What leadership lessons can you learn when the airlines lose your luggage, a creepy guy sleeps next to you on the floor and you have to pay over $1,000 in one-way tickets to make your speech on time? Adventures of public speaking…. oh the places you will go! What was the worst travel experience you had and what lesson did you learn from it?
He said consider three things when writing powerful headlines:
1) Focus on creating a “how-to” or “why” or “number (#) series” while adding value and/or providing entertainment elements. He says, “The how-to is very powerful because it engages the prospect on a deeper psychological level. It’s self-centered and most of us pay more attention when we hear how-to and whatever follows after it.”
2) Write for your audience in mind – Do you know who your audience is? Identify who your ideal reader is and ask them what they want to learn more about. I do this through my social media accounts all the time; last week I received 20 article ideas! My audience gives me direction for what they want to hear and who is paying attention to my articles.
3) Base it off your experience – Why are you the one to write this? For example, it might be strange if I wrote an article called “How to win a basketball game if you are under six feet tall.” Not only do I know nothing about basketball, my audience knows I don’t play the game and I can’t speak for those under six feet! Write about what you know with those in mind you want to reach!
Moving forward when you are writing an article for your blog or a chapter in your book, think of these formulas to catch your readers attention and get them to click on what you just wrote!
Powerful Headline Formulas include:
“How to (eliminate pain) (without more pain)”
“How to get (specific result) (in short amount of time) (with very little risk)”
“Why (common-sense approach) doesn’t work… and what to do about it).”
I can say first hand these have worked for me. Starting out blogging I would spend hours on one article and find very little engagement after I hit publish. Other articles I would spend five minutes writing and boom my stats soar for the day! Why? When I look back at the articles, the content nor my writing was better, what the main problem seemed to be was the title in which I used to grab the readers attention. People will not click to read your article if it does not click with what interests or grabs their attention!
What sounds more powerful and more intriguing to read?
How to get more clients without sounding to pushy? – OR – Lessons I learned from an encounter with a recent client!
If I used the same content for the body of the article and used those different titles I guarantee I would have a larger open rate on the “how-to” compared to the “lessons learned.” I mean which one would you most likely open? Plus, in the first one I have considered my focus, my audience and my experience!
Take Matt’s advice and start writing powerful headlines so your writing gets into the hands of more people. Your stories, message and insight matter and if you are taking the time to add value to people’s life, take the time to write engaging headlines! Keep using your voice to make a difference and remember to always…
Question for comments below: Who is your favorite blogger? Why?
P.S. Have an idea for an article you would like me to write? Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks and if you enjoyed this article remember to share it with those you know on Facebook, Twitter or email by pressing one of the buttons below!
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, there are more than 35 million adults in the United States who are non-native English speakers.
Many of these people are looking for work, to advance in their career and speak up and out for the causes they believe in. Non-native speakers can experience difficulties in developing and delivering their message when speaking to a group of people on stage, in a board room or during one-on-one conversations.
Non-native speakers might hear things like “I don’t understand what you are saying” or “Your accent is too thick” or “It’s hard to focus on what you are saying.” If you are are a non-native speaker who would like to improve the way your message gets translated into minds of those listening to you or you know someone struggling with their accent, here are nine tips you can use to improve the way you communicate:
Record yourself: Take the time to record what you are saying during your next speech or presentation. Then listen to it. Get a friend to listen to it. Identify the words that are hard to hear, understand or process. When you record yourself, you will pick up on things that you might not have noticed before.
Get a partner: Get someone to help you with your 2nd language who you trust. Someone who can call you out when you say a word wrong, aren’t pronouncing things correctly or using the right grammar. A partner can help you advance your communication skills by helping you see and hear the things you are not picking up on.
Be proud of your accent: Many of my non-native speaking clients say, “I need to get rid of my accent.” I think this is the wrong way to look at your voice. You should be proud of your voice and where you come from. You should’t get rid of your accent, you should embrace your accent. Keep the accent but make it so others can understand what you are saying. When you are proud, others will listen. This also will help you build confidence in what you are saying and remind yourself you speak two languages! Not many people can say that!
Be open to feedback: Listen. Listen. Listen. Ask around for feedback. When you are giving a speech or presenting a proposal at work, ask three or four of your colleagues to take notes and give you feedback on specifics you can improve on. Listen to what they say. Be open to asking for feedback anytime you are speaking to get better at communicating.
Find synonyms for words you can’t pronounce: There are words in English I have trouble pronouncing (I am no longer allowed to say prerequisite and familiarity in public). I avoid them at all cost. There are words some people cannot pronounce. You are not alone, just don’t use them! Find words that are similar to them and use those instead.
Speak slower: This is for all speakers and communicators. Slow down! Most of the time you are speaking too fast and it is distracting. It slurs your words together and on top of your accent it can be hard to digest what you are saying. Remember to pause, slow down and enunciate your words.
Practice one letter at a time: Find the letter that is the hardest for you to say (V or R or W or P). Practice just saying those letters over and over again. Pick words that have those letters in them and get your mouth comfortable with finding out how to properly say them without being distracting. Practice one letter at a time.
Find speakers you like: Find speakers who are speaking like you want to be speaking. Find speakers who might even have the same accent as you but are doing it the way you want to. What are they doing to get their message across or communicate in a way that people are focused more on their words than how they say them? Find speakers you like to feel more confident in knowing that if they can do it, so can you!
Practice everyday: Practice. Practice. Practice. Get good at practicing. Remember, how you practice is how you play so use these nine steps everyday to get better at speaking in your non-native language.
