Don’t Just Talk About Engagement – DO IT!

It’s not often that I rant but I can’t hold this one any longer.

Over the past couple of weeks I have seen several blog posts about engaging. Advice and recommendations have included:

  • If someone mentions you in a tweet respond
  • If someone sends you a direct message respond
  • If someone sends you an email respond
  • If someone tags you in a Facebook or Instagram post respond

And the the list goes on.

Here’s the deal – if you talk about engagement then do it! I took some of these engagement evangelists at their word and sent them a quick message to see if they practiced what they were preaching. In some cases I was sincerely interested in what they had to say or had a real question that I was wanting answered. The large majority (90+ percent) of those I reached out too did not respond in any way.

If you have a blog, if you tweet, if you post on Facebook or LinkedIn, if you are Instagramming, G+ing or if you have a presence anywhere else online you need to be ready to engage.

And if you are talking about engagement that means you should absolutely be ready to respond. In my “testing” I was amazed at the number of people who I followed on Twitter who sent me Direct Messages asking me a question but who didn’t follow me back so that I could actually answer their question. Don’t ask me a question if you don’t want an answer or if its just meant to make me click on a link that just shoves more “stuff” at me.

So, before you talk about engagement just be sure you are ready to actually do it.

What do you think?


Communicating in Crisis

It was reported today that Zappos was hacked and that millions (24 million to be exact) of customers information was stolen. I’ve been a fan and customer of Zappos and CEO Tony Hsieh for several years and will continue to be. Their commitment to their culture and customers is outstanding as documented in multiple blogs, articles and books. So, I’ve been anxious to see how Zappos shipping Zappo’s handles such a significant breach of trust with their customers. Yesterday Tony sent an email to employees and also posted the information on the Zappos’s blog keeping everyone posted on what had and hadn’t happened. One thing I haven’t seen and am wondering about is the absence of communication on the homepage. It will be interesting to see how their communication in the coming days and weeks unfolds.

I heard a speaker make the following quote several years ago – he said, “In the absence of clear communication people will assume the worst.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a hacker, customer service problem, personnel issue or a family matter – if people don’t understand what is happening they will default to assuming the worst that can happen IS happening. The word has been overused the past few years but it does apply in any kind of situation where a crisis or potential crisis is unfolding and that is “transparency”.

As leaders we have to be wise in our communication on any issue. Obviously there are things that can and cannot be shared regarding certain issues but to the degree that we can be, we need to keep people informed and be transparent. This one act alone can maintain trust and protect our businesses, team member and customers.

Have you ever been part of a crisis within in your company? How did you and or your company respond?


en·ga·gé – choosing to involve oneself in or commit oneself to something

How many opportunities have we missed because we were too busy and didn’t “engage” someone? How many sales have been lost because we didn’t just answer the phone? How many new clients slipped through the cracks because we didn’t answer an email or didn’t answer it soon enough?

Over the past couple of years I’ve been doing some straw polling of friends and business partners when it comes to “engaging”. What I’ve discovered is that the vast majority of company’s are seemingly too busy to engage their current customers let alone new, potential, customers. I have heard over and over from people – my customers and others – that we got the business or they got the business just because someone picked up the phone and talked to me.

How are you engaging with your team? With your customers? With your potential customers?