Tag: Speaking

Do You Lose Your Voice When You Write?

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I am not suggesting that you suffer from a strange side effect of writer’s block.  I am referring to our tendency to lose our brand identity when we write books, speeches, promotional collateral, opt-in products, website copy, etc.  Have you ever read some of your own content months or years later and thought it does not even sound like you?  Have you watched one of your keynote presentations and wondered why it did not feel authentic? Have you reviewed your website copy lately and thought, “Is this really me?”

Just for fun, let’s call this phenomenon Writer’s Laryngitis (WL).  We will define it as a condition resulting from authors or speakers deviating from their brand, their rhythm, and their personality because they are trying too hard to accommodate their perceptions of their audience.

Are you addressing industry mavens and CEOs and instead of being your clever and engaging self, you end up delivering a stoic and lifeless presentation?  What if the demographics of your readers are predominantly male or female, do you get too in touch with your masculine or feminine side in an attempt to establish rapport when in fact your disingenuous tone turns people off?

These may seem like dramatic examples, but on a much smaller scale this happens more often than you realize.

Mild to Severe WL-like symptoms:

  • You find yourself stuck trying to write about content you coach everyday, or you try to mimic expressions and concepts that do not come easily to you.
  • You stumble for just the right words to explain your own services and products.
  • When you receive your own Opt-In product emails each day, are you unable to see your reflection in them?
  • Your personality resembles slacks and a nice sweater but your correspondence wears a three-piece suit
  • When listening to your own recorded tele-seminar script you sound more rehearsed than the conversational tone of your in-person consultations
  • A new client or colleague tells you that based on your previous correspondence and content, you “seem different” in person

In-Home Remedies:

  • The next time you talk with a potential new client on the phone, record yourself on a digital recorder.  Are you explaining your services the same way in print?  Chances are your audio explanation was more engaging and persuasive.
  • Put your promotional collateral and sales letters side-by-side with your web copy and see if they are consistent in tone and messaging
  • Read your manuscript chapters aloud to yourself. If the words do not flow easily for you, then simplify and replace it with your everyday diction

Professional Treatment:

You may have a more severe condition of WL (or lack the time to cure yourself) and I recommend you seek the advice of a second set of eyes.  Chances are you are too close to your own condition and self medicating may not be the answer.  Work with a collaborative writer or editor to help you with the consistency and tone of your messages.  After only a couple of consultations and reviewing your existing content, a writer specializing in voice duplication can create impressions of you on paper.

Here’s to getting better soon!

How to Write for Your Audiences’ Learning Styles

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Whether you are an author, speaker, trainer or leader  you have probably realized that the most effective communication style is not about you, it’s about your audience.  You may be a “tell it to me with bullet points” person but your reader or listener would rather be told a story.

We all use the three main learning styles in some form or another, but we do tend to have favorites when it comes to absorbing information and applying concepts to our lives.

Are you integrating all three of these styles into your book, speech, training sessions and mentoring programs?  Develop well-rounded content by making sure you incorporate them into your work.  Remember that it is not how you best learn that is important.

Learning styles and their most effective communication tools

Visual: Charts, diagrams, lists, spreadsheets, keynote slides, video files, DVDs, posters, writing exercises

Auditory: Dialogue, audio files, CDs, team or “buddy” exercises, reciting information

Kinesthetic & Tactile: “hands on” instruction, demonstrations, physical movement integration, building models, highlighting information

When you are describing a technique, presenting research findings, creating character development or delivering sales training can you show a graph or picture, insert dialogue and verbal repetition, run a video or audio program, and highlight key “take-aways”?  Stretch yourself to include as many of these communication tools as possible so that your audience members or readers walk away feeling as though you added value and respected what works best for them.  They will continue to come back for more.