|Performing: anyone can be a critic|
It must be a tough life as a stand up comedian. Not only do you have to get the timing right, and be funny and personable, you also have to know how to deal adroitly with hecklers and turn their interventions to your advantage rather than disadvantage. It’s not a good look to leave the stage in a huff when the hecklers have a go at you.The position is not dissimilar for businesses exposing themselves to the great audience of internet users.
Timing is important. No business wants to be seen as a follower, a late-to-the-party slow poke, an old-fashioned outfit that’s only just figured out that everyone checks the Yellow Pages online these days. But neither do you want to be merely a follower of every new fad to hit the ether. It’s about keeping an eye on what’s going on and slotting in your business where you can make the most of new developments.
And yes, the ‘personality’ of your business also needs attention. Your values should show through the face you present to the world. Responsiveness, integrity, ingenuity -- what do you value?
But now we come to the hecklers. As discussed in a previous post, using certain tools on the internet for business can leave you wide open to public comments from any Tom, Dick or Martha who has a view to express or a bad hangover. And they don’t have to have bought a ticket to your show - you may never meet them, never see them, but they can cause you headaches. Be careful how you respond (or not) to negative comments. Be seen to engage in constructive discussions - it’s a chance to put your view. Correct your mistakes, thank people who point out genuine errors, and don’t engage with the nut-cases. And if you need to correct a blog post or other article posted on the web, note clearly that you are editing, or post a follow-up instead.
The ‘Net has been called a public relations disaster. As American historian Daniel Boorstin apparently said,
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.”
But it’s not all bleak. With a little savvy thought, any publicity can be good publicity (up to a point, anyway!) Alvin Adams, an American businessman said:
“My view is different. Public relations are a key component of any operation in this day of instant communications and rightly inquisitive citizens.”
He made this comment in the 19th century. You were so right, Mr. Adams, more than you’ll ever know.