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favorable attention


Connecting with the Rude & Anti-Social

I’d like to follow up on my 9/13 blog entitled: “Tips On Connecting with People Outside of Your Comfort Zone” and share some tips on connecting with a style of individuals that I refer to as “the toughies” – people who are rude and anti-social.

My career places in me front of clients and strangers all day long.  Once in a while, there’s a client or stranger who’s a real tough nut to crack (“toughies“) in terms of connecting.  Recently, a gentleman came into my store with his wife and a grim look on his face.  He had an issue and needed it fixed right away.  He was not interested in having any sort of conversation beyond getting his need satisfied.  Still, my goal was to break this thick wall of ice between us.  In order to do so, I had to look beyond his rude and unsocial personality to find the potential to make a positive and impressionable connection.

Long story short, we ended up having a series of laughs and a warm handshake and a smile when it was all said and done and get this – before leaving my office he requested one of my business cards himself.  It was such a positive experience that I wanted to share a couple of tips with you all as to what I did to help make this happen.

The trick is to focus 100% on the person.  This means don’t ask a question unless it 100% directly relates to the person standing in front of you.  Remember, people love hearing their name and they love talking about themselves, their accomplishments and their interests.  This gives you the opportunity to leverage favorable attention (see previous blogs) by utilizing their answers to pay them a compliment.   Here are some examples of questions that are solely directed at learning about a specific person:  “You look familiar.”   “I don’t think we’ve met before, have we?”   “If you don’t mind me asking, are you originally from (City Name)?”  Although it would be acceptable to ask:  “Do you live close to here?”  Depending on their age: “What do you do for a living?”  “Are you retired?”  “Where did you retire from?”  “Are you a student?”  “Where did you graduate from?”  “What do you do for a living?”

NOTE 1:  Make Eye Contact when asking them a question.

NOTE 2:  In the event that this rude person’s spouse is there with them, your questions should focus on both of them.

NOTE 3:  DON’T ask indirectly related questions:  “Do you have children?”  This is actually a mistake because although a parent’s offspring is important to them, it’s indirectly related to them as an individual.  Another example is the common ‘get to know you question’ of:  “So tell me about yourself?”  That is just too broad and will upset these people who aren’t in the mood to chat.  Make sense?

Like with any conversation, ask one question and then wait for a response.  Even if your rude or anti-social individual responds with “I don’t have time for chit-chat” don’t let that discourage your endeavor to make a connection.  Proceed by acknowledging their desire to stay focused on their issue or need or whatever the situation and then, as you continue to work on solving their problem, ALSO continue to find ways to connect (polite persistent) but be careful not to barrage them with more than a few attempts.  Please make sure you preface each attempt to connect by re-acknowledging their objection to connect with something like: “I know you’re in a hurry and I’m doing everything I can to help make that happen, however, I’m curious about something if you don’t mind my asking …”

In the long run, it’s critical that this rude or anti-social person(s) walks away with the general impression that you are trying to get to know them.  They need to feel that you really care about getting to know them.  Eventually, they may feel like a jerk for being so rude to you and that feeling could work in your favor the next time you encounter them.  Overall, you never want these individuals to walk away feeling like they’ve controlled the conversation because they’ll own that expectation of control the next time you encounter them.

I hope some of these tips help so when you do encounter a rude person you’re back pocket’s equipped with a few tools to help break the ice and make a positive and impressionable connection.


What the Heck is Favorable Attention?

“What the heck is favorable attention?” a friend asked me today.  My respond was simply:  “It’s a conversational game-changer.”

Of course, this begged more question, so I commenced with a more in depth explanation along with some examples.  Favorable Attention is all about appealing to your listener’s pride.  So what does appeal to pride mean?  Look for something that is of importance to your listener and compliment them on it.  For example, did a positive change recently occur in the life of the person you’re talking with?  This could be a new job, promotion, engagement, new home, recent vacation, accomplishment of a goal, new car, etc.  Or is there a known quality about that person that you admire?  If any of these exist, acknowledge and compliment them on it.  One of the best examples of this is actually given in my book “The Diamond Thieves” of the Extra Innings trilogy when the character Pastor Cook is trying to get the attention of the adults who are in an uproar over T.J. playing in the 4th of July baseball game because T.J. is black and their sons are white.  (Remember this trilogy takes place during the late 1940’s to early 50’s in the Deep South and encompasses the theme of social injustice.  Cook compliments the feuding men by calling them “intelligent men” and goes a step further by acknowledging that “everyone here knows that about you.”

