Sole Survivor: We're not 'anti' social media

by Elaine Clark

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03 Aug 2012

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Sole Survivor

YET ANOTHER REPORT has proclaimed that accountants have yet to "get to grips" with social media.

Not only that, but apparently it is only the large firms that have good social media engagement.

For those of you that know of my reputation for using social media in the accountancy world, you can imagine how such comments and surveys make me feel.

Years ago, I went on one of those motivational seminar days. Not usually my type of thing, but it was a three-line whip from the large corporate that I worked for at the time – a very motivational instruction.

The day was run by a lovely chap called Shay. More importantly, it has stuck in my mind all of these years, when many other facts have flown through it, because of one prominent message that I took away from the day.

The seminar started with a demonstration – a volunteer was called for and luckily enough it wasn't me. Up to the front the unsuspecting chap went. with no idea what was to come.

The demonstration started off with Shay asking the chap to put his arm straight out at right angles to his body. He then told him to resist the pressure as he pushed down on it. Suffice it to say that as Shay pushed down, the arm didn't move; so motivated was the chap by the positive comments received.

For the next few minutes Shay told the chap how fantasy it was, how everyone liked him: he was good at his job, well-dressed, good-looking and so on. The test was repeated with the arm out to side and Shay pushing down – not only did the arm not go down, but in fact it moved upwards.

Shay then spent the next few minutes telling the poor chap how terrible he was, how no one liked him: he was not very good at his job, his dress sense was nonexistent, he had no friends and so on – very cruel, but it was only an experiment.

The arm test was repeated and as the pressure was applied the arm fell to the chap's side – he had no strength to hold it up. His motivation had been sapped.

I was amazed and thought it was a trick but we were encouraged to repeat the same experiment with the person sitting next to us. We all stood up and followed the example – and it really does work. Go on, give it a try in your office.

The moral(e?) of the story is not to tell us accountants how bad we are at things – whether it be social media or anything else. Don't sap our motivation with your negativity!

Tell us we are good, we have made a great start, and then show us ways that we can get better, especially if you are trying to sell your services to us.

And finally ... I think that the accountancy profession is making great strides in its use of social media and cannot wait to see what the next few months and years brings as this spreads throughout our profession.

Elaine Clark is a chartered accountant and MD of accountancy practice cheapaccounting.co.uk. She blogs on the issues facing smaller practices and their clients

Image credit: Shutterstock

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