To Tell a Good Story You Have to Listen

If you pick up a book on how to write or tell a story, somewhere in it will be the following advice:

Listen.

From a fiction standpoint, listening is a great way to capture and understand dialogue. You can also steal find some interesting stories when you listen to others.

But in today’s social media rich world, if you’re telling your business story, listening becomes much more than that. 

Listening becomes a way to connect with people, build relationships and scout new prospects.

Like most writers, I have a dual professional persona. I write for clients helping to tell their stories and I write for myself, telling mine.

Recently I came across a writing conference I was considering. Truth be told, I’m always coming across writing conferences I’m thinking about attending but this one was economical, well-known and located in the heart of the publishing world. I did what any normal writer in today’s world would do – I tweeted my possible interest, including the @name for the organization hosting the conference.

 

That was three weeks ago and crickets.

 

This organization is much larger than I am and I have no doubt they will sell out on this conference but compare that to a conversation I had with another writer’s conference organizer.

I phoned her to find out if my favorite living author still had room in his session. Not only did I get an answer to my question but we talked about him and his latest book. We laughed about how writers always think every story they write will turn into a major motion picture. We wonder if we’ll have any say into the casting.

Writers are dreamers. If I had more of an entrepreneurial spirit, I would host a joint conference for writers and people who play the lottery all the time. I digress. She gave me…

 

Personalized attention.

 

So which one am I attending?

Is that even a question?

 

You cannot form a relationship or “kinship,” as Gini Dietrich refers to it in her book Spin Sucks, without listening. Listening in person, listening online, being present in conversations. We’ve received a gift in that it’s easy to hear when someone is talking about us on social media. If you get labeled as someone who doesn’t listen you’ll find fewer people are interested in being a part of your story.

 

If you want to tell a good story, you have to listen.

 

 

Looking at Your Business Through Your Customers’ Eyes

Sometimes taking part in social media for business feels like shouting into a hurricane. You struggle to be heard. You struggle to stand out and be noticed.

safari business
Hemingway’s Bar – Hai, Kilimanjaro

You might be very confident in your abilities to connect,  but are you having problems discovering whom to connect with?

You’re probably thinking too narrow. If you have a brick and mortar business and don’t want to ship anything, you might only want to target people in your area (but what about vacationers/visitors?) or if you’re a membership organization representing a particular industry – maybe you need to remain limited in your search but everyone else can look for business in broad terms. Social media allows you to do this sort of prospecting with very little investment, other than time. Continue reading “Looking at Your Business Through Your Customers’ Eyes”

Content Marketing: Figuring out You Versus Them

Serving what your audience wants is crucial to maintaining one
Serving what your audience wants is crucial to maintaining one

I went to a baby shower a while back. All of the dishes served had some form of nuts in them – almond string beans, peanut-encrusted chicken, carrot cake (with walnuts). You would’ve thought the momma-to-be loved nuts. Actually, she hated them but the hostess thought everything was better with nuts and people liked them.

The hostess, in this example, is an old-school marketer. She is serving up what she wants to serve, what she thinks should be served. She’s mistaking general popularity with what her guests want, when in reality, the guest of honor doesn’t even want it.

 

 

Are you Serving Content Only You are Interested In? Continue reading “Content Marketing: Figuring out You Versus Them”

Are You Listening to Your Members?

Each member is unique, needs may be similar but it's up to you to discover thatI finally listened to all the people who were telling me to visit Oregon. It was an amazing trip — beautiful weather, friendly people and way too short.

On my return flight, a red-eye, from Portland to Houston, I sat next to a woman who was feverishly playing a handheld blackjack game (circa 1986, with digitized sounds and cards that looked pixelated). I couldn’t even suggest headphones or ear buds because this gizmo wouldn’t have had a jack for them. I closed my eyes and tried to rest.

“Is that sound normal?”, she asked.

I opened my eyes and tuned into what she was asking about. I nodded. She nodded.

“Do you fly much?”, she asked as soon as I closed my eyes again. Continue reading “Are You Listening to Your Members?”