Messaging Secret #15: spellcheck doesn’t know write from wrong

I remember discovering spellcheck…a seemingly magical function of the fancy new typing program on the newfangled computer. I thought to myself, “It’s like an English teacher in the computer!” Turns out, it’s not. Because while spellcheck may indicate when you’ve typed the wrong spelling, it will not indicate when you’ve typed the wrong word.

Imagine you’re inviting people to read your online journal. You type an email that reads, “Check out my clog!” No misspellings there. Send it! Sadly, outside of the plumbing and wooden-shoe markets, your message will generate little more than confusion.

It’s not just missed keystrokes, though. I recently read a high school newsletter that dedicated an entire page to the achievements of students in a marketing-club competition. The kids apparently focused on preparing baked-goods, turning things over, and pushing things on wheels, as there were over 30 references to various forms of “roll play.”

It’s not just a student issue either. I have received countless emails in which clients agreed with me by typing, “Me to.” And there was the sales director whose report praised his team for “excremental increases” in sales. Neither of these would cause spellcheck to react. Both would, however, cause a reader to ask, “Is this really someone I want to do business with?” Spoiler alert…the answer is, “No.”

Remember, spellcheck is a proofreading tool, not a proofreading replacement. Whatever your business, there are no shortcuts to great messaging…only fast tracks to disastrous results. From website content to resumes and everything in between, nothing makes your message shine like proof & polish from the Wordsmith. To learn more, email rj@wordsmithingbyfoster.com today.

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Avoiding Business Wedgies

Skipping through the cable guide the other day, I came across the cinematic masterpiece, “Revenge of the Nerds.” I enjoyed that movie, but not for the same reasons as my friends (not entirely). Beyond the triumph of the super-smart over the super-strong, the nerds demonstrated the power of packaging and how it affects perception and acceptance.

When seen merely as runny-nosed, chess-playing, violin-toting, oddly-dressed freaks, nobody cared how many wedgies, swirlies, or other physical abuses they received. They were just “another”…another non-distinctive, not-interesting group, noticed only occasionally for their unique tolerance to waistband-abrasion and toilet-water. So, they repackaged themselves. They reintroduced themselves with less emphasis on “features” (intelligence, analytical skills, knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons characters) and more on “benefits” (outsmarting their competitors, transforming weaknesses into strengths, making people happy). They changed people’s perception of the group and generated new interest in the group. People began to notice them, cheer for them, and want to be associated with them.

Why not take the same approach to business? Because while you probably don’t have bullies pulling your underwear over your head, having people see you as “just another [insert product/service here]” can have a similar effect on your business’ visibility…and its popularity. If you’re feeling bullied by your competitors, shoved into a promotional locker where customers can’t see you, or just overlooked by those who don’t recognize your value, perhaps it’s time to rethink how you present yourself. Perhaps it’s time to step out of your own shadow, and tell your story in a new way… a way that draws people’s attention and makes them want to know more. Because as the Adams College Tri-Lam’s taught us, you can be a nerd and still be amazing. You just have to tell people about yourself in a way that’s irresistible.

If you’d like to develop an irresistible introduction for your business,
contact the Wordsmith today!

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Elevator Speech: Scripted Commercial or Simple Conversation?

When it comes to creating your message, I’m all for scribbling-out your thoughts. It’s the only way to really see what you’re thinking. Letting questions rattle around in your head and then emptying every possible response onto paper can be enlightening, and lead you to a “Wow, is that what I do?” moment.

The problems start when we move from scribbling to scripting. We write-out and memorize our elevator pitch, and when given the chance, we recite it. We narrate a 60-second commercial full of seemingly important information like our title, a product list, and a location (at the corner of “Who Cares St.” and “Why Do I Give A Darn Dr.), and offer a business card that will, invariably, find its way into a recycle bin filled with other unsolicited promotional trash.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for developing your story, and being prepared to share it whenever you’re invited to do so. But don’t memorize a speech that you hope will convince people to buy from you. Share a story that invites people to buy-in to you. Trade the scripted commercial for a personal conversation. It’s the only path to a real connection.

If you’d like to learn more about developing an introduction that has people asking for your business card, contact The Wordsmith today!

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