Vague language–when is it important?

Is this needlessly vague?

A colleague asked me this question recently as we worked to hone the language of a data sheet.  I love his question because it goes right to the core of a communication strategy I am always working on in my writing, especially for corporate writing, such as data sheets, white papers, and customer messages.

When communicating with customers, and especially prospective customers, there are times when being vague is essential. In today’s world of too much information (TMI) most people are as skittish as a deer when deciding to read the whole thing, looking for a way to disqualify any communication so they can delete it from their inbox. This means that each and every detail gives them cause.

However, when writing a data sheet or other document that readers are coming to once they are engaged with the company, product, or offering they want details to prove to themselves they are in the right place–especially in the high-tech world I work in.

So, I am always focused on ensuring the “right” amount of detail for the timing, audience, and purpose of the message. It’s one of the things that makes marketing really interesting and fun, and hard as hell.

That’s why I am grateful to my colleague for summarizing it so well. I now have a purposeful question to ask when evaluating content.

Does this question resonate with you? Even if you don’t work in marketing, it’s still a valid question.  Would you use the same language with your boss as with a peer or customer?  Your child as with your spouse?

What questions do you ask yourself to ensure that messages are appropriately crafted and targeted? That your audience won’t bolt of through the woods? Please share by leaving a comment below!

My best wishes for an amazing day and week. See you next Wednesday!

The Most Fruitful Resolution EVER!

iStock_000017647274_SmallWe are all aware that New Year’s Resolutions are not very helpful, at least for the long run.

Instead, for the last few years I have been choosing one word as a focal point for my personal growth for the year. Then I realized that setting a time frame is a bit restrictive as well, so have actually changed my word as the year went along.

I still like to choose a word to start the new year. Though the timeline is artificial, I find benefit in taking stock of the past year(s) and pondering my goals for growth for the upcoming year-ish.

Last Monday I was reminded of a method for personal growth that I love.

Do one thing that scares you, every day.

Can Joyful Work Help You to Stand Out?

Expert Dorie Clark Shares on How, and Why It Matters Anyway

Dec. 3, 2014. Boston, MA. Portraits of Dorie Clark. © 2014 Marilyn Humphries

Dorie Clark photo courtesy of © 2014 Marilyn Humphries

Autonomy and Creativity.

According to personal branding expert Dorie Clark when we humans feel like these qualities are maximized in our work we are more engaged, productive, and fulfilled–personally and professionally.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dorie recently.  The sentence above is how she answered my initial question on how the concepts of Creating Joyful Work tie in with her work on personal branding and marketing strategy.  From that start I knew it was going to be a great conversation!

Next we discussed how each of us can ensure these qualities are a part of our daily work. Dorie shared that most of us don’t know how to keep it going.  We want a fast process, a magic bullet or silver lining.  That does not usually happen so most people give up. The good news is that when we do persevere there’s not much competition!  Success increases.

Successful Executives Are Not Nice!

Guest post from Todd Ordal - CEO Advisor

The Seven Mantras Of Successful Leadership: #1Todd Ordal CEO Advisor Coach

The following is an excerpt from Todd Ordal’s soon to be released book, “Never Kick a Cow Chip on a Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want to Be” from Morgan James Publishing.  I am blessed to be colleagues with Todd and the recipient of his insights, ideas and leadership genius–all couched in an amazing sense of humor. I am looking forward the whole book.

In Chapter One he explores “the seven mantras of successful leadership.” Here is the first.

Mantra # 1: Successful Executives Are Not Nice!

From the minute we engage with other humans (and even pets!) our parents tell us, “Be nice!” This is intended to be a catchall for eliminating behaviors like hitting, screaming, crying, or anything that makes the other people in the sandbox feel bad.

As we get older, we’re rewarded for being nice. When my kids were in elementary school, their teachers frequently complimented them for being nice, as in, “He hasn’t turned in any of his homework and has failed the past three tests, but he’s such a nice boy!” Nice is a hat hanger, a fall back sort of position when all else fails. But when it comes to the business of leadership, you are going to quickly see that nice isn’t always the best way to carry yourself.

Out of the Frying Pan, And The Fire Didn’t Burn

An uncomfortable conversation supports growth

I felt lost, confused and frustrated–not sure what to do.

Decades ago in my first role as a manager our little team of three was responsible for managing a few products at an integrated circuit manufacturer. Our duties included product definition, launching, pricing, customer service, delivery oversight, and more.  George**, one of the guys on my team was the service agent for a couple of large customers.

He was also in law school.  I admired his drive, until his studies caused him to call in “sick” quite a bit.  When he was in the office, George’s work product was exemplary. When he was out, our other teammate and I had to do quite a bit of extra work because customer service needs to be timely.

Three Ways That Creating Joyful Work Helps Leaders

#5 of the Seven Roles For Every Manager to Create Lasting Results

Happy face on coffee cup on wooden background with vintage colour effect. Still life.

As a leader you want to build your team, and know that empowering each person on the team leads to accomplishing more*–for the whole team and for the individual.

Some leaders may think about empowering team members in concrete skills like project management, analytical dexterity, or the ability to trouble shoot software code or the process for product launches. You might even consider providing ways to help your team members develop soft skills like time management or communication.

Have you considered that each person being empowered to Create Joyful Work might help team members to improve, plus add to the bottom line for your team and your organization? I know it’s a super-soft skill, however there are big benefits.