Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and Baulkers


Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and BaulkersIn almost any field of endeavour, you are going to come across four different types of people. Your project may be some form of project implementation for your company. It could be that you have a creative idea for an advertising client. Or you may just want to go back to university to complete a degree. But no matter your focus, you will have to deal with walkers, talkers, stalkers and baulkers. In some cases these people will be your boss, or a member of your staff. They may be parents or friends.

But whether you like it or not, you need to figure out a way of dealing with each type. Let’s take a look at their characteristics.

Type Description How to help them
Walkers You want the Walkers on your project. They deliver. They understand the terminology and the goals and they know how to achieve outcomes. Because the Walkers are so busy resolving issues, achieving outcomes and so on, they may not communicate “up” as much as is necessary. Add regular communications into their mix of KPIs.
Talkers The talkers are evangelistic. They are great at the start of a project, picking up the terminology and the ideas and transmitting them to others. The Talkers are often purists which means that they are sometimes unwilling to compromise. Help them see the win-win outcome – but also push them to move from “talk” to “walk”.
Stalkers The vast majority of the population are Stalkers. They will watch from a distance but don’t personally commit. They won’t get in the way but they won’t participate either. The Stalkers will often do a great job – but will only do as they are instructed. Inertia is the domain of the Stalker. You can use the Talkers to engage and activate these folks. You can point towards the Walkers as aspirational role models, but the challenge is in building momentum.
Baulkers The Baulkers are the intransigent group. They may be active detractors or simply explain all the reasons why your project will not succeed. They can sometimes feign support but will often move back to an inert or negative position very quickly. The Baulkers have the power of negativity on their side. As we generally don’t like change, the Baulker appeals to our risk averse natures. They discredit the ideas underpinning your project and those who support them. Leave them in a room with a Talker.


Any long term project success requires the activation of all four of these types. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to change these people. They won’t change for you.

But they may change their opinion of your project.

Take the time to understand the motivations of each of these types and play to their strengths and weaknesses. It is about playing the person, not the project.

Working with the people will deliver your project – but focusing only on the project will more deeply entrench the positions of the Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and Baulkers. Your challenge is to create movement between the categories – and the best way to do that is activate their talents.

Give it a try, you might just find you succeed wildly.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

I am often surprised by what ends up on this list!

As I find useful articles during the week, I jot them into a draft post using Microsoft’s excellent LiveWriter. If inspired I will write a couple of notes for later, otherwise I only write the explanation in preparation for publishing.

  1. Sarah Evans cherry picks her best social media statistics especially for your next presentation. My favourite – “AOLs newsroom is now bigger than the New York Times”
  2. During the week, Edelman released its new tweetlevel and bloglevel tools for ranking influence. R Ray Wang has a good overview of the tool and provides a couple of suggestions for improvement
  3. And on the topic of “influence”, Valeria Maltoni says everyone is wrong about influence – except your customers
  4. By now you’ve probably checked out Google+ – I’m sure the Facebook product development team have. But should they have seen this coming? Did you? Ben Kunz thinks so
  5. Having worked at IBM years ago, it’s no surprise to read there was some “spirited debate” on the shift towards social business. This interview by Rick Liebling with IBM’s Ethan McCarty provides some interesting perspectives on what it takes to shift the needle on social.

A Cup of Chaos #69: Men, Soften the Fck Up

UPDATED! By far, the largest proportion of suicides in Australia is men aged 18-44. The figure is close to 80 per cent. For some men, it’s depression, stress or peer pressure, for others it is sexuality, career pressure, body image, addiction or breaking up with a partner. It can be any number – or combination – of things.

But if you are facing these challenges, the best thing you can do – is Soften the Fck Up. This new campaign by Ehon Chan aims to challenge the traditional Australian notion of manhood – when you’re not feeling right, it’s not time to harden up – it’s time to soften up. And you can start by reading the experiences and stories of others. You can share your own.

In 2009, Mark Pollard and I collected 30 stories about reinventing manhood – called the Perfect Gift for a Man (which you can still download for free). It is great to see this important awareness raising continue.

Sean Carmody has delivered some more detailed statistics from the ABS (2009):

Suicides (all ages): 2,130
Male suicides (all ages): 1,631
Female suicides (all ages): 499
Suicides (18-44 y.o.): 1,114
Male suicides (18-44 y.o.): 866
Female suicides (18-44 y.o.): 248
All deaths (all ages): 140,760
Male deaths (all ages): 72,320
Female deaths (all ages): 68,440
All deaths (18-44): 6,660
Male deaths (18-44): 4,533
Female deaths (18-44): 2,127

So, a few ratios we can arrive at are:

  • (male suicides all ages)/(all suicides all ages) = 77%
  • (male suicides 18-44)/(all suicides all ages) = 40%
  • (male suicides 18-44)/(all suicides 18-44) = 78%
  • (male suicides 18-44)/(male deaths 18-44) = 19%

Which ever way you cut these numbers – it is clear that we are seeing way too many suicides in this country. It is also clear that there is help available, there are options – and futures to grasp. Start by Softening the Fck Up.

NAB to Banks – It’s About the Honesty

A couple of months ago, the National Australia Bank caused a stir in the financial services industry by encouraging the customers of other banks to “break up” with their bank. This weekend, NAB are taking it to a new level, running a series of social experiments on the subject of honesty – and publicising the results. Here’s a sample.

Apparently, Australians are an honest bunch – and the #honestaus campaign wants to bring that honesty to into the world of credit cards. What do you think? Is it a stunt or is it for real? Is that what we want from banks?

