How to Find Stories to Blog About

One of my mentor clients asked me today, “Where do you find things to blog about?” A good question that I thought many of you may also be asking.  Here it is. Get ready to cut and paste this interminable answer in your brain. Ready?

Life.

I guarantee that things happen to you every single day that you can write about, blog about, or use for a story in a speech. You just have to be in the moment and be able to use your life as a metaphor.

Here’s an example from today for me. I was working around the house and I love to listen to Pandora while I work. I had it on the Greased Lightning station and listening to an oldie song called, “What a Wonderful World it Would Be.” One of the lines said something like, “I don’t know what a slide rule does…” I chuckled. Neither does about 2/3 of the world anymore. However 40 years ago, everyone not only did, but used them all the time. So how do you use this as a blog post?

My mentee is in the technology world. The changes in technology are happening at warp speed. Just like the slide rule, many things we take for granted today may be obsolete in just a short time. In fact, much shorter than ever before! If you are unwilling to change and learn about new technologies in real-time, you and your business will be left behind playing with your slide rule.

OR…

If you are a consultant for helping businesses work with a diverse generational workforce, you might find a way to use this story in a speech comparing the slide rule to the Texas Instruments calculator to an iPhone app. You get the picture.

The key is to be aware of things around you; note peculiar things that happen or that make you laugh; find irony in everyday happenings; and make note of all of them. The next step is to try to relate them as a metaphor to something in your business. Then start writing…

The reality is that your audience will better understand a difficult topic or be more engaged in your speech when you use everyday life occurrences that seemingly have no commonality. It’s a great way to never run out of stories. All you have to do is live!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

How Do You Develop a Writing Style?

A client of mine recently commented on a blog post I wrote, and asked where I learned to write the way I did.  His comments were appreciated and I thought I would also share with you…

  1. Don’t be afraid to offend. Really. If your writing doesn’t challenge, provoke, anger, or inspire a diverse range of your audience, you’re not doing your job. Apathy is the enemy. Your message needs to be direct and clear. You don’t have to be inflammatory, but you must be interesting.
  2. Read others who you respect. You don’t have to agree with everything (or anything) they say. But key in on writing styles and learn why they are successful.
  3. Practice. Practice. Practice.  The more you write, the better you will be. Writing can include blog posts, newsletters, books, articles and op-eds.
  4. Get help. Education is critical to any success. Use coaches, mentors, teachers in your development. Heck, take a class from your local community college to improve your skills. Just remember, writing in business differs from creative writing. They are both good, but have different messages.

Bottom line – a huge part of creating marketing gravity is publishing and writing. Make sure yours is read!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Shameless Promotion

I recently was leaving a parking lot when I noticed an old, blue pickup truck with a graphic promotion printed on the gate. I was half-expecting to see a landscaping or construction company promo based on the vehicle, but was surprised to read this…

“Grandpa seeks female for friendship” followed by the old guys phone number.

Now that’s shameless promotion!

If you really believe the product or service you offer is truly valuable in improving the lives and businesses of others, then you must practice shameless promotion. This fact was really drilled into my brain by my mentor, Alan Weiss. We are not in the snake-oil salesman game. What we do as consultants, entrepreneurs, small and large businesses, and professional services really do help others and they need to know about it. The only one who can get the word out with passion and conviction is you!

Here are a five painless ways to practice shameless promotion:

  • Consistent press releases
  • Speaking
  • Publishing
  • Networking
  • Referrals

In everything you do, you must provide value. You must be credible. You must be sincere. It ends up being a win-win for everyone when you can improve the lives and business of others. The only way you can do that is if they know you exist.

There are now plenty of ladies in my community that know “Grandpa” is looking for friendship.  Take a cue from him and shamelessly promote your value.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Seth Kahan Interviews Alan Weiss on Mentor Program

You may have seen me announce that I am thrilled to be the 21st person in the world to become a Master Mentor in the Alan Weiss global community.  Seth Kahan, a world-class consultant from the Washington D.C. area (and the first Master Mentor) just interviewed Alan on his mentor program and the new Mentor Mastery program.  It’s about 24 minutes and well worth the listen.

Click here to listen to the interview.

If you are interested in dramatically transforming your consulting, speaking, or entrepreneurial career, take the half hour and listen to this interview.  If you have questions about my experience, I’d be glad to share it with you. Obviously, the experience has had a profound impact on me both professionally and personally.  It can for you, too.

To learn more about my new mentor program as part of Alan’s community, click here.

Cheers,

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

What Can You Learn from the Saints and the Super Bowl?

What can you learn to help your business thrive from yesterday’s Super Bowl?  How about this:

  • The Saints were coached more aggressively.  The 4th down attempt, the onside kick to start the 2nd half, and blitzing Peyton Manning late in the game are examples.  They were willing to be courageous to win the big game. Are you willing to be courageous in your career?
  • The 4th down attempt didn’t work, and sometimes that happens in business.  If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.
  • The Colts didn’t make the plays when they had the lead. Up 10-3, Pierre Garcon dropped a pass that could have gone the distance. It was a game-changer.  When you have the lead in your line of business, do you take your foot off the gas or make the right play?  Execution of skills is as critical as dropping a pass in the Super Bowl. You must be ready for success.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Who Does Your Web Site Serve?