Please don’t think you ever need to get rid of your accent, you only need to focus on making sure you are speaking in a way that adds value, people understand what you are saying and enjoying your message. Keep using your voice to make a difference and as always…
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I had the opportunity to have lunch with one of my new favorite authors,
He is a military man with a good heart and has dedicated his life to study the art of communication. His new book gives, “…counterintuitive strategies for learning how to interact productively and meaningfully in today’s digital world.” Something we all can improve on!
Lose your friends!
Tumlin explains that, “Important relationship are being trumped by people you barely know!” Just because you hit the “like” button does not mean you are connecting. Humans are social animals. We need to feel connected. Tumlin writes, “Today it is possible to accumulate scores of friends and still feel lonely, be connected to hundreds of people and feel like no one is listening and spend hours at work, sending and responding to countless messages, but still feeling unproductive.” It is because we are focused on technology and not people. “The problem with a more tech-centered view of communication is that it encourages us to expect too much from our device and too little from each other.” You should start communicating more on a human bases so you can build real relationships, feel connected to others and feel like your voice is actually being heard! If you are feeling disconnected from others, lose your “friends” online who don’t add meaning or value to your life and focus on those around you. Tumlin says, “The main reason to prioritize isn’t to squeeze people out of your life; it’s to make sure that the most important people stay in it.”
In my opinion, communication is the foundation to all of your success. To many people are talking rather than effectively communicating! Talking is you getting your voice heard. Communicating is having all parties who are part of the conversation understand what it is you are saying! The better you are at being able to effectively communicate what it is you want, the quicker you will be at receiving and reaching the goals you have for yourself, your company and your family. Think about a relationship you have built over time, that you lost one time due to one or two sentences? If you stop talking and start planning on ways to react to certain situations, you might be able to build better relationships and create lasting ones. Stop talking and don’t focus on what you want to say, focus on what you want to accomplish. The better communicator you are the better relationship you build and the better life you have.
Ignore your (telltale) heart
When communication problems arise, many of us just want to start talking instead of preparing what we want to say. According to ProFound, last year, productivity losses resulting from miscommunication costs companies $37 billion, or about $26,000 per employee per year, in the US and UK alone. We need to learn strategies and techniques that can help us improve our listening skills, ask the right questions to produce the right answers and minimize miscommunication across multiple communication channels like email, texting, face-to-face and social media. When we are able to effectively communicate to others, we improve productivity, we create clarity and we save money. All strategic communications (including the unexpected ones) benefit from preparation. Take time to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it to minimize conflict, confusion and miscommunication between those you are speaking to.
His stature reminds me of a grandfather figure, his personality is a hybrid between Mr. Rogers and the male version of Betty White and he has more energy than most people do after their morning cup of coffee.
I had the opportunity to sit down with 88 year old Holocaust Survivor, Alter Wiener, at his home and ask him questions about life, Hitler and why one should use their voice to make a difference.
His book From a Name to Number: A Holocaust Survivor’s Autobiography is #57 on Amazon.com out of 47 million books. It is a book I would recommend everyone read and learn more about his story, the history of the Holocaust and how he is changing lives around the world by sharing his message.
We sit down for our interview and he asks if I want anything to eat or drink. I politely decline but then my wife Chelsea asks if she can get up and get him any water before we start. With a smile on his face he replies “If you wanted to offer me something, you should have done it in 1945!”
We laugh and start the interview. Time gets swept away as I am mesmerized by his stories, his authenticy and ability to replay the tragedies of his three years being tortured in concentration camps. The interview lasted hours but four things stand out that are reminders for all of us going though tough times or who struggle sharing their message:
“Don’t be bitter-be better.”
After spending three years in concentration camps, getting his teeth knocked out, facing months of starvation, having his entire family murdered (only four survived out of 128 members of his family) and living conditions so horrible sewer rats had better living situations then them, he realized he could make two choices after he was free. He could be bitter his entire life or get better. He chose to get better and not blame every German for the atrocities of Hitler.
If there is anything making you bitter in life, get over it. Decide right now you have the choice to get better and live a life of love. Love creates so many opportunities for all.
“There are only two races in this world, good people and bad people.”
It was hard for Alter to comprehend why Hitler would do what he did to so many, millions in fact, especially innocent children. He told me it does not make sense to hate, to have prejudice against others who look different than you, who act different than you or who do things different than you. Only focus on two races, those who are good and those who are bad and this world will be a better place starting tomorrow.
How are you judging people based on their identities?
“Appreciate what you have.”
For months Alter would go without seeing a flower, a child or woman. He was starving, overworked and in horrible living conditions that are incomparable. As we sat in his quaint apartment, he talked about how everyday and every moment he appreciates these small things he has in life that we take for granted everyday like a refrigerator, pockets, and everyday freedoms.
Look around you, what you can be thankful for today that you have in your life others don’t? Identify ten things that you can give thanks for no matter how big or small.
“I am not telling my story for me, I am telling it for you.”
Alter does not share his story because he enjoys it. In fact, it is incredibly difficult for him to relive his story. It causes him pain, suffering and takes him back to the worst part of his life. However, he shares his story because he wants us to learn from it. He wants us to appreciate life, to learn from each other, to give back and do more good things for our neighbors. He wants to share his story so something like the Holocaust will never happen again.
What story do you have? What message is inside of you that would help others live a better life? Share your story, your message and let others know they are not alone and their is hope in the world. Your story matters!
After the interview we talk about his age, abilities and how busy he is. He gives us that similar smile and says, “I don’t have time to die, I am too busy!” He is a man I will always remember and his story I will never forget. I am thankful I had the opportunity to meet Alter and I hope we all can continue to learn from his story, history and others who share similar stories.
Keep using your voice to make a difference and as always…
P.s. Share this article and let’s help Alter’s story stay alive and learn from his life lessons.