Have you ever considered that the person your criticising is just starting out? We’ve all had those messages of canvassing, I’ve sent and relieved them. The message where when we see it, we assume that the person on the other end is cruelly working their way to irritate as many people as possible. We often think the anger we feel was their genuine intention.
I’m the first to admit that when it comes to networking, I’m very new. Whether it’s trying to build relationships online around my blog, trying to collaborate or meeting face to face in a room full of strangers, I struggle. I said it! It’s intimidating and hard work at the best of times, throw in anxiety, borderline personality disorder and a new role and wow… I can disintegrate in a matter of moments.
Copying a message that may have worked well before or to follow someone else’s lead, rightly or wrongly, is often the way most people get started. They are anxious and nervous. I for one can easily forget names, how I may have met you and why I knew that I wanted to talk to them. My mind goes blank, but I also don’t want to waste the moment. I get it wrong, so often, but I try. For some people, this new found hobby or business is something that has the ability to make them feel good about themselves. It’s given them a new lease of confidence or a buzz and they aren’t quite sure how to express it. They just want everyone in the world to read their blog.
When I first started blogging about my mental health journey in January this year I was overwhelmed by the positive responses and encouragement. Within no time I was being nominated for awards, attending events and even heading off to the radio. Nobody seemed to have a bad word to say. As soon as I wanted to increase my audience, reach more people and share my story, I hit a wall. As someone without the confidence of networking, business to business relationships, a lack of training, I soon feel into all the pitfalls of blank canvassing, mass emails with little personalisation and generally pestering everyone. That was never my intention. I genuinely didn’t know how to reach out, so anyone who was blogging or writing or researching about mental health, on any of my forums would end of being contacted.
So many people were lovely, that initial message still attracted so many of my positive connections that I gave today. Others helped, explaining that they’d love to work with me, but wanted to help me with how I approached contacting people, a lovely lady at a networking event in London took me under her wing, with a “watch me” style and that was mainly because I’d been so rubbish in introducing myself to her.
And then there were the people who mocked me. The people who sent cutting and cruel messages back. Messages that made me feel like a bad person. I don’t know what they hoped to achieve. Perhaps my untactful copy and paste was infuriating, it may be similar to many others they’d had, I may have made grammatical errors, said the wrong thing or introduced my blog, story or business to quickly, but I’ll promise you, I had a positive intention.
Several of these kind of messages broke me for days at a time. And guess what, I haven’t completely learnt my lesson. I still send a message and get a great response so I send it out several times more. I’m not lazy, or pushy or being a bad person. I’m human and learning.
Next time someone contacts you, why not be polite. If it’s not you thing, no worries. If it is, and you could help that person, why not make a constructive suggestion in a polite way. If you do know better, you could change their whole outlook on their future.
Go to the positive intent of that person. Are they trying to share a traumatic story that they have experienced? And they trying to find new clients to build a business to support their young family, unable to pay for training at the moment, are they reaching out because they need friends.
The world would be so much better if we all focused on the positive intent and were kind