It sure makes a change from the staid, mechanistic communications I normally receive from my banks. And that’s the honest truth.

Infographic Bonanza

In the last 12 months there has been an avalanche of infographics produced and consumed. They can not only be a useful way of explaining complex processes and situations, they are also easy to share and are ready-made for a content hungry audience.

But have you tried to create an infographic? They are challenging! You need to establish your messaging and understand the narrative you want to share with your audience. You need to cohesively design your infographic. And you need to make it interesting – the best seem to take us on a journey that engages and informs.

Little wonder then that sites like Visual.ly have started to appear. It’s a place to share and market your infographic skills. They are even planning on building out some data visualisation tools. Sounds great!

And to kick it all off, you can login via Twitter and generate your own Twitter infographic. Here’s mine. It seems that you really are what you tweet!

When to Tweet

Some time ago I started using StumbleUpon to shorten the links in my Twitter stream. It means that not only am I able to share links with my network – but I am able to tap into the already existing StumbleUpon network to reach audiences who are already interested in the topics which I share.

And while su.pr provides some basic analytics around the time for tweeting, how can we find more information about the “best” time to tweet? Dan Zarella has done a great deal of research into the world of social networks and the folks from KissMetrics have turned this data into an infographic. What does it confirm? For me it’s very similar to direct email – Wednesdays around midday are gold – it’s hump hour on hump day and we need a pleasant and relevant distraction. Make sure your most important tweets count.


Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

This week is a grab bag of great posts from across the web. Consider it a lucky dip of quality social media goodness.

  1. Jeff Livingston explains Why the A-List Conversation Hurts Us in a guest post over on Danny Brown’s blog
  2. Amber Naslund laments that social media isn’t necessarily “personal” and seeks to redress the balance by sharing What I Wish More People Knew About Me
  3. Tony Zambito kicked off a series on buyer personas. There’s some great insight here in part 1 – The Future of Buyer Personas is Social
  4. Michael Brenner steps out from behind the blog to reveal his own personal and professional trajectory – in 5 Questions on Social Media with Michael Brenner
  5. Mandi Bateson asks do agencies need to tweet to prove they “get” social media?

How Does Carbon Pricing Work?

With the recent announcement of a carbon price in Australia, there are plenty of questions around what this will mean for business and for citizens. The Australian Government have established the CleanEnergyFuture website to proactively answer some of the more frequently asked questions.

Interestingly, they are using the CommonCraft model to simply explain a very complex and comprehensive transformation of the Australian taxation system. It’s a shame it’s not a little easier to share the content – there’s some great information available.

And here is a version on the same topic from GetUp. Which do you prefer and why?

Attend the Web 3.0 Conference

WEB 3.0The Web 3.0 and Future of Social Media conference – to be held at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel in Sydney, August 15-17, 2011 is shaping up as one of the must-attend events of the second half of the year.

It is bringing together worldwide leaders in digital PR and communication and focusing on the shifting role of public relations.

Key themes include:

  • Key perspectives of web 3.0 and the semantic web
  • Anticipating web 3.0’s impact on communication
  • Investigating social media’s new pathways – why it’s time to go beyond 2.0 tools
  • Determining how communities are evolving and will be shaped under the new information environment – how the semantic web will provide structure and value to social networks
  • The shift to ‘PR3.0’ – assessing the requirements for progressive PR strategy
  • The social way – Putting the ‘public’ back into public relations

I am particularly interested to hear from Peter Shankman and Peter Witts from Cisco – as well as Ian Lyons and Matthew Gain who always get me thinking. And of course, I will be sharing my thoughts on The Social Way – why we need to put the “public back into public relations” – and how you do it.

Hope to see you there! Oh – and if you tell them I sent you, you’ll get the early bird rate! Check out the full conference Brochure here.

Ditch Your Fans and Find Your Lovers

UPDATED: Almost any article about social media that you read will focus on “likes”, “fans” and “friends”. At first glance, “social” media appears to have equated positive relationship terminology with relationship.

But when you look at the motivation behind “liking” a brand on Facebook – it’s decidedly transactional. There is a focus on discount and promotion, exclusive content and so on. Now, while a strategy addressing these desires will build your “fan base”, I’m increasingly sceptical that it will build you anything more than a glorified mailing list. In fact, researcher Dan Zarella has shown "The amount of 'conversation' that happens on your Facebook posts has nothing to do with the number of people who will see it" – suggesting Facebook Conversations Don't Achieve The Marketing Boost You Desire.

For those brands that want a little more from the investment they are making in social media, you need to dig a little deeper.  You need to look for those whose pupils dilate at the mention of your name.

It’s time to ditch your fans and find your lovers.

This is no easy task. You need to listen. Monitor. Pay attention. Dig. Analyse. Engage. Converse. Respond. And measure. You need to rinse and repeat. What I call continuous digital strategy.

But thanks to Sean Howard, you can now follow a step-by-step guide to using social media monitoring to find the people who already love your brand. The approach uses live data to help you truly understand who your real brand advocates are – and as is almost always the case (as is shown in the Nikon case study) – your most powerful advocates are rarely those with high klout scores or large follower bases. They are the people who consistently generate content and comment around your brand properties and digital assets.

I know this will make you cry – we all love the large numbers and the occasional mention from a social media superstar. But if you want to build lasting social media value for your digital properties, it’s time to ditch your addiction to “fans” – because when it comes to social media, it’s all about the love. Baby.