Like many of you, I recently joined the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn craze and it’s been great. I’ve re-connected with old friends from high school, college, and my fighter pilot days, and I’ve also met some very interesting people. And yes – like you, I can easily spend a few hours a day on these sites checking out profiles and looking at cool videos and photos.

Last week, I was driving home from a lunch meeting and was thinking of who I needed to re-connect with. David Greenberg (a personal friend and one of the best speaker coaches I know) came to mind. And I did something crazy. I didn’t search for him on Facebook. Nor did I Tweet him a personal message. I didn’t even send him an e-mail. I actually called him on the phone, and believe it or not, he answered! We connected, shared some cool business ideas, and I hung up feeling great.

Yes, I know I’m being a bit facetious here. But I have to say that if there is one thing that drives this wingman ‘wingnuts’ is when people abuse this whole social networking thing. In many ways, it’s gone from “Here’s what I’m doing” to “Here’s what I’m selling.” From “Let me connect you to” to “Let me sell you.”

Well, I’ve got news for you, ye social networking gurus. If I don’t know you, I probably won’t buy from you. The reason I said ‘probably’ is because there are times when we will buy something from someone even if we don’t know them. If it has value and can help our business/life, then hey, it’s worth a look. And there’s nothing wrong with occasionally sharing our great product, seminar, or book with our contacts. Social networking sites are a tremendous way to expose our market to our value. But please, let’s not put our sales links and impersonal offers in EVERY POST we make on Twitter or Facebook!

We need to be careful not to abuse the social networking sites and our connections. They are primarily for networking and making contacts, not direct sales.

I believe our phone book should still remain our primary method for building and maintaining our relationships. One phone call equals 50 tweets and Facebook messages. Phone calls are great at building trust, and trust what a wingman is all about.

So, here are some wingtips to augment your social networking efforts:

1. Make it a priority to call a few of your special contacts every day. Do this first thing in the morning if able. These include your top clients, vendors, and yes, your friends.

2. Use your phone judiciously. Before you head to the airport or Starbucks, make a list of a few wingmen to call while in your car or at the gate.

3. Give something of value to your contact on the phone (i.e. a referral.). Before you hang up, ask them this special question: “Is there anything I can help you with?”

4. ** If you really want to connect with a new e-contact, research their website and call them. I guarantee they will be impressed…and shocked.

In this high speed age of Twitter and text messaging where words on a screen are the norm, we need to hear each other’s voices. Voices incur emotion and emotion is what connects people. And when connections are made, trust is built and relationships develop. How people make you feel is what initially builds relationships, not the product they sell.

So, if you want to be a Wingman – a trusted partner – to your network, don’t forget to reference your Phonebook in addition to Facebook when flight planning your next mission.


Lt Col Waldo Waldman, The Wingman, builds team unity within organizations as a high-energy leadership and inspirational speaker. A former combat-decorated fighter pilot with corporate sales experience, Waldo brings an exciting and valuable message to organizations by using fighter pilot strategies as building blocks for peak performance, teamwork, leadership and trust. His clients include AFLAC, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, BG Products, NY Life, and Home Depot and his book Never Fly Solo (McGraw-Hill) will be released in Dec 2009.
To download Waldo’s Top Gun Motivation mission briefing, visit, e-mail or call 1-866-925-3616.

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