How to Create REAL Relationships in an Overly-Connected Technological World

Do technology and social media improve our relationships? How can we use technology to make REAL connections?

Today, Felicia Slattery will be sharing with us on how to create REAL relationships through the help of modern technology.

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Social Media and Connections

Shelley: Welcome to Author Audience, where I’m on a mission to help you reach more people with your message. It’s time to let your light shine. Today I’m rolling out the red carpet and inviting you to join me for this expert interview with Felicia Slattery. Hi, Felicia!

Felicia: Hi Shelley, it’s so good to see you!

Shelley: Felicia is one of my favorite people, and I’m going to be sharing her official bio. But my Shelley Hitz bio is that I’ve coached with her, and did speaking coaching with her. It’s an amazing and best investment, but she’s also the real deal. You can learn more about her at

She has a great heart and I totally love her. I’m so excited to have you on the podcast, Felicia.

Felicia: Oh, that’s so nice. That’s the best bio. You don’t need to read all the other junk, that’s fine.

Shelley: I always say that success leaves clues. And that’s why at times I like to introduce you to other authors and experts who have amazing success. They are also willing to share their tips and strategies with you.

That’s why I have Felicia on today. This is just a brief bio of her.

“She is a number one bestselling author, several times, and she’s working on a book called “Real Relationship Challenge”. It sounds amazing; we’ll be talking a little bit more about that.

She’s the creator of the signature speech system, and the signature speech and webinar wizard. I’ve used both of those and I recommend the wizard. It’s so helpful for your first speech or webinar. She speaks all around the world, and she’s just passionate to help.

So, for this week’s center stage spotlight training, I’m going to have Felicia share about how to create real relationships in an over-connected, technological world.

Yes, we are on our phones all the time.

I was just at an event with my chiropractor and he was talking about the stress it puts on your neck – but it also puts stress on our relationships.

So, talk to us a little bit about how this topic even came up for you, or how you became interested in it.

The Beginning

Felicia: I’ve been on social media since I started my business in 2006. It looked way different than it does today. At the time I was teaching college, had two babies, one and three years old, and I wanted to be home with them.

So, I had to create a business where I could be home with them, but still be able to do business. At the time I was a technophobe. I could turn on the computer, I could send an email, I knew how to Google, but I was really…

Shelley: On this podcast, you’re talking to creatives, and creatives understand. A lot of creatives are the same way.

Felicia: Yes. So, I had to figure out, “Alright, how am I going to make this work using the skills that I have?”

I had a master’s degree in communication and I was teaching communication courses and public speaking courses. So I know how to talk to people and how to relate to people.

So, when I found social media, I was like, “Yeah! I can talk to people!”

Shelley: “This is my place.”

Felicia: Yeah, right? I started it, honestly, as a way just for myself to be in touch with other human beings. Over the years the people that I’ve built relationships with, have all helped me grow my whole business. These are people I’ve built relationships with virtually as well as in person, and then continue those relationships virtually.

In fact, you and I met virtually before we met in person. Then we met in person and we did some work together. I’m on your podcast now, I was on another version of another podcast, and we’ve just done some things together. We’ve promoted each other’s work.

How did that all start?

It started with that relationship on social media.  A lot of folks have seen me doing this over the years and the most recent time was about a year ago. I was trying to buy this very house that I’m standing in.

Shelley: Oh, I remember!

Felicia: Yes!

So, we had been saving money and we had moved from Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee, where we are now. We didn’t know the area so we lived in the apartment for a year, and the lease was coming due.

We found this house, and we loved it. Obviously, we had been saving money and everything was good. Then the mortgage guy came back and said, “You need $26,000 more than you already knew about.”

Shelley: Yikes!

Felicia: “And by the way, you need to have it in five days, or no house for you.” I was like, “What?!”

Shelley: Oh my goodness, stress!

Felicia: So, it was crazy. Of course, I prayed a lot and was just asking God for guidance. “Is this really the right house?” I kept feeling in my heart that this was our house.

So I said, “Alright, I’m going to do whatever it takes”. I put out a plea on social media. I was very honest, very open, and very vulnerable. I said, “This is what’s happening.”

I wrote the story. I didn’t do a video, I just wrote the words. Then I made an offer. I said, “If you need help with getting on more stages, I can help with that. If you need help with writing, any kind of presentation, I can help with that.”

I said three or four different things that were very specific kinds of things that I knew, when somebody got in touch with me, they could see that and go, “Oh! I need exactly that”. I was like, “OK. This is the week I’m doing deals”.

