Tips For Executives Building Relationships On-Line
With real-time almost instant communications with thousands of people, it is important to be careful about what executives say on-line. A simple mistake, a leak, or off topic remark can travel around the world in seconds.
Here are several things you can do to maintain strong relationships, while providing the response customers desire:
Brief key points of communications prior to presentation. Make sure you know what you can and can't say before you write or speak to an audience about anything. Avoid being trapped into sharing something that isn't ready for general release.
Focus statements on well thought out sound bites. Most people aren't listening for what you have to say as much as for what they want to hear. Cover the issues that concern them before tangential thoughts.
Use a style guide to match comments with brand focus. Especially important in written communications, what you say needs to match what your company portrays. This includes how products are presented or talked about.
Always have an assistant moderate (or provide you an out.) By directing questions back to an assistant or close moderator you give yourself a filter for questions that aren't appropriate for you to address at this time. Remember, what you say as an executive is often taken as rule.
You don't have to make decisions on the spot. While immediate decisions are important, they don't have to be on the spot. Give yourself time to go over the facts before you commit to anything.
Treat on-line communications as a presentation to a live audience. You don't always have the opportunity to take back what you say. Be prepared to answer questions, and be purposeful in your remarks.