Picking Up What You're Putting Down

I admit to loving the cliche I'm picking up what you're putting down. I think it’s hilarious – don’t judge me. But I heard it the other day and I wondered how we can apply a statement like this to things like writing. Writing a blog is all about catching someone’s attention and getting them to come back over and over again. What makes someone “pick up” what you’re “putting down”?

  1. Make it shiny. What makes you lean down and pick up a coin from the ground? The answer to that question is simple – because it’s metal and the light catches your eye. Natural curiosity has you stopping to study the item to see what it is. 1. For blogs you have to create the shiny effect by grabbing their attention right away. Many readers are “skimmers” so they’ll read the beginning and the end, so if those aren’t interesting, your readers are going to move on. You have to tell a story, or a joke, and create a moment that they will want to stick around for. Now, you’ve caught their eye, just like a shiny coin waiting on the sidewalk.
  2. Add some value. How many times has a penny grabbed your attention and you’ve walked right on by? Why? Because it’s a penny and many of us can’t see the value of a single penny. (Don’t try to tally up the number of times you have done this, it will only depress you – seriously.) If that penny magically becomes a dime, I know you’re going to pick it up and put it in your pocket. 1. You have to tell people how the heck they are supposed to take what you’re writing and make it work for them. It is one thing to say “hey this worked for me” but another to really show them. If you don’t want to give away your own secrets, that’s okay, but you need to show them how another company did something similar. This is so your readers will be inspired to do something about the idea you’re sharing.
  3. Save, save, save. That dime will end up in a change jar or hanging out in your purse with your lip gloss, until the day comes that you’ve had enough and you head down to turn that coin into cash and go shopping.
  4. It’s one thing to make your readers pick up the coin and it’s another to make them save it. When you’re writing you have to give them a reason to carry around the information. It’s not as simple as “great content” – it’s about showing readers how your post is going to affect their business or blog down the road. What happens in six months? What happens in twelve? Give them an idea so that they will put your post in their pocket and take it with them.

The next time you write a blog, plan a conference call, or start new campaigns think about how your attention is grabbed when you see that coin on the street. What makes you think it’s valuable and worth putting in your pocket? Ask yourself this – are your readers or atendees picking up what you’re putting down?

blog comments powered by Disqus
AccuConference | How to Speak With Less Emotion

How to Speak With Less Emotion

It’s true that delivering a powerful, moving, and emotional speech can sometimes be a make it or break it point. Imagine a coach trying to motivate his team, the boss trying to encourage employees, or a teacher trying to push their students to make it through the end of the year. Emotional speech can be a powerful tool to motivate and encourage those around you – but what happens when the line is crossed and you are suddenly speaking offensively and with a lot of anger in your voice?

I’ll tell you what happens – people check out of the conversation. You immediately become “the crazy person” who can’t control their emotions or can’t listen to a differing opinion without raising your voice and shaking your fist around. Perhaps to you, what you are feeling is just passion for your opinion, but there is a fine line between “speaking passionately” and “letting emotions drive the conversation”. There are a limited number of times when you really want to let emotions drive you in a speech and most of the times, it’s best to buckle them up into the back seat and let reason and logic rule the way.

How we identify these emotional situations and how we are reacting to them are important testaments to our character. When should we leave emotion at the door and take a “just-the-facts-ma’am” approach?

In Debate or Arguments

Engaging in a civil debate with another person means that you are agreeing to keep emotions out of it. I’m not talking about the kind of emotional response that is going to make you be passionate about your beliefs; I’m talking about the emotional response that will be triggered in a response to your opponent that includes a lot of f-bombs or punches being thrown. Those kinds of emotional responses have no place in debates and arguments.

At the Workplace

It’s best in meetings to present information in a calm and succinct way. If you have the facts to back up your position, then be ready to go with numbers and cold hard information to defend your position. It’s not always that easy, I know, but the honest truth is that the more you let yourself get angry, or upset, the more you’re just going to get worked up and getting worked up doesn't leave people with the idea that you know what you’re talking about.

When you feel your emotions rising to the boiling point, take a deep breath and count to ten before you respond, or you can ask to be excused or resume once you’ve had a moment to get your thoughts together.

While passion drives our ambitions, I think that once our emotions get out of hand, it’s time to reel a few things into perspective. Are you the person that people avoid at meetings? Is your line always forcibly muted on conference calls? Maybe you should consider a little less emotion the next time you open your mouth to speak.

What do you think? Is there a difference between passion and emotion? Do you think the louder a voice rises, the more someone is right or wrong? When do emotions get in the way of your message?

blog comments powered by Disqus