Category Archives: communication

People who don’t think…

Disney's adaptation of Stephen Slesinger, Inc....

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If you’ve ever read John C. Maxwell‘s book, Thinking for a Change, you may not consider how important thinking can be to your success.

I am a thinker.  When I wake up, I think about what I have to do that day, and how I’m going to get it done.  Sometimes I think about a movie I just watched or an encounter I had.  Sometimes my imagination goes wild with a simple “what if” question.

Even though it’s been a while since I read the book, I remember his ideas about purposefully setting aside time to think, and keeping a notebook or recorder handy for those times you come up with great ideas or solutions just as you wake up or are driving.

How often have you been in a rut, personally or professionally, as you continue to do the same things over and over?  What if you had some daily “think time?” What if you spent time each day thinking about possibilities to expand your horizons, to give to others, to create solutions, to find another box to think outside of?”

Innovation in business, as in any sphere, is largely the result of people who think differently than the rest of the world.  People who take the time to see the picture from another angle, to consider the possibilities, to ask “what if?” are the people who change the world.

Don’t be a follower.  Don’t do it how it’s always been done.  Ask questions.  Dream up answers.  Fill your head with new ideas. Take your business and your life to the next level.  As Winnie the Pooh says, “People who don’t Think probably don’t have Brains; rather, they have grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake.”

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Fake it till you make it

A biography on a very good athlete.
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Sometimes, an important business meeting falls on the same day you have a big fight with your spouse.  Or a big networking event comes the day after you were up half the night studying.  At times, you just don’t wanna.  You’re tired, you’re upset, and you just don’t feel like smiling and schmoozing.

Do it anyway.  With enthusiasm.  Why? Because you can’t let your emotions rule your life.  Yes, there’s something to be said for being yourself, but this isn’t a question of integrity.  This is putting your best self forward in the best interest of you and your business.  So you smile and engage others.  In fact, you focus on what others are doing and saying, and take the focus off yourself.

Do you know what usually happens?  If you let go of that anger, or sadness, or fatigue for just a moment, it temporarily fades.  In fact, after some serious brainstorming or socializing with great people, those problems may not seem as overwhelming as they were before.

Besides that, you still get all the benefits of being part of a big decision at that meeting, or making that contact that will take your business to the next level.  If you had decided to drop out, either physically or mentally, you might have missed it.

Athletes call it “game face.” When they are on the court or the field, they are focusing on the strategy and movement of the game.  When they are involved in the heat of the game, they are just an athlete.  They are not a parent or a car lover or a philanthropist.  They are in the moment, pushing their minds and bodies to excel.

So the next time you have a business event that you are dreading, fake it till you make it.  Put on your game face and make the most of every opportunity.

Spell it Write

Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)

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I suppose I was in a nit-picky mood, but it was one of those days when spelling errors kept jumping out at me.

First, I was researching event planners and came across a site based in India that had a column titled “Tit-Bits.”  I am sure that the writer intended tidbits, “choice morsels,” but the image of “tit bits” is a little disturbing.  After doing some research, I found that “titbits” is an acceptable substitute for tidbits, but also the name of a closed men’s magazine.  I like the company by the same name that provides breast prostheses for cancer patients.

Then, I received an email from someone who said they enjoyed traveling and seeing wildlife like “grisly bears.”  Now, if the bear bites off a piece of your leg, that would be grisly, but the species of brown bear common in the Rocky Mountains is “Grizzly.”  According to Discovery, you should definitely stay away from a mama Grizzly and her cubs.

One of my favorite spelling errors was about a month ago when I was reviewing minutes from a board meeting.  Committees were to review their “rolls and responsibilities.”  I guess that meant someone was bringing doughnuts!

Everyone makes spelling and grammar errors from time to time, and some folks, knowingly or unknowingly, leave these errors on their websites, their brochures, and in their newsletters.  When I get an email from a business with these errors, I rarely read further.  I believe a truly professional business will take the time to communicate professionally.  It’s those emails with poor grammar and spelling that are usually a scam by a non-English speaker.

If your strength is in numbers and business, you may need help with written communications.  That’s where a freelance writer or editor can help you with your collateral and correspondence.  At the very least, if you’re prone to confusing “they’re” and “their” or the spelling of “believe” and “conceive”… have someone look over your work.  You’ll make a better impression to your future clients.

Get referred

Squirting lemon

Image by Kentishman via Flickr

If you network with the right people, they will ask you, “What kinds of leads can I send your way?  Who is your ideal client?”

I am fortunate to have as a client a marketing savvy person who is contacting each of his clients to ask, “how can I refer you?”  As philanthropic as we like to see ourselves, we tend to give about as much as we receive.  By taking the first step, and asking his clients to provide specific target clients as well as a nutshell of their businesses, he is offering to give referrals.  He is giving first, knowing that it is human nature to reciprocate.  Theoretically, he will receive more referrals just by asking the question.

A secondary benefit of having clients answer questions about their business and clientele is that the client has a better understanding of what they do and why they’re doing it.  Everyone needs the standard “elevator speech” when someone asks, “what do you do?”  Clarifying your understanding of your market and business leads to a better elevator speech.  Lawyers don’t just try cases, they resolve disputes.  Mechanics don’t just fix cars, they offer transportation solutions.  It’s not a PC way of defining your business to use impressive words, it’s connecting with potential clients on a level that matters to them.  I don’t care about how a car works, but I do care when mine doesn’t! 

In a roundabout way, I am recommending that you A) Network like there’s no tomorrow, B) Ask for and offer referrals whenever possible, and C) Know your business and how to present it.  These three things are interwoven and provide a strong foundation to build your business. 

Why Wildflower?

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

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As a young adult, a mentor of mine told me I reminded her of a wildflower.  I believe the reference was that beneath a pretty face and shy exterior, I had surprising resilience and strength. 

Words are the same way.  On the outside, they may flow together and create pleasant prose, but it is the ability to persuade or create strong images or feelings that makes them powerful. 

Just as a florist has a particular talent in arranging flowers to create something unique and beautiful for each customer, I have a talent for arranging words.  These words can engage the reader and connect with him or her, by word images, compelling stories, and universal emotions.  Whether the purpose is relationship-building, information sharing, solution-proposing, inspiration, or education, words are the key to effective communication.

Businesses and nonprofit need to communicate.  They need to communicate their features and benefits, the solutions they offer, and what sets them apart.  Similar to the falling tree in the forest, your business cannot carry out its goals if no one hears what it is all about. 

Unfortunately, many small business owners and nonprofit directors know they are missing opportunities to communicate their mission to the world, but feel helpless to improve their status.  While wearing the many hats of CEO, CFO, HR, office manager, and business development (to name a few), comprehensive marketing strategies may fall by the wayside.  In addition, while many entrepreneurs are financially savvy, their forte may not be written communication.

Consider a writer-for-hire who can update your web content, create collateral and newsletters, compose donor letters…  and you can multiply your outreach many times over.  In addition, if you feel left out of the social media loop, freelancers are available to update your website, blog, and post to relevant sites on your behalf.     

So that’s me, Wildflower Writing, writer-for-hire, available to write… well, anything with words!