(Read the whole ‘Becoming a Connector’ series)
By a show of hands, who here is fed up with bullshit business? I’m not going to lie, it’s been a week of bullshit.
You’ll know this if you’ve watched my Facebook Live videos this week. I’m done with freeloading, brain sucking, time wasters. I’m done with the constant barrage of egotistical content and people’s lame ass perceptions of how things “should” be done.
Now, to be fair, I am a cynical bitch. I’ve be in this world for 10 years. In the past I’ve accepted it, in the past I’ve even conformed to it. But over the past 12 months or so I’m just really fucking fed up of it.
My biggest fear is that you’re just starting out or you’re stuck right in the pit of it. You’re thinking, “this is how I should behave, this is how I should perform in order to be successful”.
I do forget this world exists most days, as I’m knee deep in my community of real business people. Ridiculously good looking, clever, and the coolest people on the planet.
My community is CMA. It’s a learning organisation built on the fundamentals of content marketing (actual content marketing, not the cheap and nasty stuff you think is content marketing), zero proximal development, and communication. I am, however, part of other memberships like WeDO Scotland, for example.
I’ve been a member of WeDO, a networking organisation based in Edinburgh, since I won their High Growth award in 2015. I’ve spoken at their events and I’ve supported them in their search for new members. I do not however attend their networking events. The reason I don’t attend is because I believe traditional networking is a big steaming pile of shite. 💩
You know me, this isn’t a new thing. I’ve been talking about it for months. I’ve written essays, blogs and produced videos explaining exactly why I do not do networking. It’s not a difficult concept.
Unfortunately for WeDO, this meant extradition.
Whatever, I’m not really that fussed to be completely honest. The only thing I liked about WeDO was Rod, and it turns out he lives around the corner anyway.
The way in which their founder, Belinda – or B for short, decided to inform me of my extradition was by sending me this cracking email.
“I hope you’re well? Your WeDO membership expired on the 2nd of March however given your plethora of social media shares of your blog about how networking is a waste of time then would I be correct in assuming that you don’t wish to continue with your membership??
I have had to turn off automatic sharing of your tweets since your networking posts are inappropriate for us to share since we are a networking organisation obviously, albeit different to most others out there. I would have to say that I find it a slightly bizarre message to be putting out since I think that the CMA, whilst being a learning organisation, also has an element of networking to it. Maybe I’m missing some inherent point that you’re trying to make however – maybe you can enlighten me!
Please come back to me when you have a minute & let me know your thoughts.”
For fuck sake. **shakes head**
Top 5 ways to fuck-up customer communication
- Assume you know what your customer is thinking
- Email them in a confrontational manner with a massive dollop of blame shame
- Use words like Plethora, Inherent and Enlighten to really push home the sense of entitlement you hold over them
- Completely disregard any possibility that you could have approached them differently by sending a second email with the exact same sentiment
- Remind your customer their self worth is far beneath yours and there is definitely no mutual respect to be had
It’s not B’s fault. Her network allows her to behave like this.
It’s like when you get that pervy guy at work. No one really wants to stand too close to him because you know there’s a severe chance he’ll try and cup your butt. Most people just prefer to stay away and not get too involved.
Belinda’s that pervy guy. Although, in this case, she just gets to be rude, insulting and disrespectful.
What can we learn?
You don’t have to be like this, and we do not have to accept this. So, what can we lean?
Let’s look at it from a membership perspective, although applicable to any business.
Here’s what B could learn:
- People are members of multiple membership organisations (audiences), and yours might not be their favourite. It’s not about you.
- It’s very rarely about the cost of your membership. How people spend their time is far more important. It’s not about you.
- People get different things from your membership at different times. From basic affiliation to brand advocacy, and everything in between. It’s not about you.
- There will be times when your members are highly engaged, and other times when they aren’t. It’s called life, and sometimes we have more important things to deal with. It’s not about you.
- Sometimes members leave, and then come back again in the future. It’s not about you.
- In most cases, your members are smarter than you about their thing, and you should use their expertise to add value to your membership. It’s not about you.
- Your role as the leader of a membership organisation is to make your members feel like they are important. It’s not about you.
- A large part of your role is to connect, curate and elevate others – even if you don’t agree with them. It’s not about you.
- It’s your job to evaluate, spot talent, and support, and not to judge others. It’s not about you.
In summary, it’s never about YOU.
I have been a huge advocate of WeDO Scotland and Belinda for a few years now, and this feels like a shitty way to end things. I’m disappointed, but I felt like I had to call it out. No one else is going to do it.
There are a lot of lessons here, but here’s the big picture: no one in business should be behaving like this and be allowed to get away with it, and no one should have to put up with it.
Simple as that.
Read the whole ‘Becoming a Connector’ series
- Have you ever had an experience like this?
- How have you dealt with situations like this in the past?
- What have you learned from this experience?
Let me know what’s on your mind in the comments section below.