That post was shared dozens of times. It was shared dozens of times, and it happened because of the relationships I had built on social media. People say, “Oh my gosh, Felicia needs help. I want to help her,  I like her.” And it doesn’t cost anything to share a message.

I made that $26,000 in five days, and I’m standing in my house. Hallelujah!

Shelley: I know! I remember we were praying and praying. It was answered prayers. Also, you invested in planting a lot of seeds and invested in a lot of relationships. Then, you saw the fruit from that, the harvest.

Felicia: Exactly. So, yes prayer, and action. You can pray and pray but you got to do something and they have to meet in the middle. That’s why I fold my hands like this; you got to pray, you got to do something, and you meet in the middle. Amen!

Shelley: I love that!

Felicia: So that was kind of where the idea came from. People were like, “How in the heck did you do that?”

In teaching people, I’m just myself. I build relationships wherever I am, whether it’s face to face, on stage, or online. Communication is nothing if it’s not about relationships.

So I’m excited about the direction and I’m excited about the book. The more I write about it, talk to people about it, think about it, and get feedback on it, it’s all just been amazing.

Building Relationships on Social Media

Shelley: When we’re on social media, what is the difference between building a relationship and simply talking at people? What does that look like? Or how do we get there on social media?

Felicia: That’s a really good question because we all have our phones with us.

Shelley: Yeah, glued to us.

Felicia: It’s like arm’s length almost all the time. Since these suckers came out, I think the quality of our relationships actually diminished the quality of our relationships because it’s faster and too easy. But it’s supposed to be better because we can be in touch with more people faster and easier.

What happens is instead of opening a message with, “Dear so and so”, people just “blah” at you. They say, “Hey I need blah, blah blah”.  And that “Dear” language is so old fashioned. If I’m calling you “Dear Shelley”, that’s a sweet, nice thing.

So, even with our closest relationships, we sometimes forget the nice parts of being in a relationship because it’s so fast and so easy.

So, yes, social media is great, but it also provides some challenges.

It’s faceless, even though most people have their face next to their little avatar. Most times people aren’t even looking at that. Most of the time, they’re looking at the words side of things, or the picture, meme, video, or whatever it is they posted.

They are forgetting there is not just one human being on the other end, but however many human beings that person is connected to, and you’re connected to.

All those people are seeing that, 24 hours a day, anytime. We see story after story of people who think something is private and it’s not.

Just this week there was news out of Harvard University that they rescinded ten student’s admissions because of social media.

Shelley: I saw your post on that. That was crazy.

Felicia: Shocking! These students were posting in a private chat, not even out in the world. They thought it was private and they thought they were being funny.

But it was stuff that bordered on hate crimes and just horrible things they were sharing. Harvard said, “Yeah, we don’t want that and you all are out.” Talk about ruining your life!

Shelley: It’s hard to get into there. It’s not easy.

Felicia: I’m trying to remember the exact statistics. I want to say it was in the tens of thousands of applications and they only took three or four thousand students. Those seats are very coveted.

You graduate from Harvard and you’re kind of setting yourself up for a pretty successful life. You get into Harvard and start setting yourself up, and then you ruin it by like, “Oh my gosh!”

Shelley: I know. It’s crazy!

So, for authors who are trying to build relationships with their target audience, I usually talk to them about engaging and asking questions. I also started posting a question on my personal profile once a week.

It’s interesting because those posts get a lot of engagement because people like being asked their opinion or things like that.

So, what other things have you seen to work on social media where a lot of times it feels like a one-way relationship? How do you get that person to respond?

Be Authentic. Be You!

Felicia: This is a fantastic tip for authors in particular. Don’t think of your personal Facebook profile as for only your family and friends.

Yes, your family and friends can be there. But think of your personal profile as an extension of you as an author. Sometimes in business, we’ll call it your “persona” as an author. When I think of persona I just mean an extension of who I really am.

So many people meet me after seeing me online and they’re like, “Oh my gosh! You’re just the same in real life!” And I’m like, “How else can I be?”

I’m sure you get just the same. People say, “You’re exactly the same as your online persona.” Well, what else would you be, right?

There are a lot of people trying to fake something; the fake- it-till-you-make-it weirdness.

Don’t try to fake it, just be who you are. Think of your Facebook personal profile as something for your readers to connect with you. These are the people who are interested in what you have to share and whether you’re fiction or non-fiction it doesn’t matter.

Readers love to see a glimpse of who the author is. So, don’t be afraid to share yourself and open your posts up to the public.

