Barbara and I had a major epiphany today.
I’d asked Barbara to critique a website.
“They’re just words. Blah, blah, blah. I understand the words but there’s no impact. I have no comprehension about what’s behind them. I can’t connect with them. I have no idea what this person/organisation stands for. It’s like reading a school essay!”
We sat through the Leader’s Debate a couple of nights ago. Both Turnbull and Shorten stuck to their over rehearsed scripts. Blah, blah, blah. But what was the meaning behind the words? And crucially, where was the connection with us, the voters they’re trying to persuade?
Want to get your message heard? To masterfully persuade? Build your business by attracting high quality clients?
First, you’ve got to be attractive. I don’t mean in the physical sense. I mean your ideas. Then communicate them in a way that engenders trust. And finally have people truly believe you’ll deliver on your promises. (And you’d better do so for there’s nothing worse than the feeling of betrayal and disappointment that comes if you don’t.)
You need to stand for something that’s beyond your personal self-interest. You must connect with your audience. And finally, drop your shields and open up.
Every great leader, Abe Lincoln, Ghandi, Martin Luther-King, Ronald Regan to contemporary Australian politicians like Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawk and John Howard have done so.
In each case you knew what they stood for. They were passionate about changing the status quo and they opened themselves up to all manner of love, criticism and even hate.
It’s no different for you.
If you want to attract people to you, your cause or your business, you need to decide what drives you. What is it you really want to do. What is the real difference you want to make. Could be for your family, your clients or the wider community.
And it needs to be bigger than just yourself.
Then connect with your audience in an authentic way. Don’t be a plastic cut-out. Tell them about you. Warts and all.
If you’re putting words on a website have a conversation. Act as if you’re talking to one individual sitting in front of you. You are!
So don’t use motherhood corporate speak. Only use jargon if your audience expects it. Don’t be wooden. Be animated. Use descriptive colourful language. (And I mean colourful in the real sense – not profanity)
One of our clients asked why one of their websites was drawing in lots of enquiries resulting in good quality clients while their “corporate one” wasn’t.
Barbara immediately put her finger on it. “It’s personal. It’s like Claire’s talking to me directly having a warm conversation.” See for yourself.
Express opinions. Be controversial. Take a stand. Lead. Don’t be an also ran. They get trampled in the rush to the exit.
Yes, you will have your detractors. Maybe whole swathes of entrenched establishment self-interest against you. But trust me, if you step out you will develop a loyal following. People who connect with you, see you as a trusted authority and buy whatever you’re selling.
And finally, let’s circle back to those erstwhile gentlemen vying for our trust to run the country.
Maybe if in the words of Guardian Columnist, David Marr, they showed a bit of “mongrel”, moved away from their safe set speeches and slogans, we’d all sit up, take notice and not die of boredom!