Spam is usually something that clutters our inboxes with ads for fake Rolex watches. But the principles of spam apply to ALL communication: every meeting, every phone call, every comment you make in a meeting.
Think about how you feel when you receive a spam email… irritated, annoyed, resentful. The next time that person sends you an email, you’re far less likely to open the email, even if the sender now has a relevant message.
In fact, not only will you not open the email, but you might take active steps to avoid the sender. For example, you might mark the sender to automatically go into a spam filter, or you might click a button to opt-out of further communication. Once spammed, twice shy. People resent spam. They resent it in their inboxes and they resent it in their conversations and meetings.
What about you? You might not think of your communication as spamming. But if no one gets value out of your communication, it’s spam.
Spam is not about what you as the communicator think, but it’s about the perception of the person listening to you. If you’re emailing irrelevant information, or the same internet jokes as everyone else, or redundant reminders for the company softball match, your email can be considered spam. At least, it’s spam to them.
The next time you’re about to write an email to your manager or stop by a busy colleague’s office, pause to think about what you’re actually going to say.
PRINCIPLES OF FASCINATION:
Tweet: It’s better to avoid putting yourself in front of someone than to waste their time with weak communication.
Tweet: Every time you communicate, you are either adding value, or taking up space.
Tweet: If you are only taking up space, you’re at risk of being seen as human spam.
Before you reach out to communicate, think to yourself… what exactly is your goal in this interaction? Will your listener perceive that the interaction was productive and useful on both sides? Will they leave feeling more informed, or inspired, or equipped to succeed, or even a little entertained? This is when you are adding value.
Or, will your listener feel intruded upon, without anything to show for their investment of attention? This is when you’re just taking up space.
You are most likely to add value when you communicate using your top two personality advantages. (What are your two advantages? Find out now with the Fascination Advantage assessment.)
We’ve all met people in our organizations who take up space, without adding value. There’s the long-winded cubicle neighbor… the sales trainer who spends an hour repeating the same obvious points… the vendor who makes a blatant sales call under the thinly-veiled guise of “just reaching out to connect.” They take too long to get to the point. They ask for help answering a question that anyone can Google. They’re the vampires of mental space, sucking you lifeblood of focus.
Attention is the most precious nonrenewable resource. Don’t ask for attention until you are ready to give value first. Asking for someone’s attention comes with an obligation to deliver. To inform and enlighten.
Your influence as a professional will be measured according to your ability to get others to listen and take action.
There are patterns to how your personality is most likely to add value. We’ve studied hundreds of thousands of participants to decipher these patterns. You can find out how everyone on your team is likely to add value, with the Team Advantage program.
If you really want to add value, don’t just focus on what YOU think is important or interesting or funny. Instead, think about your recipient, and what they value from you.
If you waste someone’s time, they are less likely to give you their attention the next time. Once you lose that credibility, you’re not heading towards loyalty; you’re on the slippery downward slide to irrelevancy.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Value is in the opinion of your listener.
Whenever I receive cold calls at work, I give the caller only a few seconds to grab my attention. As you say, if there's no value, it's spam. Earlier this week i received a cold call from some marketing company trying to send me a "white paper" on how to improve my sales. It was obvious that the caller didn't know me, didn't know my company, and didn't know my company's industry. I was abrupt and terse but professional as I advised the caller to do his homework before calling his next potential client. Then, "click".
Noted. But, first lets look at the term "SPAM" - its derived from an a notorious American product that makes aspic taste like a delicacy! As a calque it became common with the popularity of AOL MAIL in the early 90s. I've tremendous respect for your advertising career and your efforts as an authour and motivator. but I think you've given the ol' #SPAM concept too much credence. To wit, I am a pioneering "SPAMMER" from the advent of the Internet. I was one of those surly characters who bought and sold massive mailing lists and ran ads on them before that was even legal! I don't do that anymore. Google does, tho! Those experiences gave me brilliant insight on the value of (new) iterative technologies like Social Media: you MUST fill up the SPACE. There is virtually nothing on the Internet. Yet. The World Wide Web is like one tiny galaxy (if you want perspective). Twitter and all your "tweets" and my "tweets" are like errant asteroids smashing into the other. Some, forming NEW planets ... So, I don't agree with your "taking up space" quip. I think its a bit haughty, to be honest. Everyone has a right to "SPAM"... and like it or not - (it) WILL be seen even when its ignored (as you've pointed out). I DO agree with your strategic planning advice however. You absolutely HAVE to know what you're doing. And, you must realise that even in seeming chaos of "TWITTER" and "FACENOOK" postings - there may lie a METHOD to all the madness. (of course, this poetic ending to my note will open me up to a torrent of deadpan one-liners...) 😉 ###
This is very helpful. Much of my business is via email and this information will help me refine it. I've been thinking a lot about working smarter, and re-thinking spam will help me do that. Of course I don't intentionally spam anyone, but this information is important. Thankyou.
Excellent article! Thank you for taking the time to explain how not to be human spam! I will use this in the future.