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Guest

On Crashing Weddings and Online Conversations

By: Guest | October 1, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is by Geoff Reiner

I crashed my first wedding in my late teens.

I was with my older cousin who was rather intoxicated.

A few minutes after our grand entrance, we were kindly asked to leave.

I crashed my second wedding a few years later.

This time, I went alone.

Let me rephrase – when I say I crashed weddings, I actually just ventured to other weddings within the same venue that seemed far more entertaining.

And fortunately I was able to retire before the whole activity got a bad rep.

Regardless, at my second and much more successful crashing experience, I started off as a fly on the wall. I was extremely patient and strategically listened to various conversations. Once I found the most appropriate opportunity to participate and provide value, I went for it.

I know, I know. Why the heck am I talking about crashing weddings? Well, crashing weddings is exactly like crashing conversations online. Bear with me.

Successful Wedding Crashing

To crash a wedding successfully, and by successfully I mean not being asked to leave in the first 15 minutes, you have to be patient. You have to understand your audience and strategically monitor multiple conversations. Identifying opportunities to contribute, and moving quickly and with confidence is also critical for success.

Each new wedding provides a blank canvas. You’re a brand new face without followers or clout (yes real clout!). You only have one chance for first impressions and you have to go with your gut. Contrary to wedding crashing, crashing conversations online can be much less stressful and far more productive. As long as you have had thorough training and conducted the appropriate research. Research that only a seasoned wedding crasher can provide.

The Five Rules of Conversation Crashing

Rule #1: Never crash a conversation and be left behind. Social media monitoring helps you better understand relevant conversations and provides insight about your audience. The specific tool doesn’t necessarily matter as long as you listen before you crash.

Rule #2: Use your real name. Successfully crashing conversations involves authenticity and vulnerability. If you let people know your intentions and crash with finesse, people are generally quite receptive.

Tip: When using your real name, also use a picture of yourself. It’s very important that people can connect with you visually. And remember the picture has to be professional. No lower back tattoos!

Rule #3: Blend in by standing out. Agreeing with everyone is lame and makes you completely forgettable. I’m certainly not suggesting you pull a Kenneth Cole and start hijacking hash tags. However, if you see a post from Gini Dietrich about The 10 Commandments of Online Etiquette, feel free to be tactfully disruptive. Spam can be a great topic of conversation, especially among vegetarians.

Rule #4: Build trust. Building trust can take forever and it can be broken with the simple click of a mouse. If you’re interested in crashing a specific conversation or meeting a specific person, ease your way in to the crash. Start by commenting on blogs, retweeting relevant content you’re passionate about, and building trust organically. Then once you have a rapport and there’s an interesting conversation brewing, crash that conversation with confidence and tact. But remember, never ever ever go for the close (Jim Connolly). If people trust you, they will buy.

Rule #5: Manage Relationships. People who successfully crash conversations have a purpose. They know who they are, why they’re crashing, how they want to strategically crash, and what they want out of the crash. They have determined their purpose and desired outcome. Successfully crashing conversations is a complete waste when relationships are not maintained. My solution, crash conversations consistently and become a regular!

Tip: When looking to crash conversations and be disruptive, it’s not about blasting people and telling them how wrong they are. However, if you disagree with someone first ask permission to offer an opposing perspective and then deliver an opinion or contrary subject matter that allows them to see a different point of view. This promotes engagement and allows for a much richer dialogue which ultimately builds trust.

So next time you’re at a wedding and the party is wicked, take a look around the room, and don’t be surprised if you see… this guy!

Geoff works with Jump-Point, Canada’s leading boutique strategic management consultancy. His focus is on growing the Clarity for the Boss community, the Jump-Point first online business education program for serious entrepreneurs. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or the Clarity for the Boss blog.

83 comments
lizscherer
lizscherer

@allenmireles Kindest heart ever = you

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@MarketngTidbits @ginidietrich thanks so much for the mention Danette! How's the day treating you?

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@crestodina @SpinSucks @orbiteers Thanks so much Andy! And I look forward to guest posting in the near future :)

crestodina
crestodina

Loved this one. Thanks @GeoffReiner I heard a speaker recently (wish I could remember who it was) who said that it's fine to jump into conversations and even ok to try to steer it in a certain direction, IF YOU STICK WITH IT.

 

If you stay involved and in the conversation, that's legit. If you jump into someone's blog comments (or chat, hangout, hashtag, etc) with some selfish assertion and then leave ...that's spam.

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@RebeccaLPage Hey Rebecca! Thanks for the mention. How's your day going?

rdopping
rdopping

A real life Vince Vaughan, eh? Great analogy and great tips, sir. I've been known to carpet bomb conversations before. Sometimes it works other times no. That's what experimenting is all about though.

 

It all comes down to time for me. #4 & #5 are only really achievable if I can manage my time well and ensure I am not just doing a drive by. Finesse seems to be the name of the game. I still have a lot to learn there. Ha.

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

Can you please next time write about crashing debutante balls? (Do they have those in Canada?) 