Imagine the opposite.  What would happen if you’re initiating your conversations with an insult?   Immediately, your listener would become defensive.  For example, if a manager or supervisor was trying to counsel an unproductive or insubordinate employee and starts off the conversation with:  “I don’t know what’s come over you?  You use to be our top producer and lately you’re sales are worse than some of our newbies.”  Versus if the boss starts the counseling like this:  “You have more integrity than most anyone I’ve ever worked with and historically, I can always rely on you for outstanding results.  Help me to understand what’s been getting in the way of your performance lately and let’s see if we can work together to get you back on track.”   You’ve appealed to the listener’s pride by complimenting them on their integrity and past reliability to perform.  There is nothing about this sentence that would trigger the listener to become defensive.  This allows them to continue the coaching session with an open mind and without the distraction of a defensive wall.

My father, Wes Gibson is who taught me about Favorable Attention.  He was a VP with Goodyear and is a master at this skill.  He learned it from his father, my grandfather, Charles Gibson who had a successful career with the Singer Sewing Company.  This skill, like most, is not developed overnight.  It takes continuous practice.  When mastered, it will take your conversation skills to a whole new level and allow you to leverage any conversation to ensure that your listener receives a clear message from you with fewer distractions.  It also allows the listener to walk away feeling good about the conversation.  Remember the Maya Angelou quote from my last blog “A Writer’s Worth of Mouth.”  Maya said: “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  So why not say something that makes them feel good about themselves.  This will also keep you in a positive light in their mind and allow for a better connection between you and them.  Appeal to their pride with a compliment and this will gain you the Favorable Attention you need to make a more positive lasting impression and get your message across without any major roadblocks.


3 Key Qualities to a Successful Blogger

First, let me begin by saying that I would not (yet) consider myself a successful blogger in terms of a following or any sort of fanfare.  However, I do have 15 years marketing experience along with a degree in marketing from Sonoma State University.  (NOTE: I also took a marketing and advertising semester-long course at the UMASS Amherst.  This foundation has gained me the ability to recognize effective qualities executed by a blogger.  Below, I’ve bulleted the top three qualities that I believe are critical to an effective blog.


Be honest with your readers.  Don’t spew on the screen keystrokes full of b.s. this will turn away readers.  If you are not an expert in the field in which you are writing, at least admit it.  This will actually gain you more respect than trying to be someone you’re not.

I talk a lot about gaining favorable attention by an appeal to pride.  Favorable attention only works if you truly mean it.  Although, it may gain you a short-term boost in reader traffic, these readers will eventually catch on.  If you’re not dishonest or the compliments you’re delivering are just an illusion to gain more followers, your long-term retention percentage will be extremely low.


This can be broken down into 2 elements:

  1. UNIQUENESS:  What sets you apart from other bloggers in your category?  Do you stand out or do you blend in with the rest of the crowd?  Keep in mind, the crowd I speak of is a rather sizable blogosphere of 152 million (as of July 2014) with more bloggers  adding to this population on a daily basis.  Is the topic of your blog creatively engaging?  One of the best ways to answer this question is by following other bloggers within your targeted market?  Are you repeating the same things they’re saying in their blogs?  Or is your blog teaching them something that they can get nowhere else?  Or if the purpose of your blog is to entertain, does your blog have a uniquely magnetic personality?  Kurt Mortensen is the author of the best selling book “Maximum Influence” where he explores his ’12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion.’  This is a great book for salespeople and I have learned a tremendous amount by reading Kurt’s work.
  2. WIFFM:    What’s in it for your reader?  To answer this question, you need to step outside of yourself and review your blog from your targeted customer’s point of view.  You should be able to identify at least one WIIFM within each of your blogs.  What are some take aways from your blog?  Is there at least one take away that’s either changed or enhanced there reader’s perspective in a way they’ve never looked at that idea before?  As your blog gains popularity you will know if you’re achieving this based on the comments your followers are leaving.

