I completed a longtime goal recently. I gave a TEDx Talk. Some people slide into TED; I clawed my way through the brush, uphill. My two and a half year journey included nine applications, six ideas I deemed worth spreading and making it to the final round two different times before finally being accepted at TEDx Wilmington Women.
I was so excited (and still am!) so I made a list of people who had seen me through the application and rejection process to share my good news. Some were personal friends, some were groups where I had spoken before and some were groups where I was a paid member. Oh, who am I kidding – I sent it to everyone I knew!
As I hoped, everyone was excited to hear my good news and happy for me. Many people watched my talk and shared it with others. When you make it to the TEDx stage, this is the ultimate compliment because you really do feel like you have an idea worth spreading. (Which is the whole point!)
There were many comments ranging from simple Congratulations to effusive thoughts and emotion. I read each one and commented back. I also shared my talk on the Facebook page of a speakers group where I’m a member.
Over the last three years, I have given the director of the group almost $5,000. I am very well known to him, having had private speaker coaching, attended two events and also pay monthly tuition to access the information website.
Because I have been to two events, I have made a lot of friends within the group. Many of them watched my talk and left messages not only on Facebook but on You Tube. The director, who is actually a very nice man, clicked Like within minutes of my post.
I happened to be on line when his like came through and I waited a few minutes to respond to his Congratulations which I thought would be posted; or, Can’t wait to watch this or something. Except nothing came. Because his like came within minutes of my post, I knew he did not watch it. It’s eleven minutes long so there would not have been enough time.
Over the next few days, I became more and more annoyed but it led me to ask myself two questions:
Why do we post our accomplishments on social media?
I would love to say I posted my talk or any other accomplishment for the sake of business development. And that is true, but I also post accomplishments to be recognized. It took over two years of hard work for me to be able to take my place on the red circle.
I’m now a member of a very small club and I am proud of that. My ego wanted everyone to know. And if I got some speaking gigs or media appearances because of it, that would be great. But if I’m being honest, my ego wanted everyone to know.
What is the responsibility of a leader of a group?
I don’t have a paid membership business model; I have a fee for service model but here’s what I know about customer service. If someone gives you money, you make a fuss over them. It doesn’t have to be a big fuss, but you make them feel validated, seen and important to you.
I want to be clear, the director of the group thought he was doing a good thing by clicking Like. He didn’t click Like and go on to the next thing with malice or indifference. But the reason doesn’t matter. The result matters. If you accidently cause a motor vehicle accident and someone dies but you didn’t mean to cause the accident, that doesn’t change the result.
As you’re reading this, you might have a different opinion. Maybe you think I am needy or have unrealistic expectations. But this is a speaking group and this was a speaking gig that is sought after by many. I also made the post about him and the group – thanking him for his guidance helping me reach this point. This was a lost teachable moment.
I have decided to leave the group after my yearly membership expires. It was a thought I had been mulling around for a few months, but when this incident occurred my decision became clear. I am not leaving with regret or bad feelings. The truth is I have gotten everything I needed from being a member of this community and it is time to expand my thinking.
So there were two unintended consequences – a leader lost a paying customer and a customer expanded her thinking. And hopefully there will be a third – that you will remember my words the next time you click Like.