Words Matter: It’s not about you

April 17, 2017

Words Matter #3

Open the last dozen emails you’ve written.

Chances are, the body of your message started with “I.”

It’s probably the most frequently used pronoun throughout the document (go ahead, count them…)

Why should they care about your idea, topic, or message?

If you want to capture someone’s attention… make it about them.

Tailor your message to hone in on an angle that affects them:

  • What impact will it have on them?
  • How will it make their world better?
  • What problem will it solve for them?

Words matter: Less I and more them.

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The one thing you can’t hide in fine print

April 10, 2017

fine print shadow

I received a special offer on vitamins for being a loyal customer.

In bold print it proclaimed, “12% off coupon.”

I loaded up my online shopping cart with excitement.

At checkout, only a tiny savings appeared. Huh?

That’s when I saw the fine print:

*12% off selected supplements.

The supplements they wanted to sell were not the ones I wanted to buy.

Their offer was not-so-special after all.

Surely the company’s marketing intention was not to leave a loyal customer feeling deflated and misguided. But that is exactly what they accomplished by putting the biggest detail in the smallest print.

Companies that offer restricted benefits attract customers who offer restricted loyalty…and restricted spending.

The one thing you can’t hide in fine print is that there is something to hide.

Make the offer bold.

Make the offer simple.

Make the offer valuable for your customer.


Don’t offer it at all.

Being misled is not a reward.

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3 measures to vet what you value most

April 4, 2017

3 (1)

Common corporate rhetoric sounds like: “People are our most valuable asset.”

The problem is…people’s beliefs aren’t always backed up by their behaviors.

Have the courage to ask yourself if there is a disparity between what you say and what you do.

Not sure? Vet what you value with a 3-point check in:

  1. Where do I spend my time?
  2. Where do I spend my energy?
  3. Where do I spend my money?

The collective investment of time, energy, and money is the true indicator of what you value.

Evaluate your calendar, focus, and budget. What do they reveal about your priorities?

Engaging leaders put their philosophy to practice. They move beyond programmed sound bites and demonstrate, on a daily basis, that people are indeed their most valuable asset.

When is the last time you showed your team how valuable they are?

If you have to stop and think, it’s not too late to make them a priority today.

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Show beats tell

March 27, 2017

show beats tell final“I’m from Missouri. Show me.”

Growing up, that’s how my mom would reply to a questionable idea.

Hearing her words confused me since she was born and raised in New York City.

Until I finally caught on. My mom was really saying, “Prove it.”

People are skeptical of words. They want actions; not claims.

It takes no skill to declare: “do business with us, we’re different”

How is making an unsubstantiated claim different?

Want to make an impression?

Show beats tell.

Rather than saying you’re different; be different.

That’s what people are looking for.

That’s what gets attention.

Thanks for the advice Mom. As usual, you were right.

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Do you promote vanity or value?

March 20, 2017


A millisecond.

That’s how long someone has to capture our attention.

So why are we inundated with requests like:

  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Please like my Facebook page
  • I would love for you to check out my new website


See the theme?

Me. My. I.

Everyone is so busy talking about themselves that they fail to stop and ask a crucial question: “What does my audience care about?”

 It’s the misstep of promoting vanity over value.

Posting information about you provides no value to your reader.

People care about what’s interesting, inspiring, thought provoking, important, or helpful, to them.

Give them a reason to follow you on Twitter, like your Facebook page, or check out your new website.

It’s not about you…it’s always about them.

Drop the vanity and give your reader the value they deserve.

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Words Matter: 3 dead-weight words to leave behind

March 13, 2017

Words Matter #2

Seasoned travelers are selective about what items make it to their suitcase.

Effective communicators are as selective about what words make it to their vocabulary.