Be careful about what you post of course. Don’t post your address up there when you’re going on a two-week vacation. It’s like saying, “Hey, somebody come and rob me!” Not that.

Take your pictures and post them when you get home or when you’re on the plane on the way home, those kinds of things.

Think of your profile as an extension of who you are as an author. Shelley, you just said,

“On my personal profile I’m asking a question and I’m getting a lot of engagement.”

Yeah, because that’s where people are used to engaging; on our personal profiles. So, just do it there.

Shelley: You know what? I just remembered I actually posted on my page as well, and those are the posts that normally get a response as well.

I get a lot more response on my personal profile because of the algorithms, but I also put it on my page. I put the same question, and it does elicit a response.

Since we’re thinking about REAL relationships, you have an acronym and a way to engage, right? Can you share that with us?

R.E.A.L Relationships

Felicia: Yes! There are two acronyms for REAL. I have to look at them because I’m still writing the book. I don’t have them fully memorized or in exactly the right order, and I get the two confused.

The reason why there are two is that there are things that you DO when you’re in a REAL relationship. And then there’s a way that you FEEL when you’re in a REAL relationship.

So, what you do is you

Respect people.

Engage with them.

When you ask a question, you’re engaging with them. I know you; we connect all the time on social media. You don’t just let people answer and don’t respond. You’re responding back to them. Even if you’re just putting a smiley face because they said, “This is great.”

Shelley: Or clicking the like button.

Felicia: Yeah, exactly.

Shelley: On my live videos, sometimes I’ve had a lot of comments. I also had people private message me or tell me personally, “Shelley, it means so much to me that you respond, even if it’s just a like or comment. You respond to all of our comments, and it tells us that you care, you’re watching, and you’re interested.”

So even if you just like it, respond, do something.

Felicia: I love what Facebook has done with the different kinds of emotions that you can put. The LIKE is the default. But if somebody says something really sweet that makes you think, “Aww, that’s so nice. I love that,” then you can click the love button!

It means you thought about what your response was going to be to their answer, you know? So yes, you’re respecting and you’re engaging them.

Affirm is the A.

This means that you’re not just on social media to blast your message. Sometimes the better you get at this, the less you’ll have to consciously be thinking about, “Oh, I need to go look for somebody who is sharing good news. Their kid did something great, or they just got a new puppy. They’re celebrating something in their business.”

Celebrate with people. That’s affirming to them.

Even when people share bad news like somebody passed away, or whatever the case may be. You can say, “I’m so sorry for your loss”. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

It’s just affirming their life experience and something they felt that they wanted to share with their friends, followers, fans, and connections. You are one of those people – affirm that.

The last one is Laugh.

This REAL is how we are in a REAL relationship. It’s how we are in person with people.

I do this from the stage. I Respect my audience members. I Engage them. I Affirm them and Laugh with them.

We laugh with people that we’re in a relationship with so why wouldn’t we laugh with people we meet online? Why wouldn’t we laugh with readers or with our audience members?

Of course, we will.

So, post some funny things, or something fun once in a while. Just laugh at something that they’ve put up. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

I know Shelley, one of the things I’ve seen you do is share some of your outtakes from your videos where you’ve flubbed or made a mistake. Those are fun, cute and funny.

Shelley: Bloopers!

Felicia: A Blooper Reel, exactly!

So that’s the first REAL; Respect, Engage, Affirm, Laugh.

We do those things so that then we can FEEL what it feels to be in a real relationship.

We feel Recognized when someone Respects us, Engages, Affirms, and Laughs with us. We feel like, “Wow, you see me, you know me, and you get me.”

We feel Energized when we’re with people we like, enjoy, and care about. We feel Energized.

There are people and I think I remember you doing this at one-point Shelley, who says, “I’m going to take the Facebook app off my phone.” Do you still have it off your phone, or did you put it back on?

Shelley: I do. I have certain people on Facebook that I see first. You’re one of those actually.

Felicia: You’re one of my see firsts too!

Shelley:  I can still engage with you when I get on there. But I’m not on there as often as I used to be.

That’s a tip. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time scrolling, but have certain people you really want to build relationships with or have relationships with, change your notifications on Facebook to See First.

I did. I took the app off my phone.

Felicia: Some people have done that, and then they missed that Energy that they got and put it back. I can’t imagine a day without checking in with my friends, especially just the See First people.

In fact, there will be a couple of days that will go by where I’m not boosting anything at all about myself.  I’m just checking in and looking at your quote of the day, and at pictures of some other friend’s grandkids. I just check in on people that I care about.

