One of the concepts that we teach in our communications and speaking programs is the importance of being open and personable. Not looking your audience in their eyes, talking to screens, easels and whiteboards, and hiding behind a lectern are actions and behaviors that send a message to your audience: one that says, “the person in front of me is afraid of revealing something about themselves. They are hiding something.”

And if you are in sales, you definitely don’t want your prospects to get this message.

So what do you have to do to overcome this challenge?


In order to come across as comfortable, confident and at ease, your actions have to be open and engaging. That involves behaviors like looking at your audience, using your hands and body the way that you would in a personal setting, smiling, and speaking directly with your audience.

Presentation can have a big impact on your audience’s impressions.

So how can you translate this over to communicating with your prospects using social media technologies?

Improve Your Online Profile’s Presentation

I ask this question because of recent observations.

In our office in Cleveland, we use chat, powered by ProvideSupport, to interact with our site visitors in real time. It provides that extra something that transforms a static site into a more personable experience for our clients.

The account manager who was handling the chat application was very adamant about not having her picture on the application interface, even though she was extremely personable and was a excellent at interacting with people online.

The astonishing observation I made was how often her name came up in online searches.

I review our web stats regularly. And I noticed that the more she interacted with people online, the more traffic she generated; people running Google searches on her name to find out more about here and hitting our site to find her bio.

She has since moved on and control of the chat app fell to me, giving me an excellent opportunity to review its operations and make some modifications. After being the chat operator for a week, I again noticed the impact of the operator’s name, in this case, mine, on site traffic generated by online searches.

The surprise came when I decided to integrate my picture into the application. After integrating my headshot, I noticed an upswing of about 30% in my ability to connect with online visitors. People were more willing to accept my call when I had my headshot displayed instead of a generic chat request.

This is only a preliminary finding with a small amount of data that I was able to collect, and we still have to tweak the initial message a bit. Still, this is a valuable illustration even with the small amount of information we did collect.

Add A Headshot And Improve Your Twitter and LinkedIn Profiles Presentation

Your prospects are curious about you as well. They want to know who they are interacting with, regardless if they are speaking with you face to face, talking over the phone, reading your blog, visiting your LinkedIn Profile, following you on Twitter or typing away using instant messaging and chat.

So why not provide a face to your online communication strategy and be more personable? If you are looking to make a favorable impression online, if you are looking to generate more traffic to your site, or if you want to sell more using online media, add a headshot and let them see your face.

This is not an entirely new concept. Everywhere you turn, you can find some kind of reference to increasing your social media impact by adding a photo. But I am amazed at how often I look at a LinkedIn profiles and see no headshot of the person. Or when I review people that follow me on Twitter and see the standard Twitter icon instead of a headshot of the person.

* I must confess to breaking rank with this rule. In anticipation of this summer’s next blockbuster movie, I’ve used a shot from Terminator Salvation as my icon. But, it will change back to my standard headshot in about 10 days. *

Overall, here’s the deal: If you want to be more open and engaging online, if you want to increase the impact of your Twitter and Linkedin profiles, add a headshot in your online social media profiles and see if people take you more seriously when they connect with you.

In the next post, we’ll take a look at how you can do the same with Gmail.