, and then I got to really thinking about the positive power of professional and social networks… As Lead Consultant for VMA Group’s Digital Comms Practice, I regularly preach (pun intended) to candidates and clients alike the importance of having a well-conceived and developed online presence – if you’re claiming to be a Digital Comms expert or enthusiast, I would expect you to ‘walk the talk’ and be an avid or at least conscientious user.
It is now more common than not for a hiring manager to, on receiving the CV of a prospective candidate, investigate their online profile(s) – as a recruiter, I certainly do! Best it be consistent and display you and your talents in the most positive light. Likewise, when researching companies to work for; you are noticeable now only by your absence if your company is not using a range of platforms to communicate their brand, both employer and consumer/client. With this in mind, I have worked hard to increase my own professional / personal presence – with positive and often surprising results. I expected an increase in connections and found that the various platforms were mutually supportive in this:
- If I was following someone on twitter it was much easier to gain an acceptance to my LinkedIn request.
- If I shared content, found on LinkedIn that I thought would interest my wider community, through twitter, I gained new followers.
- If I made a recommendation, said thank you or gave some advice, I got it back three-fold.
- If I gave feedback on a product and/or service, I got a response and then action!
This I anticipated, the speed at which I was able to grow my network and receive responses amazed me. And then I started to receive very specific business information and intelligence, direct to me and given freely, and useful in a very tangible and timely way – even when I wasn’t directly connected to an individual and hadn’t overtly asked. I realised the strength of my online presence is that it is obvious what I do and what I am interested in… By giving a clear outline, being consistent and telling my story across a variety of channels I got so much more back. I’d certainly recommend taking some time to contemplate and update your online presence, you never know what you might get back…
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