This energizes me and makes me feel good. I say, “Everybody’s ok. That’s good.”

It also makes you feel Accepted when someone Respects, Engage, Affirms, and Laughs with you.

In our world, especially as authors, it’s easy to feel alone. We’re always behind the computer a lot for our work, by ourselves.  And even though there are a lot of authors and books in the world, not everybody you meet is an author.

We don’t just run into authors randomly in our regular lives. So being in a place where there are other folks who understand what we’re going through, you can have a conversation with other people who are doing the same kind of thing.

You can do it in a group like different Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, or Twitter chats where they hashtag stuff. This way you feel accepted, like, “Oh, these people like me, and they get me. This is really fun.”

What that all leads to, ultimately, is feeling Loved.

Do you want to feel Loved? Here’s how. Step one, make a lot of actual friends on social media. Step two, wait for your birthday.

Shelley: I know!

Felicia: It is like, “Oh my gosh! There’s this avalanche of people saying super nice things. I’ve never felt more loved in my life!”

So those are my acronyms.

Shelley: It is a domino effect. When you do those things and build the relationships, then that’s the result.

I heard a family member say to me before that she went to church and nobody talked to her. She felt really left out, and all of this, and I totally get that. I totally understand that feeling of rejection.

There was a time when God told me, “Shelley, I want you to reach out. I want you to take that risk and engage. I want you to pray and ask for the right relationships”.

So, if you’re struggling right now, and you’re feeling alone; if you’re feeling left out, or like you don’t belong, maybe there is something you can do to reach out.

Respect, Engage, Affirm, and Laugh. Join a group, or do something. The result is to be Recognized, Energized, Accepted, and Loved.

While I don’t have the Facebook app on my phone, I have the Facebook Groups app. That’s where I’m spending more of my time. I have two groups that I invest in for mentoring and coaching. One is a fitness group, and one is a business group. So, I still have that, and I have my own community, Author Audience Academy.

I know we’re running out of time but you have so much good information. Kindly tell us quickly; what are the top relationship killers on social media that might mess us up, especially us authors?

Social Media Relationship Killers

Felicia: There are a few things that people see as totally cringe worthy and they don’t love it. I’ll just go through very quickly.

One of them is when people are ranting about whatever they see as wrong in the world, whether it’s political, in their neighborhood, or in their school. Every post is a rant. Nobody likes that kind of negativity all the time. So don’t do that.

Shelley: I tend to unfollow people like that.

Felicia: Right, well a lot of us do – unfollow or unfriend!

Shelley: It’s like that knee jerk reaction. If you’re having that knee jerk reaction and are emotional, think twice.

Felicia: Yes, exactly. Think twice. Really read it.

One way to see if you’re doing any of these things is to do a personal social media audit, as I call it. Just go to your own page where you’re only reading your stuff. Don’t go to the one where you land on when you log in and see all your friends.

Go to your profile as your readers see it. That’s how people are going to connect with you initially. They are going to go to your page, and read your stuff. If it reads and it’s got a bunch of these social media messes in there, don’t do that. Change them, delete them, or whatever.

Another one is, when people share those “I don’t usually do this” or “let’s see how many people read this” or “unfriend me now if…” kind of stuff. Really?

Shelley: Yes! Those posts that say “I’m sure I’m going to get some people to unfriend because of this”. It feels a bit manipulative.

Felicia: It is! Manipulate isn’t in REAL, there’s no M. Sometimes it’s like, “Well, alright, what is it exactly that you’re not usually doing?” A lot of times, it’s like a copy and pasted thing.

Shelley: It’s like those old chain emails that would get forwarded. Now they’re happening on social media.

Felicia: Exactly! People cringe over those, so don’t do it.

The next one that people just do not like is immediately when you connect with them, your next message is “buy my stuff!” Sometimes people will do this. They’ll go through their friends list and send random messages, or whatever.

This happens on LinkedIn way more than it happens on Facebook, right? With an author it will be, “Hey, I wrote this book. Go read my book! Here’s my link!”

For most people, it’s like, “How do you even know if I want to buy your stuff or read your book? Is it just because I have a face?”

It’s very tasteless. Think about this. Would you go up to somebody that you met at a networking meeting for business, or at somebody else’s wedding and say “Hey, I got a book, do you want to buy it? Here’s how to buy the book. I got one in my pocket. Do you want to buy it now?” No!

Not when you’re just saying “Hello, how are you?” And not when you’re just getting to know each other.

You wouldn’t do that in person, so why would you do that online? It doesn’t make sense. It’s cringe worthy.

