As a Rotarian, I try live my life by the cornerstone of Rotary:

The 4 Way Test

Social Networking Rotary Style

Rotarians Connecting

Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

That is why I belive in Social Networking, Rotary Style.

As an active social networker the third principle speaks the loudest to me.  It is my goal to share my expertise, knowledge and information (mine or not) with the hundreds, if not thousands of people I touch on a daily basis.  I do this to build goodwill and strengthen the connections I’ve made along the way.  I often talk about adding value to the conversation., which is, pulling people into your circle of influence to benefit them – not you.  I also work very hard not to be seen as the  “snake-oil salesman” persona that seems to befall many other online marketers.  I am not that… nor do I ever want to be.

Participation in the conversation is not only about sharing information, but it is about listening as well.  Listening enables you to offer what your connections and friends want.  Listening also enables you to take action – for example, to protect your reputation.  As regular readers know, several months ago I was accused of plagiarism.  It is only through listening to the conversation that I was made aware of it and was able to take action in regard to it.  The entire situation was cleared up in a matter of hours and it all took place in front of some 3000 participants in the conversation.  While I certainly could have lashed out at the accuser, I kept in mind the Four Way Test and took what I consider to be the better route:

  1. I received notification of the accusation.
  2. I bit my tongue and waited so I would not behave in a reactionary way.
  3. I listened to see if the message was spread elsewhere.
  4. I contacted the accuser directly.
  5. He apologize to me personally and publicly to the community he made the accusation in.
  6. It all ended fabulously.

Listen, Wait, Respond

Kudos to him for taking ownership of his mistake, it is a pleasure to interact with him in the conversation.

I have mastered a level of confidence in my professional life as a result of always working with the above principles.  I am learning to master that level of confidence in my personal life as well.  These are important lessons to remember.  I strive to practice what I preach.  Whether it’s a competitor talking poorly about you, or an unsatisfied customer speaking loudly about their experience with you… try to remember the above principles.  If you are acting to Build Goodwill and Better Friendships, you know you have nothing to fear.  If you are not, you need to start asking yourself why you are here.