It’s FAST,

It’s FIERCE,

It could be DANGEROUS.

BUT you LOVE ADRENALINE and long for notoriety…

That is what attracts you to SKI CROSS

and SOCIAL MEDIA.

NOW Stop!

Put the allure aside and let’s step back. Before you make skier cross or social media your “Drug of Choice” (DOC) there are many facets to consider. With some careful planning you could become a DOUBLE THREAT to landing that coveted position.

Consider this: what if you were equally skilled in a related discipline, could that accelerate you to the head of the pack?

CROSS TRAINING FOR EXECUTION:

Remember the saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”? This is where cross training comes in: and more people are doing it.

The British Columbia Skier Cross (BCSX) Team cross trains its athletes in other ski disciplines: Slalom (for concentration and nimbleness), Giant Slalom (for speed and strength), Super G (to practice jumps at high speed) and ‘the steep and deep’.  SlopeSide is another discipline to consider (to develop a well rounded comfort on skis and superb balance). Anyone able to excel in all these venues will be a GREAT ski cross racer. [Editorial disclaimer: see section on `character`.]

To manage your own online presence or that of a company, takes a variety of skills (and not just the technical ones). Consider what you may face: from an active aggressive complainant to a passive action-less audience. How do you handle the complaint to defuse the aggression and how do you motivate your audience to act on a call-to-action?

Good ‘Sales’ skills are so important: from listening and investigating (before reacting or actioning), to relationship building, to understanding your audience’s challenges or opportunities (before you give them a solution YOU THINK they need). And being persuasive never hurts.

Customer satisfaction skills are crucial to handling concerns or assertions of your audience. The training and experience that one gets in hospitality, retail, service or other sales positions may help in properly handling a complaint and turning it into an opportunity. Over 20 years ago, Bruach Na Haille, a tiny restaurant in Ireland had a power outage that impacted my dinner.  My entree (and some Irish coffees) were ‘on the house’. Their only request was that I return again. Well, I’ve been back… and I’ve sent many, many others.

Awareness building and promotion are other skills that can be built by volunteering in non-profits or by being involved in announcing new products, technologies or services. Look for opportunities to (be credible and) let you passion show through.

Appealing to an audience is crucial. Marketing/Communications and PR (Promotion) positions help develop deep skills in written communications. However, an added background in media, training or performing arts may give you an added confidence and advantage to appeal to the audience and make them feel like you are speaking directly to them. (As the trainers/teachers would say: remember to keep it simple.)

EXCELLING TAKES MORE THAN JUST TECHNICAL SKILL: ADD CHARACTER

Although, great ski cross racers are awesome, well rounded skiers they are fearless, more fearless than their SL, GS or Super G counterparts. Ski cross racers are confident and determined. This is perhaps one of the only sports where you can come from behind and win.

Just like social media, both demand someone who is confident and determined. Remember entrepreneurs: this IS the space where the ‘little guy’ can win.

The article: ‘Five Must-Have Skills for Non-profit Social Media Managers’ outlines a number of skills suggested in the non-profit space. What is interesting is the focus on passion and personal approach (being friendly, patient and responsive).

THEN PRACTICE TO MAKE PERFECT

Like ski cross racers train and then practice: you must too.

  • LISTEN so that you are relevant,
  • CREATE content in multiple media to develop and showcase your skills,
  • CURATE content by  recommending useful  information (not by telling us you had cereal for breakfast),
  • COLLABORATE with others and search for ways to work together.

With social media you must GIVE before you (ask and then) GET. Some non-profit Social Media gurus advise that non-profits need to think of this as “friend-raising before fund-raising”. Think about relationship building and connecting.

ADVICE TO THE WISE

Whether it is ski cross or social media: you can’t really train in one discipline to be the ultimate participant. If you are out in front, one slip and you can lose your advantage that is when you need to dig deep and draw on all your skills and experience.

  • Aim to connect with your audience or be ready to brave the consequences. Here’s what the show’s producer said about the reason the gorgeous and talented  Pia Toscano had to leave American Idol.
  • Realize the more you know:  the more YOU KNOW that you don’t know.
  • Understand knowing the new equipment and technology will important, but it is not the only critical success factor. The landscape, terrain and equipment keep changing and so do the rules: you’ll need to adapt and draw from your skills and experiences.

Accept that things happen FAST and it may be determination that will win the race as it did in this video clip of the Skier Cross World Cup Race at Cypress Mountain. [Note: the blue jersey in the lead.]

Remember: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”

BE DETERMINED.

CROSS TRAIN and build up those skills that will make you stronger, faster, better.

BECOME A DOUBLE THREAT!

Until next time.

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Image courtesy of Gord Palin.

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