One of the exercises involved sending an informal email note to a friend or colleague.
I said, “If you can’t think of anyone to send it to, send it to me.” I then shared my email address.
When the presentation was over, I found about 20 emails in my inbox from participants. Most were quite friendly, and many thanked me for a great event.
But one person wrote this: “I regret to say that today’s presentation has been the most disappointing and discouraging yet of the entire conference.”
While it is always nice to be recognized as “the most” at something, I have to confess that when I first started working for myself, an email like that – despite 20 in the other direction – would have thrown me.
Today though, and provided it’s not 20-1 against, I don’t mind them at all.
That’s becuse when people object to your point of view, personality, or style … it means you have one.
Nobody hates plain vanilla. But nobody stands in line for it either.
If you never hear any objections, maybe what you’re saying isn’t worth listening to.
Big news for me, but the truth is, you don’t really care.
And if this post were about nothing else, you’d be annoyed, maybe you would even unsubscribe.
But … when you wrap otherwise “irrelevant personal stories” around useful information, it brings the information – and you – to life.
If you sell a professional service, who you are matters at least as much as what you know. Don’t leave that part out.
He happened to mention that he sends 3,000 holiday cards every year.
It’s an impressive number; I’m just not so sure it’s a good investment of time or money.
First, because no matter how many he sends, each recipient only gets one. List size has no correlation with impact.
Second, because if he’s sending that many, it’s probably outsourced, definitely automated, and necessarily generic. It’s like when my supermarket prints, “Have a nice day” on the bottom of my receipt.
Mechanized marketing is fine (this very message is an example).
Just make sure that in the process, you’re not automating and outsourcing the things that are intended to reinforce a relationship-building, human connection.
Oh, and Happy Holidays, [NAME], to you and your family. Let’s keep in touch.
That’s because unlike those fly-by-night social media services (don’t make me say Facebook), nobody owns email and it never goes down.
It is a completely distributed system with no single entity in charge. It just keeps going.
Which means two things:
#1. If you build a business on the back of a social media platform, you are subject to its rules, regulations, and ongoing reliability.
#2. Your business needs a platform-independent list of people with whom you can communicate and that you can take with you to any provider, at any time, for any reason.
Something electronic (i.e., free). Something that gets delivered directly to people without them having to go find it. What would be really cool would be if it sat in their – let’s call it an “inbox” – until they read or deleted it.
Probably a pipe dream, I know. But maybe one day, somebody will invent this type of cutting-edge technology.
My backup computer – a laptop I use when I am not in my office – had been working very slowly.
Not terrible, and I do most of my work on my office computer, so just a small, ongoing annoyance. But it had been that way for about six months and none of the fixes I tried (running malware and virus scans, updating drivers, etc.) made any difference.
Finally, earlier this week, I made time to take it to a local computer fix-it place. The guy quickly determined that I needed a new hard drive.
Today, I have it back, and it is screaming fast! I can’t believe I waited this long.
It’s easy to just live with little problems in your business. But they sap your energy, waste your time, and add up (you know, like children).
Now I just have to remember this important insight the next time!