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All posts in the Communication category

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731: Why We Don’t Trust You

“Building trust” while marketing your important work need not be a mystery. Here’s why we don’t trust you:

Because we can tell that you’re reading a script. Whether it’s on a sales call or a video for Facebook, we can hear it in your voice. We can see your eyes dancing along the autocue. We know that thoughts aren’t with us in this moment, so we wonder why ours should be with you.

Because we’ve seen this all before. We see your $997 online course and boilerplate ad script. We judge you by the leaders you look up to, that teach you to charm the dollars away from those who need them more.

Because you were afraid to be real with us. We can tell when someone’s being brave. When someone is doing important work for important reasons, something we can get behind. When you pick out gifts just for us, and when you regift last-minute.

Exactly who are you doing all of this for?

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728: Overvaluing Authenticity

Do you keep hearing about how important authenticity is?

In the brand-building circles, authenticity all the rage.

“Just be yourself.”

If you’re doing work that matters, there’s more to this:

If you’re inconsistent, authenticity is likely going to cause frustration for those you serve. Unless the value they’ve bought into is the novelty of frenetic availability, there’s likely to be a desire for a consistently met expectation. You tune into certain channels more than others because you know what you’re going to get, when you’re going to get it.

If you’re struggling today, authenticity is likely going to dampen the experience for those you serve. Unless they bought into a particular “reality TV” storyline from you, where the drama is part of the product, there’s likely to be a desire for you to focus on their problems rather than your own. You trust professionals who dress properly for their work because they focused on fitting into your environment, not expressing themselves in jarring new ways.

If you communicate from strength, authenticity is going to bulldoze through your audience if they communicate from warmth. All your talk about goals and market domination will alienate those who would prefer to talk about feelings and visions of a better world. Unless they’re endeared by your counter-cultural approach to their space, you’ll be better suited to making your communication style about them, rather than about yourself.

Authenticity is important, such as in a trusting personal relationship where you go to heal, grow and nurture. But in the marketplace, authenticity’s praise often casts a shadow over consistency, sensitivity and empathy.

You’re there for them, not for you.

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727: Knock Knock

Remember when the answer was, “Who’s there?” instead of, “Go away”?

We’re all experiencing inbox fatigue. It doesn’t have to be this way:

We over-subscribe and under-read because we’re afraid of missing out, or forgot to unsubscribe from the things we don’t actually read anymore. And so, we miss out on the important things.

We over-share and under-connect because people over-subscribe and under-read. There’s less room for quiet, thoughtful connection by email than their used to be. They’re hard to hear over the noise.

We can choose to listen though. There are a few senders that I make time to read from because they chose quiet, thoughtful connection over trying to be the squeaky wheel. We don’t need megaphones to speak with those who care about us.

So what’s the solution to the noise? Care more.

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724: Masters Leave the Dojo

Are you the best at what you do?

Ever notice how it’s usually not the best who help people the most?

I’m a huge advocate of having mastery over your craft. Without this, you can’t create the amount of transformation for those you wish to serve as is possible for you or them.

But it’s not mastery for mastery’s sake. It’s mastery because of the level of result you can produce for someone in the marketplace or in your chosen cause.

That’s only one half of the battle.

I’m also an advocate of being there for those who need you. If I know know about you or you’re never there for me when I need you, you’re what use is your mastery?

Even if you’ve not mastered your craft, but you’re there when your audience needs you, equipped with your resolve to figure out how to produce the results they need… isn’t that more valuable than mere mastery?

Mastery is half of the battle. Being there when it counts is the other half.

Both are just as important as each other.

Being ‘the best’ is a noble pursuit that we should all strive for. But never doubt the significance of simply ‘being there’.

As skilled as you may be, you can’t protect anyone if you never leave the dojo.

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721: The Skill of Getting Over the Hump

What is the hump?

It’s when you know you’re ready to buy something, but you teeter on the edge of action. More testimonials, more documentation, more conversations. Getting over the hump is a skill – the bravery to say “Yes” when “Yes” is probably the best thing for you.

It’s when you know they’re ready to buy something, but you teeter on the edge of closing. More calls, more follow-up, more ‘value’. Helping others over the hump is a skill – the selfless act of helping people get to “Yes” when “Yes” is probably the best thing for them.

It’s when you’re ready to start the new project, the book, the business idea, the product… but teeter on the edge of getting started. More ‘research’, more ‘thinking about it’, more procrastination. Getting over the hump is a skill – the important act of taking imperfect action in the face of huge uncertainty and self-doubt.

We are all faced with humps, all of the time. What will you do when the next one hits?

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718: Client in Your Pocket

Not a real client, of course.

But it’s worth keeping a note describing your client in your pocket. Your full, intimate understanding of them and their world should always be close by. In your pocket.

Everything you’ve identified about your people, from where they live to what they are interested in on social media, makes up your audience.

Everybody else is merely a distraction. They can’t afford the opportunity cost of your time or attention. And you can’t afford to give it to them.

The more you serve only these people – the ones in your pocket – the more your organization succeeds.

So keep them in your pocket. Keep it written down, close at hand, and think about them often. Dedicate your work to them. Write them letters of advocacy and appreciation. Think about ways you can help them live their best life. Go where they go. Be interested in what they’re interested in. Talk their language. Be in their world.

Your marketing isn’t about you, it’s about them now. Same for every piece of communication, design, every ad and every email. Make yourself meaningful in your Person’s world and meet them where they are, on their level.

They need you.