Name one time that you felt like you were
–ME “Liz” Strauss
You ought to Work with Liz!!
–ME “Liz” Strauss
You ought to Work with Liz!!
You might remember back to the Metaphor Project. About that same time Jan Circular Communication, one of the winners of Lorelles’s Book, and I began a dialogue about writing the fact that English is not his first language. I wondered whether he would be interested in writing a blog post about the experience. He agreed with enthusiasm. His blog post came in days.
In a lovely circle of communication, I’m pleased to say that as I put jan’s post up now while he’s running a virtual interview with Lorelle and me on his is blog.
As everyone else does, I want somewhere to belong, but my community should not be defined by where I am or by which language is my mother tongue. Since community is about commonality we have to have something in common, but it should be what interests us not geography or language. Communities are (in my opinion) built through communication where language shouldn’t play the main part.
If the community is inviting and including, language will play practically no part as long as we make ourselves understood. However it is a fact that you get what you give, so working on your communication skills, including your language skills, will not only benefit others, but also yourself.
With my native language I only would reach a fraction of the world population. My native language is only spoken in one country and practically unknown outside its borders. Even adding in languages with similarities, my own language it is simply not the best basis for gaining a readership and building community, since the number of blogs would be a whole lot less. It wouldstill be possible to build
a position within that language, but I would be left with the feeling that there was an immense audience out there that could have been mine.
Although you could claim that getting started blogging in itself is like learning a new language, there’s no reason to limit your learning to this aspect. I’m optimistic enough to believe I can learn in at least three areas through my blog: the format, the content and the language.
I started blogging because I wanted to relearn things I learned during my education, but rarely use. I practically lost English because I didn’t use it. I decided to include it in my learning endeavor. So the language and content will mostly be relearning while the blogging will be actual learning.
What I have found so far is reaching out in a foreign language enriches my experiences. I guess you could say that the conversations from which you learn the least are those with yourself — almost as bad are those with people like yourself. Only if you go beyond that will you really add to your learn exponentially more. Besides communicating with people from other countries, not to mention continents, is fascinating.
If you want to interact with your local community you simply go out the door and participate in the activities, but if you want to interact with other cultures around the world blogging is surely the next best thing to actually going there. Besides does one not exclude the other. A number of bloggers travel to come together just as a number of people blog when traveling.
Thankfully is writing in English more a challenge than a struggle for me. Had it been a struggle it would be about trying to string sentences together, finding the right words and making myself understood. The
challenge, on the other hand, consists of bringing in more elements, being more precise and generally taking advantage of the opportunities that English offers to those who seek them. If it was a struggle I would probably have thought twice about it, but since I like challenges I didn’t need to think long before deciding.
If you are unsure whether your language foundation will hold up, I would recommend that you begin reading and commenting on blogs in the language you are considering. This will give you practice and introduce you to what could be possibly be your future blogging community.
Remember that the basic language skills isn’t the goal, but just another stepping stone. Hence I certainly have to keep working on my writing skills as will you. Even if you try adding to your vocabulary, using metaphors, analogies etc. and being as precisely as possible. We probably never learn to write like someone writing in their native language. The fact that we will never reach perfection should never be a reason for giving up though. After all, how many things is it really possible to be perfect at? What counts is the effort you put into it and believe me people recognize effort when they see it. Since you probably will not see your own mistakes there really isn’t any reason to get obsessed with them.
To sum up I think there are compelling reasons to blog in a foreign language. You will learn that language better; you will expand your horizon; and you will get to know people who you would otherwise never know. In order for it to work does it require a little more than the basic language skills, a willingness to continuously work on making it better and first of all a strong desire to reach out.
In the process of putting this together, Jan asked at the beginning if I would edit and send back the article before I posted it. That’s exactly what happened. With his return email, he suggested I might add some end notes about the edits that I made. So here they are.
The edits I made were for clarity or differences in verb construction.
Thanks, Jan, for a great look into a special kind of blogging!
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Here’s how it often works. He says. She says.
I say, “Sure you do. You’re just not seeing it.”
If you’re stuck finding out, sorting out, what you love doing, my experience is that what you love doing is so obvious that you can’t believe it is worth counting. Let me tell you about Martha.
Ah Martha, her desk was like it belonged in a magazine. If she wasn’t in her office, folks thought she was out for the day. Everything had its place, and you could bet it was there. Soft-spoken, gracious Martha had a smile that lit up the department of 32 people and thousands of pages she kept track of. Marha was a sea of calm in a world of publishing paper clutter.
For her performance review. I asked Martha to do a self-appraisal. Martha reached outside herself to find many things that she did well and wrote them up in excellent fashion. All of the qualities I described above were missing.
When I asked her about it, she said, “Oh, anyone can do those things.”
I replied, “No, Martha, folks aren’t nearly as organized as you are, nor are they as calm and gracious.” That turned on her room-lighting smile.
I said “You love organizing things and all of us, don’t you?” Her larger smile told the story.
Martha didn’t see what she loved or her most valuable qualities. She discounted them because they were was something that was a natural talent. We tend to discount what comes naturally to us as not as valuable because we didn’t “earn” it. Yet, Martha’s talents were what kept my department working smoothly and without friction. To this day, I miss her.
She didn’t see it because it was obvious and so natural to her.
Yet everyone else knew how valuable her talents were to them.
If you don’t know what you love doing, ask those folks who rely on you. Look at what you do as second nature. Think of those defining qualities and the things that you always do and would be nervous or bummed if you could no longer do them. I can’t imagine Martha not being allowed to organize things.
What can you not imagine yourself not being able to do?
