You Already Know This
After decades of print publishing, writing publicly was never a big deal for me. I didn’t have a shy moment about my first blog post. I still consider it fine writing. I did watch my stats to see whether anyone read it. Waited days on end for my first comment from someone I didn’t know.
But I was surprised to find the difference of having an audience show up soon after I wrote.
And there was the difference in how they responded.
When I’d been in publishing, people responding had always been responding from a work point of view.
This responding to ideas because they were important, interesting, thought-provoking, or intriguing was something new.
People were connecting by what they said.
Minds were meeting in what they typed and what they read.
It was different than print.
Words like conversation and community took on new meaning.
We explored what they meant.
It was different from print.
I began observing, testing, asking, listening, and learning.
Yet the more I started trying, less I was succeeding.
Then, I came face to face with the answer in a short note someone wrote on his own blog about my writing. He said my blog posts were so well written the only response he could come up with was “beautiful job.”
The blog posts I’d been writing were full, finished, final and composed.
There wasn’t much room for anyone to participate in them.
I began observing, testing, asking, listening, and learning again. What I learned were four keys to keeping the conversation open. These won’t surprise or stun you. You already know them. They’re what we all do when we talk to any person we value.
Do these four things and you’ll find people getting inside what you’re writing.
- Come down from the podium. Talk to your audience like a people who can listen. Let them be as smart as you are, even when they don’t know what you do.
- Don’t tie things up with a bow. Leave what you say a little unfinished. Don’t try so hard to ferret out everything on your bulleted list. Don’t ask and answer every question. Then your audience has room to add a word in. When a talking person fills in every idea and detail before anyone else talks, that’s called a speech. The response becomes applause or an awful silence.
- Blog your experience. Information is everywhere, but your experience of that information is unique and interesting. People respond to what you share that’s you. I don’t have to see myself responding the way you would for what you say to resonate.
- Care about what you’re saying. Care so much that you write without hesitation, without apology. Don’t shy away from the true north of what it means to you. Anything less is too complicated and makes me nervous for you. If you don’t care enough to put yourself into it, why would I care enough to read it?
- Make the ending satisfying and about them. Let them know again why they care about what they just read. If you end with a question, think about what you’re asking. Could you answer it? What sort answer are you expecting? As a reader would you take time to answer it?
Nothing stunning. It’s remembering that the people reading are people who want to connect with us not people who want to grade our papers. It all gets easier when we remember to let people be part of what we’re writing.
Have you found things get easier when you focus on the people reading?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!