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Who speaks for you?

Anyone else watching House of Cards? I’m not a big tv watcher, but the writing on this show is really compelling. Disturbing, but compelling.

I won’t give any spoilers for those who aren’t caught up, but in an episode that we watched last weekend Claire invited Tom, the book writer, to join her team  for speech writing.

I’m excited to see speech writers being given recognition on this show. Lots of people don’t really realize what an integral part of the team they are for any public figure. All those speeches are critically important and if you have to give the same message, yet say it a little differently each time, it helps to have a wordsmith on your team helping you get the spin right each time for each audience.

In this particular episode, Tom puts a little something extra into one of her speeches that she takes out. And yet a few scenes later Claire takes that basic idea and the framework that her writer set up for her and ran with it to a huge response. The job of a speech writer is to know your message maybe better than you do yourself, because while all your time is focused on creating the message and making it happen, we the writing staff can spend all our time figuring out how to frame and describe the causes and changes that you feel so powerfully about.

If you are incredibly passionate, but you feel that words fail you when you try to share that passion, talk to a writer. Work as a team.

It’s not about the credit.

I am often asked if I don’t get frustrated writing for other people behind the scenes.

I really don’t.

See, it isn’t about the credit, because the concepts and ideas that I write about aren’t mine.

I am an endlessly curious person and I love learning about new things. A wide variety of new things. I love working with professionals who know things I don’t. A videographer. A chiropractor. A lawyer. A psychic. Through a process of interviews I have access to their professional expertise and their unique perspective on their specialty. Then I get to take the knowledge, pair it with their own speech patterns, and write it out to share with others.

I get to read (as I write) interesting blogs and books and I get paid for it. I get to meet and work with fascinating people and learn things I might not have had time to learn otherwise.

So no, I really don’t need the credit.

Your bio matters.

Are you happy with your business bio?

Most business owners I talk to aren’t, they just don’t know if it’s important enough to fix. It was pretty torturous to write in the first place and no one wants to mess with it again.

Fix it. It is that important.

Why are customers buying from you? We tend to think our talents and strengths are normal and everyone has them. We miss marketing our most unique and valuable abilities because we just don’t see them. In the new world of passive marketing that’s an advantage we can no longer afford to miss.

Are you telling perspective customers who you really are with the bio you’re currently using?

In Your Voice has a unique way to create a remarkable business bio that shows off who you really are. We still use the traditional things, like a copy of your existing bio and your LinkedIn profile. The twist is, we get permission to interview 3 of your best referrers, people who really know you. They provide an invaluable perspective on what makes you the very best at what you do. This gives us the insight to really showcase what is unique about you from an unexpected direction.

The result? Three versions of your bio suitable for speaking engagements, social media, and your website and even unique-to-you phrases you can use during in-person networking events.

You don’t have to write another word.

Ready to start? Drop me an email.


So, you write ghost stories?

I notice when I go out networking many people haven’t actually heard of a ghostwriter.

No, it’s nothing to do with ghost stories.

I write for other people, then fade away, like a ghost.

The two best known examples are celebrity ‘autobiographies’ and speeches.

While I’m sure a few very famous people have really written their own stories, for the most part they are too busy, and writing may not be their thing. So they hire a special person to come in and work with them and through a series of interviews, with them, and perhaps with their families, the ghostwriter is able to portray the story they want to share, in their words. If the celebrity has published articles, those can be incorporated as well.

Politicians and other public figures often do not write every speech they give. They work with very special professionals who can take their own word choices and speech patterns, as well as an understanding of their platform, whatever it may be, and they create a speech very much like the person would have written, if they had the time. The best of the public speakers then take these speeches and adjust them, alter them, personalize them, until they are exactly right. Speech writers are a special segment of ghostwriters.

Take that concept and apply it to the business world. Does the average CEO write their own blog? How about prominent lawyers? I suspect most of them work with a writing professional.

It’s an effective, efficient way to get your thoughts out, while limiting the time you take to do something you don’t like to do, you don’t feel that you do well, or that you just plain don’t want to do.

Should you bite your tongue?

I’m constantly amazed at the things people feel it is acceptable to ‘say’ via email and social media that I don’t think they would ever, ever come out and say to your face. Maybe they would and my friends are just unusually polite and restrained…but I don’t think so. Restrained isn’t the first thing I think when I consider the people dear to me. So it is probably something else. Here are a few techniques you can use when conflict and nasty communications are forced upon you.

Don’t take it personally. Often there are multiple ways to interpret something in writing. Reread the offending piece a few times and see if you can find a way to take it that isn’t offensive. Even if you’re pretty sure they meant it the offensive way.

Consider not responding. What will really happen if you just let this go? Will it really hurt your business? Are there real world consequences? If not, let it pass.

Keep it cool and professional. If you do need to respond, make your responses temperate and professional. Try to choose words that don’t provoke. Don’t escalate the situation; respond as neutrally as possible. If you must, you can say you find the situation unprofessional, against current policy, contrary to normal guidelines. Don’t say they are idiots, ill mannered morons, or liars. Even if you are quite certain they are all of the above. Call your friends and be honest some other time. When you reply, be professional.

Be brief. In conflict less is more. Let them bluster if they must. Make your points count and then withdraw. The longer you engage the more hostility that can come up and the more opportunity they have to drag you down to their level. Answer any salient points they offer, and stop. Don’t respond to anything but facts.

Stay off the phone. If you must engage the conflict, do it in writing. That gives you more space to think about what you’re going to say, and possibly to run it by someone you trust before you respond. If you’re on the phone it’s easy to let your mouth run away with you in the heat of an exchange. Email also gives you a record of the conversation, should you need one.

Just one more word to the wise. When writing a cathartic email, write it in word, in note-pad, anywhere but an actual email . Then you, or someone helpful, can’t accidentally send it before editing. Don’t be a cautionary tale.



Not good for strangers.

As I’ve said before, Facebook is the perfect place to maintain any friendly relationship. Cousins, business friends, kids, everyone is out there.

But its a little more personal than I’d like to be with someone I’ve never met. This week I have gotten no less than 7 friend invitations from people I have never met. Friends of friends. I’m sorry, I know you’ve been told you need to be out here for your business, but it doesn’t work that way.

I read this article this morning, it was interesting, but mostly I liked the subtitle, which is ‘most people don’t do it very well’ and it was referring to networking. It could have been referring to social media as well. There are no short cuts people. Get rich quick on the internet is approximately equal to Lose 20 lbs in 10 days.

Its about reinforcing connections. Its not the right place to make new ones. At least not this week.

Catching up on my reading.

As I read twitter posts and blogs I like I’m always opening links to other blogs and articles to go back and read later.

For some lucky articles, today is later!

I think “Permanent Link to Little Known Ways to Brand on the Cheap: 99 Tips for Poor Web Startups” has some great content. Its slanted towards web companies but anyone with a strong web presence and an interest in search rankings and web 2.0 marketing is likely to find something useful.

This is an excellent list of books about social media marketing and web 2.0.

And there’s the usual interruption.