This is the area in which my blogging struggles the most.  Interestingly enough, attention to detail is a considerable strength in my Extra Innings trilogy.  Of course, writing in the genre of historical fiction, I better pay close attention to detail for if any of my readers were alive during the period in which this story takes place, they would surely call me out on any oversights.  Granted, the McGee twins are fictional characters so that does give me, as the writer, some wiggle room.  As for blogging, I struggle with attention to detail mostly because I am a new author trying to build a popular reputation and so I feel rushed to produce an eruption of blogs.  My advice is to slow down.  Take your time.  Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct before clicking publish.   Review your blog for rambling.  Are you repeatedly repeating yourself?  Repetitiveness and rambling seem to be common mistakes in many of the blogs I read.  In today’s fast-paced society, ain’t nobody got time for that.   Especially, my YA target market.  I’m lucky if I’m able to capture five minutes of their undivided attention.  I recommend saving your blog as a draft, sleeping on it or walking away for a little while.  Then, go back and review before publishing.  Ask yourself: Are you making your point clear and concise?  There’s nothing worse than having a captivating title to your blog but the body that proceeds it is irrelevant.  The details of your blog must be relevant to it’s title AND to your target market.

Hope this helps boost traffic to your blog!  Please let me know and stay tuned for more marketing tips!


How to Grow Your Customer Network

Let me just start off by saying that growing your customer network takes focus and hard work.  It is not easy.  You must remain loyal to the two bulleted networking best practices I’ve provided below.  I don’t say this to discourage you but rather to prepare you for the reality.  Your first run at this will not produce turnkey results.  If you want to begin driving free organic traffic to your blog’s website you need to education yourself with some long-time expert advice.  I’ve been researching blog networking experts like April Tucker and David Wood.  They’re both great resources for much better advice than a newbie like I can give.  They offer expert advice on how to drive tons of traffic to a blogger’s site fast.

In the meantime, there are a few tactics I can explain to help you get started.  Since I am an author, my blogs are focused on marketing to book readers.  We’ve talked about identifying your target market in previous blogs, so the advice I’m going to give is assuming you’ve already done that.  My novel, Extra Innings: The Diamond Thieves, is a young adult, historical fiction and also it’s important to note that it’s a trilogy.


Use Google to search for blogs within your book’s genre.  Find a blog that truly interests you.  Read it from beginning to end.  If you like it, then post a comment on that blogger’s page below the blog you liked.  However, be a critical thinker, if you didn’t like it, don’t try and make false friends with a fake comment.  It’s just not worth it unless your comment is sincere – believe me that blogger with know the difference.  I recommend posting on at least 1 relevant blog per day.  Your comments should be professionally written.  They should begin with a positive compliment.  Remember what I’ve told you before, it’s always smart to gain favorable attention first by appealing to an artist’s pride.  Just because you feel a kinship to the blogger doesn’t mean your response should include: What’s up!  Hey there, or dude – great advice!  Save these blogs in your favorites so you can continue to revisit them.  A productive relationship with a blogger takes multiple comments on multiple blogs and if they respond to your comment then you may invite them to visit your blog’s site.

NOTE:  Commenting on a bloggers site should be FREE.  If they are asking you to sign up or pay a fee, click out of that page and find a different blog to comment on.


Use hashtags to search for Tweets that are relevant to your book’s genre.  For example: #historicalfiction or #youngadult.  I also recommend searching for #newauthor.   Thousands of Tweets will generate from this these searches.  Focus only on recent Tweets.  If a Tweet was posted more than 2 days ago, don’t bother.  You may feel tempted to start firing off Likes or Retweets or Comments but I really advise only responding or liking Tweets that you sincerely found interesting or had a link to a site or blog that was educational or beneficial to you.  If you find a Twitter user who truly is in sync with your scope of writing then Follow them.  Send them a comment introducing yourself and use hashtags relevant to your book and/or writing mission.  You only get 140 characters in a Twitter post so it’s important to craft an impactful comment.   You want to be positive, professional and unique.  If the Twitter user responds then I always explain that I am a new author, I provide the title of my book and I invite them to visit my website.

The fruits of your labor will begin when start to develop online relationships with a host of authors, literary agents and publishers within your target market.  The overall objective of persevering in this targeted effort is to make a fruitful connection.  I anything, you will at least gain a tremendous amount of free advice.