I forgot how much I used to love waking up in Las Vegas at 4 am to write — if I wasn’t already awake.
Back then it wasn’t because I was a party girl. Living in Vegas is like living in any tourist town – occasionally you might do something the city is famous for, but most of the time that’s background noise.
Rather, it’s because, for whatever reason, the energy of the West coast of the US feeds my creativity better than the energy of the East coast.
Or it could be that the East coast just sucks.
Which I don’t actually believe! Just said that to make a point. In truth I love living in Maryland and being so close to DC and all the culture and museums.The creative part is true but it’s worth having to try harder.
Think about it though – even if you prefer the East to the West of the States, first thing you want to hear in the morning isn’t how much some thing sucks.
Which is the point of today’s article, and this week’s theme.
It’s not just what you say that matters – it’s how you say things.This is especially true online when meaning can’t always be inferred from body language, eye contact, tone of voice, or other non-verbal cues.
Yes. My mother was right. Don’t tell her or I’ll never hear the end of it. But still.
This can be in social media, in person, the words on a page someone finds in search, how you speak to your customer, it all matters. None of us will ever be perfect at it, but the magic in this is that even trying is appreciated.
The way you say it has to express value.
There’s a difference between posting something in a Facebook group with the message “Here is my latest blog post” and “Here’s a tip that will help you with that problem we were recently discussing.”
Not to mention that spraying the area with your blog posts is Not a form or participation. It’s still spam if you know the people. But we’ll get to that another day.
The way you say it has to express that you care about me as a customer.
“I did a presentation at TED, here’s the video.” That’s going to be taken as arrogance and only the most die-hard fan – and angriest trolls – will pay you any mind.
“This free video goes over some of the concepts in my book – it might help you decide if you need it or not.” Now that makes me curious because it’s focused on my needs, not yours. When I realize it’s you at a TED Talk, I’ll be that much more impressed.
The way you say it has to express what I get out of the deal.
“I won an award” is not the same statement as “I could not have done this without you.” And the latter leaves the customer to make the implication on their own that third parties verify that they made the right decision.
The way you say it has to be consistent across your company.
You have the most friendly, efficient, customer friendly service department. But your sales people are brusque, short with clients and aggressive? What’s wrong with this picture?
Your company obviously has silos, almost like mini-companies within the company that may even behave as rivals and undermine each other’s progress. Get everyone on the same page, and yes that’s harder than it seems, but there are resources that will help you get the job done.
None of this altered wording will appeal to everyone.
The point is not just the actual words but the idea behind them.
If you’re thinking you intend to
- teach, and
… but you’re saying
- give me your attention,
- pat me on the back,
- see how great I am, or
- I’m so much better than you,
… then the quality and quantity of your customers will be reflected in the response.
You may not be doing this on purpose. But it chips away at your business all the same.
Humility is not weakness, it’s earned confidence. It’s the strength of knowledge that others will toot your horn more loudly that you ever could or would desire.