Not long ago when talking with the other founders of SOBCon, I said, “I have to be the keeper of the vision.” I explained it in this way, “it’s not ego. It’s not about control or the name of my blog. It’s what I do. It’s what I’m good at. It’s in my DNA. I can’t NOT do it.”
What’s the thing you can’t NOT do? What’s imprinted on YOUR DNA?
C’mon and say it out loud.
To follow the entire series: Liz Strauss’ Inside-Out Thinking to Building a Solid Business, see the Successful Series Page.
Yesterday I met with a new friend. At one point in the conversation, we were talking about that one “wicked sentence.” It’s the sentence that people say about us — an observation that is so off the mark — but it’s one that a whole group believes is true.
For years mine was, “You think you’re always right.”
My answer, “No, I know what’s right for me.”
Hers was, “You’re a phony.”
Her answer, “No, I’m sorry that you feel that way.”
I mentioned a friend who often heard, “You are manipulative.”
I said, “She isn’t at all. She cares about people. She never makes choices for them. She only offers to pass on information they might need. She won’t even gossip.”
My new friend told me, “My daughter came home from school at 5 years old asking whether she’s fat.”
She said, “She’s not, and I told her. I said, ‘You’re beautiful,’ but I knew my daughter would have to get to believing that from inside herself.”
Everyone seems to have at least one “wicked sentence” that people try to hang on them. Mine finally fell off my radar a few years ago. It faded when I learned to show up with more than just my thinking. When I put my heart in it my thoughts, people heard who I am.
That one “wicked sentence” doesn’t stand a chance against a whole person.
What wixked sentence is/was yours? How do/did you answer it?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Is your business stuck? Check out the Start-up Strategy Package Work with Liz!! Liz can unstick you and make your business sticky. You can afford it. Really, You can’t afford not to.
Where we left the conversation, DAWUD MIRACLE asked me (and you),
What do you feel is necessary to create an effective strategy to promote a business?.
Wow! I’m grinning. Okay, Dawud, you’ve got me now. Strategy and promotion in one question. Hmmmm. I bet my readers will do better than I do on this one. Maybe I’d better unpack the question first.
Strategy . . . I’ve always liked the idea but forth in the book, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant. Much of why I like it is in the title — find an uncontested space where competition is not. The idea is simple. . . . Why swim in the shark invested blood-red ocean where the fight is always on? Why not swim in the calm blue ocean where I can be a category of one?
For once in my life, maybe the fact that I’m different (you are too — right?) can be a fabulous plus if I turn it to my advantage. That’s a strategic thought!
Strategy for promotion . . . As I look back I see a two-part blue ocean-type strategy that has been a part of tpromoting the business I’ve built behind Successful-Blog.
A great product is its own promotion. I’ve created unique value my ideal customers love. The Perfect Virtual Manager — even the concept that we all deserve a personal manager as a rock star might have — has been helping entrepreneurs, small businesses, and a corporation or two take a new look. We’re working as partners to focus their business and find their ideal customers. The PVM is a one-of-a-kind business support structured around a foundational plan I’ve built during 22 years of training people who teach.
The new series, Inside-Out Thinking, in like manner, is unique in an Internet of “me too” content. It promotes itself. The series is something readers need and hasn’t been offered before. The series provides the hows and whys about building a solid business foundation and finding the ideal customers who love what we love to do. By conceiving and designing from my own experience and proven track record — yours might not be where mine is, but you have yours — I’ve created something others cannot also create. They can follow, but they can’t duplicate it.
Open Comment Night, the Virtual Conference last March, this one2one conversation that we’re sharing are all value offerings that I can create unique customer value. Soon enough as I focus my content in the areas that reflect what I’m particularly good at discussing, my competition begins to fade.
Promotion. Promotion is easiest when you ask cusomters to choose between two options:
Here’s my most effective promotion strategy.
And since this is a one2one conversationâ€¦ to Dawud, (and you too)
How important is strategy to your business? How does your strategy get built?
If youâ€™re reading this, Iâ€™d love to hear your answer too.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!
One2One is a cross-blog conversation. You can see the entire One-2-One Conversation series on the Successful Series page.
Noticing the purpose of a list — who it serves — establishes who values it and for how much. Lists of blogs can be useful or empty. When we build one, it helps to be sure we we know our intent. Andy Sernovitz passes on a great message in his book World of Mouth Marketing, and he also said it at SOBCon07.
Think about link lists. The key to offering a link list that adds value, not just noise is in its intent and usefulness to readers.
An outstanding link list offers readers
Link lists that serve readers attract relationships as well as backlinks.
A Word about Link Trains Link trains and other meme lists can offer a quick jump in statistics. However, they do this by making forced links — links that didn’t happen through the natural passing on of content. Though the intent may be generous, such meme-lists often get extended without review. They can become a list of blogs compiled to gain rank and without regard to the quality of the list.
Some lists are meant to gain backlinks, page rank or authority may garnering more traffic. Yet the traffic that comes finds a content empty list. So the traffic doesn’t stay. A blogger can start building more lists to continue getting traffic. It’s about traffic not readers. Content has gone away.
Resource lists are organized to offer relevant and focused resources to readers. These lists require work beyond coding to exist. Most of these lists are generated by research, formed from the opinion of bloggers, result from a test or algorithm, or are the product of a group project.
Here are 15 examples organized by type.
A list of resource links with ancedotal information makes it easier for readers to find the useful bit and move on. Offering resources that make life easier is a service worth offering. Finding ways to organize the list to help readers save time is a sign of respect and service they’ll notice.
Have you seen a remarkable link post? What sort of link posts do you appreciate? Which ones get you to click away as soon as you see them?
— ME “Liz” Strauss
Can you list the reasons to Work with Liz? Too many. It’s such a good idea.