In most business organizations, especially professional services, it’s incumbent on the business to make life easy for the customer or client, not the other way around.

I found that my newly designed “landing page” was in need of some work because it didn’t do a good job of making life easy for those who “landed” there. With valuable advice from my community and professionals I trusted, I swiftly did a re-design on this site to make it more of a table of contents for all the services and value I offer.  (Many thanks to Jenn Putnam and Jennergy)

View my new page

The re-design allows visitors to quickly scan areas of interest and decide where they want to go next.  And, yes, this will continue to be a work in progress.  Cyberspace requires fluidity.  My Speaking to Influence web site is next on my agenda to revamp, and plans are underway.  But, I digress…

What about you?  When was the last time you cleaned up your web site?  In today’s world, I can’t imagine going past 12 months!  Things change, you change, your services change, and most importantly, what your client and customers want and need from you change.

Here’s your weekend homework – go to your web site and start imagining what it would look like ideally.  Even if you’ve just made changes, fast forward in your head for future innovation.  In this rapidly evolving business world we find ourselves in, you can never allow yourself to get behind the 8-ball.

Then, after you’ve made a mental picture of your newly designed site, take action.  Create a game plan and time-line for completion. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) do this alone.  But get started no matter what you do.  Remember, this is your 24/7 brochure, resource center, and store front.  It should reflect you and your business.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Communication Excellence – Returning e-mails and calls…please

Last night, I sat in my school board meeting and we discussed expectations of returning e-mails.  It seems that our constituents haven’t always been pleased about the promptness of the board returning e-mails.  As a new member, and someone in business, I spoke out.  The bottom line is this – we are a business and the expectations for all businesses are prompt responses via e-mail. With Blackberrys and iPhones, it’s not difficult to get your e-mail.  24 hours should be a minimum expectation.

The same goes for you.  As an business professional, there is an expectation that you are available.  Most clients don’t demand an immediate response. Any response would be nice, though!

My business model is to return all calls in 90 minutes and all e-mail within 24 hours.  Normally, I am well within those limits.  What is your model? Do you inform your clients? Are you scared to?

My experience is that business professionals don’t advertise their response model.  Usually because they don’t have one or are dubious of having one.  I challenge you to do it.  There is almost nothing more universally desired by clients, customers or prospects than to be called or e-mailed back quickly. In today’s technological world, 24 hours isn’t tough to do.  Even if the message is simply that you are on vacation and will have to get back to them, or that you don’t have an answer and will get it – they at least have received confirmation that they were heard.  It’s like them picking up a phone and calling you with a question.  You wouldn’t listen to their question and hang up without talking.  Communications is a two-way street and a certain level of courteousness is in order.

If you truly want to differentiate yourself from your competition, then simply return your calls and e-mails quickly.

Dan

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

What Are You Reading?

I just read an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal stating that Amazon said it sold more Kindle books than the “old-fashioned” hard cover books.  Read story

What’s your take on this?

Mine is two-fold…

1 – I hope we aren’t seeing the demise of the hard cover book. I’ve seen the Kindle and it’s pretty cool I must admit. However, there is still something special about having a hard cover book in your hands reading. I don’t think that will ever change for me.

2 – I hope this means more people are reading and that young people will keep reading after school. We as a society need to keep reading a variety of subjects in order to maintain and advance our knowledge and being considered “well-rounded.”

I encourage you to read often. My goal is one book a month minimum. Right now, I’m on two books.  One is religious in nature and the other is fiction. I have the next two picked out already – political science and self-development.

What are you reading?

Cheers,

© 2009 Dan Weedin – All Rights Reserved

December is always a great time to look back and reflect on the year.  It’s pretty easy to think about the successes, failures, challenges, and triumphs both personal and professional.  Bit how often do you consider what you put into your head?

Professional development should never stop.  The second you think you know it all, you begin to decline rapidly.  Real professional development is never cheap.  There is always a significant investment of time and/or money.  If you do it right, the ROI is always worth it.

In 2009, I spent well over $11,000 on workshops, colleges, resources, and travel expenses.  I traveled to Providence, RI, Newport, RI, and Las Vegas twice for professional development opportunities.  I purchased teleconferences, systems, books, and CD’s.  I gained knowledge from experts like Alan Weiss, Patricia Fripp, and Darren LaCroix.  I passed the third leg of a five part program to receive a designation in risk management.  And what was my return on investment?  It was huge from a standpoint of current and future income and growth.  My intellectual capital increased thus making it easier for my community to improve.  It’s a win-win-win!

What about you?  What did you accomplish in this area last year?  Where will you go in 2010?

Next stop for me…San Francisco for Alan Weiss’s Mentor Summit!

Cheers,