By way of a chance conversation after a Toastmasters meeting at which I was a guest the other night, I’ve found one way to share some information about social media in business without getting into lengthy and potentially confusing explanation.

Namely to point people to a couple of videos of the amazing Gary Vaynerchuk, @garyvee on Twitter.

During the conversation after the Toastmasters event, and in response to a question from the business owner with whom I was speaking, I started to explain about social media, then noticed a puzzled frown appearing. Rather than ploughing on, as I’ve done in other such situations, I suddenly had a brainwave, to send him a link to the recent Gary Vaynerchuk CNN interview on making money doing what you love.

To whet his appetite, I mentioned briefly the Gary Vaynerchuk success story, that he took a $4 million wine business and used social media to turn it into a $45 million business and that I saw and heard him speak last year. I told him that anyone who wants to know what’s going on should watch the video.

Not surprisingly after that, he said he would like to see the video. Yesterday I sent the link.

My new rule

Then today I had a Skype call from a colleague about introducing me to some IT people who want to get into the local market. I checked out their site – very smart looking but no sign of social media – started to ask some questions, then thought “Gary Vaynerchuk video”!

So I immediately made up a new rule which I communicated to my colleague: “I’ll only talk to people about how social media can help them grow their business after they’ve watched the Gary Vaynerchuk video and are willing and able to talk to me intelligently about that.”

I’d sent him the link, he was watching while we chatted and he said he thought that was fair.

Then I added to the rule another Gary Vaynerchuk video, short and to the point, about social media and demonstrating ROI .

It’s so quick that it’s easy to miss what Gary says, which is:

I’m just not intrigued, or interested, or in any shape or form motivated to convince big companies that they need to do this. The smart ones will and then they’ll win. The dumb ones won’t and then they’ll lose. I really don’t care who wins and loses.

Having this filter is not about being arrogant or not wanting to talk about one of my most favorite topics, social media. I can talk about it till the cows come home, as some long-suffering friends and family would no doubt attest.

It’s about getting an idea of who is likely to be genuinely interested in knowing more and possibly applying it, and thus, to be frank, a potential client or co-venturer, as distinct from someone who is just making polite conversation or picking my brain, without any evident likelihood of that turning into business.

Naturally, depending on the circumstances, I may well continue to have a chat with someone on the subject before they have had a chance to watch the videos. But my thinking just now is that that will be the exception rather than the rule.

One thing I may do is to offer the following short links to the videos, which I can write, say on my new business card : and

If I feel there are signs of a possible business collaboration I could get their permission to call them in a couple of days to see what they think. Case by case judgement.

But I am seeing this more as a filter than as part of a pitch.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).