10/02/2012 04:03 pm ET Updated Dec 02, 2012

How to Play the Social A-Game Online and in Real Life

With the integration of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social networks into the landscape of our daily lives, the concept of having a "social life" has shifted. We now live in a time where you can meet, greet and exchange thoughts in seconds with people around the world... from the comfort of our own laptops and smart phones.

The difference between in person and online social interactions is that digital communications cannot be erased, deleted or changed. They are permanent and this why we must operate from our highest level at all times.

While these online social exchanges have the potential to turn into lifetime friendships, business contacts and partnerships, for those who don't know how to strategically play the "Social A-Game" it is possible to risk our reputation, respect and livelihood in a flash. We are truly living a time of social change, where we must be mindful of our intentions at all times or we risk making mistakes that could cost us more than they ever would have before these robust platforms were created.

The definition of a game is: a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength or luck. Whether online or off, there are a few key rules that all social interactions must follow.

Mastering the rules and skills to play with our A-Game is essential to achieving our desired lifestyle and ultimate happiness.

The first rule requires the basic skill of taking turns when speaking. Listening carries far more weight than speaking when it comes to effective communication on social media or face-to-face connection, however this is a skill that many are lacking. If you want to bring your A-Game online or in person, developing active listening skills is critical.

Bringing your A-Game is about playing at your peak level. It is also about being goal-oriented.

Many people make the mistake of portraying a different or somehow "better" self online than they do off. This causes a conflict when presented with in-person situations as the true self has a way of coming out and exposing the very inadequacies that were being hidden in the first place. Creating an online alter-ego can result in a significant loss of credibility and irreversible damage to reputation when online and offline worlds collide.

To bring your A-Game, the best practice is to come from a place of respect, honesty and integrity.

People who are playing with their A-Game are not always right, but they are always looking to learn and grow. They are not afraid to try new things or apologize for mistakes. They are always respectful of your time, goals, values and relationships while being mindful of their own.

Bringing the A-Game is about gratitude, sharing, giving without expectation and being the best you can be. If you are operating at your highest level, you are a leader who encourages others to lead as well. You are generous, kind and genuine while having boundaries that allow you to remain private. You share your experiences so that others can learn from your mistakes, but you never believe for a moment that you are better than anyone else or that you are entitled to anything other than the happiness and love that you give to others.

When you are playing your A-Game on social media or in person, you are making the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same.

The beauty of the Social A-Game is that anyone can play, anyone can win and the rewards are worth more than any amount of money can ever deliver. As with everything in life, it all boils down to the choices we make. Do you choose to bring your highest level of your self to every social interaction you have, online and off? Are you bringing your A-Game?