 

I'm totally with you on the contrary viewpoint. But then, I'm a Republican. There, I said it. I had to come out sooner or later, and my family is OK with it. 

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@razoo @SpinSucks Thanks for the mention!

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@engagetony @ginidietrich thanks Tony! So what have you found to be productive from your success (crashing) stories?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

I laughed out loud at the spam comment. I don't know if anyone else will get that, but I thought it was hilarious!

 

Remind me never to hand out with you. I'm notorious for crashing parties (ask @martinwaxman and @kensviews about crashing prom) so I'm afraid we'd get in a lot of trouble together.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@DenVan He really did. And it says even more that I left it in there @geoffreiner

Justjeffpls
Justjeffpls

@ginidietrich @geoffreiner By politely asking if a different viewpoint could b offered( n my case) seems 2b boundlessly trivializing.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel

I crashed one of Gini's on Facebook once. I looked like an idiot!!

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel

I crashed one of Gini's on Facebook once. I looked like an idiot!!

Carmelo
Carmelo

Hey Geoff ... nice take on injecting yourself into a new community. No, I've never crashed a wedding that I can remember. But, i did, however, notice a crasher at my son's wedding last month! Hmmm, was it you?

 

As to conversation crashers, wouldn't you say it's only crashing if you're there to get something out of it rather than honestly contributing to it? Or, at least honestly stating what you're learning from it? I suppose it's all about tact and genuineness. After all, a conversation held in public (twitter, here, etc.) isn't really a closed door event!

 

Also liked your oxymoronic "blend by standing out" tip. :-)

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@factor_e thanks for the mention! You guys are wicked! @RPMoran

Erin F.
Erin F.

Hey, it's a guest post by one of my tribe members!

 

When I first started to crash conversations, I out-and-out said I was doing so and apologized beforehand. I think I've gotten more finessed or bold or something in the past year. I don't apologize as much anymore. :)

allenmireles
allenmireles

@lizscherer Thank you, my friend. feel the same about you.

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @crestodina 

Hey Andy,

 

Thanks for the feedback. To be honest, I think the same goes for weddings. Some people choose to crash weddings and completely ruin the party. They are obnoxious, rude and over the top.  

 

If one crashes with authenticity and finesse, the outcome can be much more positive! 

Now, I may be taking you back but do you remember your days of crashing conversations online???

RebeccaLPage
RebeccaLPage

@geoffreiner I related as a reformed party crasher (20 years ago!) It started on the Hill. Oops, did I confess for all to see?!

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @rdopping 

"Carpet bombing conversations?"  "Doing a drive by?"  Sounds like a few great follow up blog titles to me!  And it finally looks like I have found my Owen Wilson LOL. I have a few upcoming opportunities to crash. I will keep you in the loop. 

 

Seriously though, building trust and managing relationships can take a pretty intense time investment. I'm with you, the learning never ends! 

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @barrettrossie  To be honest, I had to google it. And as I sit here trying to control my laughter (thinking that stuff only existed in the movies) curiosity strikes me. It turns out the Hungarian Helicon Society is one of the only debutante balls in Canada. Who knew! Looks like I really do learn something every day!

 

And not to worry Barrett, I'm with your family on that one... I won't hold it against you. After all, I am from north of the border :)

engagetony
engagetony

@geoffreiner @ginidietrich I've found listening in to Gini & @spinsucks very productive! :)

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @ginidietrich  @martinwaxman  @kensviews 

 

I'm glad you appreciated it. @TroyClaus was howling too! Right before I pressed send, Troy says, "Dude, you know she's a vegetarian right?"  LOL 

 

Crashing parties is what I do best so hanging out may be a good idea.  And now you have given me a thread to go and bother Martin and Ken... Thanks a million :-)

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@ginidietrich @DenVan Gini I was surprised when you said you liked my post... I wasn't sure if that line would make the cut :p

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@Old_Jrice @ginidietrich Jeff you have me intrigued. Can you give me an example to help me better understand your perspective?

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @rustyspeidel I would be lying if I said I've never been there!  Happens to the best of us... :-)

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @Carmelo 

Hey Carmelo, thanks for the feedback! And I did venture to a number of weddings last month but I'm sure I knew either the bride or the groom. If you see me next time, I owe you a beverage :)

 

You raise a valid question. Some people crash to get something out of the conversation but some crash to gain brand equity and grow their network. And honestly stating what you learn from crashing may not be apparent on a short term basis - especially if you're new.

 

I am consistently crashing conversations to gain insight but also to provide good content and grow my network. And yes you're right, any conversation online does seem to be public - that's how communities form and organically grow!

 

Blending in by standing out is so crucial at weddings - it seems like everyone is there to be crazy! This metaphor also seems to be quite appropriate based on the number of bloggers/influencers/gurus looking to be disruptive in the online space as well.

 

Thanks again :)

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @Erin F. I would agree that you have likely developed your ability to leverage finesse but you are also becoming more confident and seeing direct results with your network as a result of your crashing! 