Here are 3 dead-weight words to leave behind:

  1. But: (The eraser) obliterates anything positive that comes before it. Case in point: “You’re a really nice person but we should break up.” Either say what comes before the b-word, or what comes after it. You can’t have it both ways.
  1. Just: (The reducer) minimizes whatever follows it. We all know, “I just need a moment of your time” or “Oh, I just threw dinner together…no trouble at all” shouldn’t be taken literally. Instead of downplaying your needs or accomplishments, state them plainly.
  1. Try: (The delayer) creates a diversion from the inevitable (sometimes awkward) truth. Let’s be real… “I’ll try to give you a call” is code for, “Don’t expect to hear from me.” Next time you say, “I’ll try…” compare it to your inner monologue. The disparity may be eye opening.

Words matter. Unpack the dead-weight that erases, reduces, and delays.

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Which truth defines you?

March 7, 2017


It’s true.

You’ve failed.

…and, those failures don’t have to define the truth about you.

Easy enough to believe when we feel confident. Difficult to embrace when we feel anxious and intimidated. 

This concept comes to life when our clients invest in coaching to improve their presentation skills. Speaking in front of others has a way of magnifying self-criticism. It’s tempting to define ourselves through past experiences and fixate on the time when:

  • our mind went blank in front of a group of executives
  • we didn’t know how to respond to an audience question
  • we felt inadequate in front of our listeners

As clients journey through our coaching, they begin to have new experiences and inevitably, they:

  • discover, embrace, and utilize the unique strengths they possess
  • acknowledge and accept their imperfections and become more authentic
  • create and deliver a powerful message that moves their audience to action

Ultimately, there is a choice of what to carry forward: past failures or new discoveries.

We all wrestle with competing truths.

It’s time to view ourselves through a new lens, wiped clean of old worn-out failures.

Who we were, and who we could be are in fierce competition for our allegiance.

Which one will it be?

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The pursuit of convenience

February 27, 2017

the pursuit of convenience

The pursuit of convenience gets in the way of our pursuit of happiness.

Convenience would like us to believe that life gets better when the things we care about are: Close. Fast. Easy.

The truth is… life gets good when the things we care about most inspire us to go farther, move slower, and work harder.

Pick your top three:

  • Lasting partnerships
  • Trusted friendships
  • Personal growth
  • Ideal health
  • Inspiring work
  • Memorable moments
  • Financial wellbeing
  • Emotional healing
  • Family bonds

The people, experiences, and accomplishments that make life fulfilling are far from convenient. Our pursuit of happiness is inconvenient – and oh, so worth it.

Be honest about what you really value in this life…

Do they mean enough to you to be inconvenienced?

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Skills aren’t given – they’re earned

February 20, 2017

Tools aren't given (3)

No one can give you a skill.

A hammer in your hand is only a tool.

Skill comes later. It’s earned.

The path from tool to skill is ugly. It involves mistakes, failure, pain, and self-doubt.

As you learn how to swing that hammer…it won’t be pretty.

Julia Cameron said it best in the Artist’s Way, “It’s impossible to get better and look good at the same time.”

Transforming a tool into a skill requires practice, coaching, humility… and time. Lots of time…

It’s worth it.

Finely tuned skills empower us to communicate more persuasively, lead more effectively, and serve more meaningfully.

Getting tools of the trade is easier than acquiring skills of the art.

That’s why tools are abundant and skills are rare.

What tool are you ready to develop into a skill this year?

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Words Matter: Communicate with power

February 13, 2017

Words Matter #1 (1)

Inspire. Influence. Move others to action.

Your words have the power to do it all.

Fail to speak with intention and your communication becomes uninspiring, insignificant and indecisive.

Three phrases that reduce the power of your message are: I Think, I Believe, and I Hope.

These are safety-net phrases. They weaken your point and diminish the confidence listeners have in your message:

  • I think choosing this direction will give us the results we’re after.”
  • I believe this product will allow you to finally reach your target market.”
  • I hope our partnership will provide the support needed to grow your business.”

Hear the difference:

  • “Choosing this direction will give us the results we’re after.”
  • “This product will allow you to finally reach your target market.”
  • “Our partnership will provide the support needed to grow your business.”

The fact that you are saying it implies that you think, believe, or hope it. No need to state the obvious.

People follow those who communicate with conviction.

Make sure your words demonstrate the power you want your listeners to feel.  

Words matter: communicate with power.

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