Erik Qualman Qualifies Digital Leadership

Erik-Qualman-Social-Media-Club-ChicagoHappy New Year! Social Media Club Chicago’s first event of the 2012 social season took place last night at House of Blues in Chicago. Thanks to Brickfish for the free book and for bringing Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics and now Digital Leader: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence, to Chicago.

A brilliant thought leader, Erik’s the bright mind behind the Social Media Revolution videos. Here’s a quote from his new book.

“Digital footprints are what we post about ourselves. Digital shadows are what others upload about us. Collectively, they have changed the world forever. As leaders and future leaders we need to adapt to this new world.” 

What a strong way to frame up 2012.

Erik first spoke at an SMC Chicago event a few years ago when he was in town to talk at Search Engine Strategies. Here’s what Erik had to say about Social Media Optimization then. Last night, we learned more about Erik’s digital leader process, which is based on five powerful truths you can use to establish your leadership “stamp.”

Erik Qualman’s 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence

Simple: success is the result of simplification and focus

True: be true to your passion

Act: nothing happens without action–take the first step

Map: goals and visions are needed to get where you want to be

People: success doesn’t happen alone

During the presentation, I took a few notes on my iPhone. Apologies to Erik for any inaccuracies. When I got home, I browsed the book and will finish it over the weekend. For now, here’s a quick recap of Erik’s presentation.

Simplifying your focus is the most important thing you can do

  • Write out in 140 characters or less what you want to be, what you want your stamp in life to be and what  you want your life to stand for. In the book, Erik quotes Dick Van Dyke [like me, also a Danville High School alum] as saying he wants his epitaph to be “Glad I could help.”
  • Focus more on output than on input; focus on shipping stuff out.
  • Pick only two things to do every day, look at what other leaders doing today to excel. Write them down and focus on knocking those two things out today.
  • When Erik was speaking in Africa with Tony Hawk, he found out that Tony loves to tweet. Tony waits 30 minutes before announcing an impromptu skate park drop in. More advanced notice than that, and the park will be jammed. Follow leaders to see where they’ll be next.
  • In life, most people will remember how you treated them.
  • People will empower you to get things done.

Social Media Asks Questions, Erik Answers

After Erik talked about the book, he read comments via social media on his phone. As an author, he’s interested following conversations and in checking out what people are highlighting on their Kindle. I like this “answer questions in the moment” approach. Questions and comments via social media included:

Love the LIFO method

Borrowed from the accounting term LIFO, Last in first out, is a kind of arbitrage. It’s better to respond to the last ones in, then go back and reply to old messages sitting around in email and on social media. You may surprise and delight the person who gets a reply in 30 seconds.

Complain = digital pain

If you want to stand out, stop complaining. Be proactively positive, use social media emoticons apps, and dig in and find out about someone’s hobbies when you chat with them online.

Multitasking is worse for your brain than marijuana

While Erik was not suggesting smoking marijuana [this line got a big laugh], he was serious about doing only one thing well at a time. Multi-tasking drops IQ scores by 10 points and is the worst thing you can do to get things done. Who else is guilty of trying to accomplish more than two things at once?

Interruptions take you off track; avoid them.

In the book, Erik suggests wearing headphones and getting away to work on your work.

Out of office suggestion

When you go on vacation, ask people to resend an email on the day you return. Erik tried this. Only 9/1100 resent the email and no one complained about him not responding. Yes, he did delete all the email that came in while he was away – without reading it. Who would be brave enough to try this?

When to fire your customers

People want partnerships with companies, only work with people who value you.

Set audacious, laughable goals

Then, find people to help you. They’re the ones that don’t laugh and take you seriously.

Success is a choice

The only way we can do it is to simplify our lives. No matter how successful you are you, can never reach the mountaintop if you surround yourself with the wrong kind of people who will bring you down.

Big trend for 2012 is technology and education

Two examples: teachers assign videos produced by Khan Academy and MIT offers free courses you can get  online.

Erik’s goal is to break a world’s record for the most one-sentence reviews on Amazon.

After hearing Erik speak, and browsing the book briefly last night, it would be a challenge for me to compress my review into one slim sentence, but I’ll try: To live the best of your life, read this book to find out how to simplify, share and lead with your passion.

Image: Jeff Willinger, SMC Chicago president; Tim Mc Donald, SMC Chicago Community Manager; Amy Hesser SMC Chicago member; Barbara Rozgonyi, SMC Chicago founder and Erik Qualman.

Need help discovering how to share your passion? Here’s how to borrow my brain.

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