Monday, November 2, 2009

Want To Get Smarter? Talk With Your Readers

Special Note: I have to start this article by thanking Mark Essel, Shari Weiss, Myrna Weinreich, AJ_Kohn, Jesse Stay, Robert Scoble, and Louis Gray, who helped me see the light. THANK YOU!

Everyday is another opportunity to learn. In my most recent lesson, I have come to understand the value of engaging my readers. I'm sure you've heard it all before, but let me stress the importance and value of this small detail. In this article, I will introduce my epiphany to you and share the value that it brings.

It all started yesterday. I just finished writing an article on Twitter Lists and I was in the process of doing a final read-through. As I neared the end, I realized that I had more questions than I had answers. As a passing thought, I decided to seek some guidance from my readers.


In the real world, I know I'm smart, but I also know that there are brilliant minds out there. The more I learn, the more I learn I don't know much at all.

Within moments of posting, I received my first comment. The exchange opened my eyes to another point of view. Subsequent posts offered me the opportunity to examine my own position. As a result, I felt smarter. Interesting.

What happens if I pay the same respect on other people's blogs? In a similar fashion, I received quick responses from those authors who seemed to challenge my views with ease.

The idea is simple. Talk to people and get smarter. If it is so simple, why aren't more people doing it? If they are, why haven't they done it sooner?

Whatever the reasons, today is a new day. Each one of us that writes a blog, tweets on Twitter, or posts in Facebook, should take this opportunity to extend ourselves and find ways to engage with each other. It doesn't have to happen only online, because this is applicable to the real world.

What Is The Value Of Engagement?

Outside the obvious answer of being social, there are some real benefits to engagement. Let's look at a few.

Challenge Your Own Views
As I learned through a rich dialog with readers, I found that my own experiences, opinions, and stance was questioned. I was forced to examine my views and assess their relevance. The answer may not be one of right or wrong, but rather a full review of the gray areas. For me, the dialog makes me more aware and conscious of the bigger picture.

Strengthened Connections
Through rigorous debates and lively dialog, we grow closer. Some of my best childhood friends were once strong opponents on the playground. Challenges seem to bring out the best in people.

Increased Readership
Success breeds success. Ever wonder why those bloggers with a bunch of activity in their comment section continues to grow? I believe its where the activity lies. Nobody wants to attend a party with only one person. We want to be where the people are. So it is with your blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Engage often and they will come.

Fun
The final reward for engaging your readers is fun. Talking, joking, and learning with others is a blast. If you're not having fun, why continue to do it?

Conclusion
The life lesson for today is engagement. Seek to get out of your comfort zone and interact with your readers, associates, and friends. Challenge your own biases and seek to understand the opinions of others. As a result, you will learn something new, increase and strengthen your friendships, and have fun.

I hope this helps you enjoy life just a little bit more than you do. What other words of wisdom would you add here? Any real life examples you'd like to share? If so, let's talk in the comment section below.

Until next time...

Image via Clairphotography

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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