Archive for June, 2012

Quote of the Week

Posted: June 27, 2012 in Quotes
Tags: , ,

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” Anais Nin

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Understanding your audience

Using the right words to connect with your audience can mean the difference between your message being on target or failing miserably. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing an e-mail to a friend after a disagreement, drafting a cover letter for a job application, or developing marketing copy for your company, how you write your communication should be driven by your audience.

Public speaking is an area where understanding your audience is paramount to be a successful speaker. Nick Morgan on his blog Public Words has great advice that all communicators should take to heart: “At the heart of great public speaking is understanding your audience. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you’re not ready to talk to them.” He says, “Understanding your audience means being able to go on a significant emotional journey with them. That’s the only journey worth taking in public speaking.”

If you are trying to motivate the recipient of your message to do something, you better go on that journey with them! Sales letters come to mind where you really need to use the lingo of the person’s industry but from writing website copy to attract visitors, to talking to your teen age son, choosing the words and phrases that resonate with that particular audience can help you better get the results you are looking for.

As you sit poised to pen that important message or have that deal breaking talk, start first by thinking about your audience’s profile. What is their age, which generation do they fit into (baby boomers speak a whole different language from Gen X’s), what are their interests/hot buttons, values that need to be addressed or avoided, their social class (people who join country clubs do not want to be talked to like the kid just graduating from high school!), and what industry lingo you should use or avoid.

In this day of casual e-mail and social networking communications you also might be committing a major blooper if your audience is of the old “formal” school. And if this is a business communication, you can never be wrong by going formal instead of using casual texting language. Your ultimate goal is not to just connect with your audience but to have them understand and relate to your message.

It all boils down to using the words that resonate with your audience’s needs, wants and desires. But you have to come from their “space” or else even if you use the right words, you’ll be perceived as a phony. Or worse yet, as talking down to them.

As the old saying goes, first “walk a mile in their shoes” and research your audience. Then develop a profile of your audience, aiming to use words that will connect. Lastly, add a dash of sincerity.

A few days ago I had to deal with a professional disappointment that made me feel like I failed to achieve a goal. That is until I came across this quote by one of my favorite authors: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

This weekend I finished watching “The Gathering Storm” a movie about Winston Churchill before he became Prime Minister. Great movie and very educational, showing how he connected all the dots about what the Nazis were up to. In the movie, he was always writing something: letters, speaches, radio broadcasts. So I thought I’d like to do a quote from him for this week’s quote of the week:

“Writing a book is a adventure. To begin with it is a toy and amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him out to the public.” Winston Churchill

All of these are companies that didn’t spend quite enough time considering how their online names might appear – and be misread…

Who Represents is where you can find the name of the agent that represents any celebrity. Their Web site is
www.whorepresents.com/

Experts Exchange is a knowledge base where programmers can exchange Advice and views at
www.expertsexchange.com/

Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at
www.penisland.net 

Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at
www.therapistfinder.com/ – they changed to http://www.counselingcalifornia.com/

And don’t forget the Mole Station Native Nursery in New South Wales,
www.molestationnursery.com/ – this one’s been redirected to a another site that is “under construction”

The First Cumming Methodist Church Web site is
www.cummingfirst.com/ – they had the sense to sell it to…a site that talks about gay issues!

And the designers at Speed of Art await you at their wacky Web site,
www.speedofart.com/they spell it out on the home page that it’s really Speed of Art

This list was sent to me over a year ago. I check all of them. It’s amazing to discover that only a few had the sense to ditch their bad domain name!

A great writer Ray Bradbury passed away. Even if you don’t like science fiction, he was one of the best writers on this planet. His stories were well crafted and a wonderfully good read. I grew up reading his novels, he was my introduction to places of excitement, a way to escape to other worlds when mine became unbearable.

In an interview for “The Paris Review” he said that he did not feel responsible for his own writing success, saying he felt that God helped him write. “The best description of my career as a writer is ‘at play in the fields of the Lord.’  It’s been wonderful fun and I’ll be damned where any of it came from. I’ve been fortunate. Very fortunate.”

Quote of the Week

Posted: June 4, 2012 in Quotes, Writing advice
Tags: ,

“Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.” Stephen King