 

I joined a conversation the other day but wasn't all there. I made a few comments over a pretty long period of time and one guy called me out BIGTIME. I felt like a bit of a lurker... Not good. 

 

The next time I crashed, I introduced myself and went right for it! 

crestodina
crestodina

 @GeoffReiner I was pretty inelegant in the way I joined conversations in the beginning. "Hi there! I see you're talking about X. Here's an article I wrote about X. If you like it, check out my blog and subscribe and let's meet for coffee."  <-- not a great first impression. A bit too intense...

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@RebeccaLPage lol that's awesome! And thanks for the mention :)

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@engagetony @ginidietrich @spinsucks Agreed! Many guest bloggers have provided great content and Gini and her team are very #engaging!

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @Carmelo  @ginidietrich  @martinwaxman  @kensviews 

 

Yes, that was me trying to be clever.

 

Gini wrote a post about online etiquette mentioning how no one likes spam emails. I thought I was being tactfully disruptive asking a vegetarian if she liked spam (shortened from spiced ham) playing off the pun of online spam.

 

It really wasn't that "tactfully disruptive"  lol :-)

DenVan
DenVan

@geoffreiner @ginidietrich Ha! Hooboy, now I'm backing away from the conversation-crash... #SeeWhatIDidThere?

Carmelo
Carmelo

 @GeoffReiner I'm keeping a look out for you! Not just for the beverage but for your perspectives. (But I will expect the refreshment, yes.) :-)

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @Erin F. So Erin, based on your experience what advice do you have for up and coming crashers?

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @ginidietrich  @crestodina 

 

Andy, it certainly looks like you have perfected your skills and come a LONG way (totally kidding)

 

Great information here. And it's always beneficial to learn from the experiences of others.  Thanks again and yes Gini I laughed out loud as well. His story sounds all too familiar... :p

geoffreiner
geoffreiner

@DenVan @ginidietrich Dennis don't do it! This is where all the fun happens! :) lol

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @Carmelo  This is awesome!  We shall be in touch and thank you for your perspectives as well. It's greatly appreciated. And consider the refreshment a done deal :)

 

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @Erin F.  @ginidietrich That's great information! And yes, I would agree. I think your latest post may also be considered tactfully disruptive to some. I look forward to reading more of your work!

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @GeoffReiner  @ginidietrich Thank you!

 

I attended a webinar from Copyblogger the other day. Brian Clark talked about the three "C's" of content: cornerstone content, connection content, and customer content. He made the point that customer content included ideas that people must accept in order to work with a person. I suppose my latest post falls into that category. I plan to write some posts about the webinar. It contained good information. I just have other posts in the queue.

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @Erin F.  @ginidietrich 

 

I had an idea of what you were getting at. And yes, finding your way and creating your own path is so critical. You're right - taking the advice of others can only get us so far..

 

I certainly see you pushing yourself, especially with your most recent post. This does not look like it comes from someone that's introverted. I like that you stand for something and aren't afraid to voice your opinion. Great post by the way! 

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @GeoffReiner  @ginidietrich Maybe comfort zone was the wrong choice of words. I think what I meant is that you have to find your own way. Listening to other people's advice is all well and good, but you don't know anything until you give it a try yourself. :)

 

I'm constantly testing my limits and what I think I can do. I won't let my introverted tendencies keep me from what I'm supposed to do.

GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

 @Erin F.  @ginidietrich  Hey Erin,

 

At Clarity for the Boss, we have a concept called performance bands. Essentially your performance band is your capacity to achieve desired results. When you remain in your comfort zone, it's very difficult to achieve results and grow your performance band.  

 

And I would agree that people do have to define their comfort zone. With that, the greatest learning happens when we push our boundaries into the discomfort. You would have been extremely uncomfortable in your experience selling shoes to become who you are.

 

And I appreciate you defining yourself as an introvert that is not quiet. Sounds like you have enhanced your performance band and developed some pretty strategic filters!  That's awesome!

 

Last point: being brave enough to ask for help is great! It's a step in the right direction. And it helps you become okay with the answer no. And if you're surrounding yourself with like-minded people (Gini) that have a big capacity to perform, you will continue to grow too! Congrats on your success and awesome feedback :)

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @GeoffReiner I think people have to find their own comfort level with it, which takes time. I tend to compare my social networking with my experiences with selling shoes. I had to find my comfort level with that, too. It was no easy feat for a quiet introvert, although I'm not very quiet anymore. :) Still introverted, but not quiet.

 

They also need to start asking questions. It can't hurt to ask, right? More often than not, being brave enough to ask the question results in a positive rather than a negative experience. @ginidietrich , for instance, helped me to start my e-letter, and it was because I was brave enough to ask her for help.

Trackbacks

  1. […] finally, after all these “don’ts”, here’s a “do.” Apparently, crashing weddings is exactly like crashing conversations online, and you can learn how to do both! Share […]

  2. […] online communication. I remember sitting in on a twitter chat to understand the unwritten rules of online conversations. Not only did it help me develop filters, but it also helped me form an opinion about certain […]