We live in a world of total transparency thanks to the Internet and social media networking sites. As small business owners, if we are disingenuous and don't follow-through on our brand promises, we will eventually be found out.
Let's look at this transparency concept from a different perspective. It is one thing to be honest and another to enter the zone of "over-share" or "TMI". On many social networking sites, especially Facebook, we are all privy to information about our "friends" that we might not really want to know. Some business people are holding back getting heavily involved with Facebook not because they are concerned about others seeing what they are doing, but because they don't want their FB “friends” to see what their children are doing!
How about those people who when asked "How are you?" – really tell you? We have all worked in an office where there are those certain people that we try to avoid because if they get us alone, we will never get away. They go on and on and on about everything under the sun and much of it is really personal information that we would rather not know. Isn't the phrase "How are you?" oftentimes really a rhetorical question?
Here's something to try when you are fed up with pushy sales calls. When the sales person asks "How are you"? Tell them the truth – especially if you are having a bad day – the look on their face that you can almost see through the phone will make your day a brighter one.
The point here is that transparent doesn't mean get too personal or share too much. It means be obvious, frank and/or candid. Timing also plays a role here. I try to ingratiate myself to those I need assistance from. The most recent example I can give is from today. My dad has been having health issues and we have been back and forth to doctors, hospitals, ER's etc. Today was a bad day. I needed to take my dad to the ER to get IV fluids because he was seriously dehydrated. His gastroenterologist's secretary likes to complain about how overworked she is and normally I listen, commiserate, understand, etc. However, today when I called her to tell her I was bringing my dad to the ER and she started complaining about how busy she was – THAT was the wrong timing on her part. I really don't care how busy she is normally but today? I REALLY didn't care and there was no sympathy on my part for her being overworked.
Another example of what some consider over-share is commenting on Facebook pictures, however those "some" are usually the young and those young are usually our children. We ‘ole folk like to have conversations that are relevant to a particular photo and sometimes those conversations veer off the original topic. That is ok – it doesn't bother us. However, many of our children don't like this especially if they are in the photo or somehow included in the trail of messages. Apparently photos are "not the place to have conversations". I didn't read those rules anywhere – maybe I missed them? Apparently the email notices that flood these young folk/our children's inboxes are annoying. My suggestion is to either turn off the email notifications or better still, I – G – N – O – R – E them.
Disclaimer: Blogs are written in one’s own voice and are therefore, exempt from the Over-share/TMI category. JMO