The Secret of Life, No Kidding

The Secret of Life, No Kidding

Since most readers are over the age of seven, here's a quick reminder of how a seesaw works. You sit on one end, and another person sits at the other. You use your feet to push your side up in the air, which makes the other person's side go down. Then the other person does the same, and your side goes down. You keep taking turns until one of you gets bored, falls off, or has to go home and take a nap.

Putting Humanity Back into Business

Last week, I gave two speeches at the Bend WebCAM conference. On Monday, my keynote was the fifth of five keynotes. On Tuesday, I gave one of three workshops in the last time slot of the day. In both cases, happy hour was next, and the folks in Bend, Oregon are VERY serious about their beer.

By the way, my keynote - The Best Talent Is Bringing Out Talent in Others - had very little to do with the web/marketing/SEO focus of the conference.

Truth be told, I spent weeks wondering, "Is this really a good idea?" It was. Going to Bend turned out to be one of my best decisions.

After years of self-imposed absence from the speaker circuit, I discovered my true purpose: helping people do good, instead of helping them sell stuff.

I used to talk about marketing and innovation, but finally got to the point where I just couldn't do it anymore. Too many businesses wanted a magic formula for growing revenues, but few were willing to adopt the "serve, don't sell" mindset that can make that happen.

My new presentation is straight from my heart. It's not a pitch; it's what I believe. The core of it is my personal credo:

Be generous and expert, trustworthy and clear, open-minded and adaptable, persistent and present.

This message didn't bounce off the audience. Tons of people wanted to talk about it, and wanted to understand how to inject more meaning into both their work and personal lives. The conversations didn't stop when I left Bend; I'm still engaged in many a week later.

By the way, my Tuesday workshop explained how my credo can help professions who don't like to self-promote. It was called How to Self-Promote without Being a Jerk.

Count "Likes", Not "Views"

As a ghostwriter, I write articles for clients who then post the articles online. Then many start keeping score...

Did 100 people read the story?

Did I break 2,500 views?

Will this make my top three?

While understandable, these are the wrong questions to ask. You should be seeking engagement, not simply eyeballs. Your goal should be to connect with like-minded humans with whom you have the potential to foster an actual relationship. Seek to attract people with whom you'd like to become colleagues, customers and/or friends.

In the pieces I write under my own name, I pay special attention to Likes and Comments. Here are two examples:

Put Kindness First on Your To Do List: 11,6807 Views; 116 Likes, 132 Comments

How to Avoid Being Underpaid for Your Work: 83,816 Views; 461 Likes; 104 Comments

The second piece attracted eight times as many readers, but this could be a function of how it was promoted, and who promoted it. But even with 8X the reach, it generated fewer comments than the first piece. Also, for every person who read and liked Avoid Being Underpaid, two people read and Liked Kindness First.

I guarantee that some of the people who read Kindness First will play a significant role in my life. These are people with whom I share fundamental human values. Something in this piece struck a chord inside them.

That's what matters to me. Much as I still get pleasure out of having my words reach a large audience, everything pales versus connecting one person at a time.

A few words about connecting...

I read every comment on every article I write, but only reply to a few comments from each article. Most readers don't need or want a reply from the author; many enjoy interacting with other readers. I think of the Comments section as a showcase for everyone BUT the author, and jump in only when someone has asked for a reply, or when someone has made such a pivotal comment that it requires my response.

In many cases, I reply privately to people, and thus begin an actual relationship.

Image: id-iom/Flickr