I actually immediately unfriend and block those kinds of people. They’re not online for the things that I’m online for, and I’m online to actually make connections with people and get to know people.

I actually commented about that on LinkedIn. I got hundreds of comments, likes, or whatever.

Shelley: Yeah, because it happens a lot on LinkedIn.

Felicia: It does! And some people are like, “That’s a little harsh.”

Shelley: Another thing I don’t like too is that they’ll add me to their email list without my permission. When you’re connected, you get access to people’s contact information, and I’m unsubscribing almost every day from email lists. That’s spam.

I could report them, and I don’t. But it’s like, “Please stop! Don’t add people to your email list. Don’t spam them with things if you don’t even know each other yet!”

Felicia: Exactly. How would you think they would even want your stuff?

Just go with normal opt-in kind of things. People see your information, your interactions and they see you talk about your book and content. That is something that you should absolutely be doing online.

Just do it in public, and then every once in a while, offer something. You can say, “Hey, by the way, here’s a link to my book.” Or “If you’re interested, I got a blog over here. Go read my blog.”

Not every post is like that, but you should do it. You want to make sure you have a nice balance between, “Hey, everybody I got something if you’re interested,” and not that.

Shelley: Yes. I know we could go on forever, but tell us a little bit about your book. Tell us when it is coming out, how we can find out more, or how people can find out more about you.

Felicia’s New Book

Felicia: I’m talking to authors, so you all know. I’m at about 20,000 words right now, and my goal is to get between 50,000 and 60,000 words for this book. So, I’m still in the writing stages as we are recording this today.

I have a publisher that has published for me in the past, so they’re in my back pocket. But I have a really big publisher that I want to talk to and have been praying for a connection and opportunity for that to happen. So, I’ll be reaching out to them.

I don’t even have a publication date yet. My goal is to have the book written by the end of this month. I don’t know how realistic that is, but I can write anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 words a day, so we’ll see!

Shelley: Yes! I love it. I love that because we’re authors, and we know, sometimes there are different goals you have for different books. For this particular book, it sounds like you really want to potentially have a bigger, traditionally published publisher. It may take longer – it usually does, but how exciting!

Felicia: If I finish before the end of June and they say, “Yes we’ll pick it up,” we may not be launching until next April. Who knows!

Shelley: What free information or content that you have right now that you think my listeners might be interested in? Or how can they learn more about you?

Felicia: I talk about building relationships from the stage for whatever business you have. You can go to There is free information about how you can connect and create relationships with your readers from the stage. That is one place you can go.

Just be friends with me. You can connect with me, follow me, or whatever on whichever social media is your favorite. I’m now even on Instagram way more than I used to be. So, whatever your favorite platform is, I’m @FeliciaSlattery everywhere, so connect!

Shelley: Yes, and you can also go to

Thank you so much for sharing with us. I definitely recommend connecting with Felicia. Even if you don’t do a ton of speaking, that is something that I totally recommend for all authors.

It’s probably the number one way you’re going to sell books. Once people hear you speak and hear your content, they will want to go to that next step with you. You can also use her content for online videos, your content marketing, webinars, or for selling higher end products.

So, definitely connect with her. She has a lot of great information. Thank you so much for being here today and sharing with us Felicia.

Felicia: Thank you, Shelley, I’m excited to have been here and hope people found some value in what we talked about today.

Shelley: Typically, I’ll end with a take action tip. If there was one take action tip that you could give for this whole concept of relationships and social media, what would be the one thing you would have authors do as a result of listening to this today?

Take Action Tip

Felicia: I have two very related.

Number one, do that social media self-audit. Look at your stuff and make sure that your stuff is reading the way you want people to know you. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is, today is somebody’s birthday. This is someone who you know on social media. Don’t just write “Happy Birthday” and their name. Think about how you know that person.

Think about something that happened in your life with that person; where you met them, what you like or enjoy about them. Maybe you never met in person but you love that they post fun memes. Or maybe you love that they share pictures of their kids and their kids are so cute.

You can write, “This is what I love about you,” or “This is what I remember about us”. You can also post “Do you remember that time when we…” or messages like that. Post a personal message to the people you know to the people whose birthday it is today.

Those are two things.

Shelley: That will totally help you to stand out. How many hundreds of people are going to post “Happy Birthday”? But not many people go that extra step. If you’re comfortable, record a video. That will really help you stand out. Create a little video message to someone on their birthday.

I love that so much. Thank you so much for joining us!

And thank you for all those of you that are listening. I appreciate you. I hope that you got a lot out of this.

I will see you next time.

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