“Being a good writer is not enough.”

I am slowly building my confidence towards building out my new blog.  Here something that helped me.

The fact that you understand grammar and syntax and even know when to “break” the rules doesn’t make you special.

What makes a writer special is her ability to be honest, to write what needs to be written, and to do so in such a way that it connects with readers. She puts herself out there, making herself available to her audience, building a rapport through generosity and friendship, and delivering quality work right into their laps.    Read more here…


Can a bad writer have a successful blog?

Its time to face the facts; I am a terrible writer.   I read the blogs of my classmates in a social media class and I just cant compare to writing abilities.   So this made me think, can a good speaker have a successful blog?  First things first I need to write about topics that I can truly get passionate about.  I’m sure there are others out there who have things in common with me.   I get passionate about the music of Paul Van Dyk, my family and helping people get there confidence back in life.   No more will I compare myself with the writings of others.   I want to share with you and post I found today.


Why Bad Writing is Essential to Good Blogging

I’ve been blogging for six years now, and in that time I’ve noticed something — anyone can do it.

At first, I thought that this was a good thing. But then I realized that every good thing has a shadow side.

So here’s the downside of the accessibility of blogging: It makes the already-terrible writers much, much louder.

There are too many bloggers out there.

How can this be a good thing for you?

For too long, the bar has been set way too low with millions of blogs contributing to the noise without adding anything substantive to the discussion.

Our fame-obsessed culture has driven teenagers and baby boomers alike to create their own blogs — all for the sake of being heard. They’re taking up space with half-formed opinions and rants, and it’s given the blogosphere an infamously bad name.

But now, there’s a new phenomenon: The prolific, mediocre blogger.

This person actually understands the basics of SEO and social media and can attract a decent readership.

The problem, though, is that their content sucks.

This probably drives you real writers completely nuts. But maybe it’s not all bad.

Here are three reasons why these awful wordsmiths can actually make you a better blogger.

Read the rest here….

Who likes you enough to help you get better?

John Acuff is a trendmous author and a acomplished speaker.  His new book challenges us to become a Quitter.   That should make you think.  The most valuable feedback I’ve ever been given was the toughest pill to swallow but the best to help me become a better speaker.  Enjoy…

Last Friday, from 9AM – 3PM I did something I’ve never done before.

I practiced a speech.

I’ve prepared 30 minute or hour long speeches before, but the Quitter Conference is different. I’ll speak for about four hours. I’ve never had to write that much content before. I’ve never had to take an audience from the start of an idea (How do you figure out your dream) through all the steps in making it happen, all the way to the end of the idea (Knowing when it’s time to jump into a dream fulltime).

And because I want to make sure that people walk away thinking, “I can’t believe that only cost $99,” I’ve jammed approximately 12 hours of ideas into that four hour block of time. It’s an incredible amount of content so last week we scheduled a full dry run with one of the AV guys at work.

It was me, him and 300 empty chairs in the conference center. Until my team leader walked in. (At Dave Ramsey, we don’t have bosses, we have team leaders.)

He came in between session 2 and 3, sat down and started taking notes. I talked to him briefly from stage and then launched into 30 minutes of content.

A half an hour later, we showed the last slide and Bill walked to the front of the stage. This is the moment where I get to see if Bill likes me or not. How will I know? If he’s willing to tell me ways I can get better.

I’ve had bosses or friends in the past that would have patted me on the back, strung together a few rosy sentences of encouragement and left the room. Not Bill.

He walked to the front of the stage and gave me three critical pieces of feedback:

1. I need to work on my cadence. Speaking for 30 minutes takes a different level of emotional intensity than teaching for 4 hours.

2. I need to break up the content with ways to get the crowd involved. I need to find ways to make the content more conversational. We’re going on a ride together that day and I need to make sure everyone feels like there is room for them to get in the car too.

3. I need to be careful about the workbook. We created a 40+ page Quitter workbook full of new material. I need to make sure that I’m clear with the attendees that the workbook is full of take home material not just “follow along during the conference” material.

Did I want to hear those pieces of feedback? Not really. I want to do things perfectly the first time and have people like Bill and Chris and everyone in the room just give me a standing ovation.

But that ego driven desire has to lose out to my heart felt desire to serve the audience. For me to get better at what I’m doing so that I can better deliver on that day. And that’s why I need people like Bill in my life who like me enough to help me get better.

Today, survey your own life. Who do you have in it that will tell you the things you might not want to hear? Who do you share your work with?

Who likes you enough to help you get better?

Photo courtesy Flickr/ybite

Be a ROCK STAR Presenter (Pt 1 of 3)

I wanted to share a great article written by Darren Hardy publisher of Success Magazine and mentor to many.  Please share this article with your coworkers, students, and friends.  Enjoy.

Success in today’s world comes down to your ability to sell your ideas, expand your influence and enroll others into a worthy mission or cause. That means you need to learn to present. In this 3-part series I will outline some key ideas to help you become a ‘rock star’ at it.

By the way, EVERYBODY is a public speaker. Maybe you’re presenting your ideas at an office meeting, interviewing for a new job, pitching your argument for why a new piece of office equipment is needed or trying to convince your friends which movie should win the Oscar. Whatever the situation, being able to speak effectively in public is essential to success.

A recent survey conducted by Distinction discovered that, of the executives and entrepreneurs surveyed, more than 86 percent said being able to present effectively has a significant impact on their income and success.

How to be Death-Defying
According to most studies, people’s No. 1 fear is public speaking. No. 2 is death. Doesn’t that sound insane? People would rather die than speak in public. That means if you go to a funeral, more people would rather climb into the casket than give the eulogy!

First off, let’s put this into proper perspective: No one has ever died giving a bad presentation… Well, except for President William Henry Harrison—he developed pneumonia after giving the longest inaugural address in U. S. history. Which I guess is our first lesson on giving a presentation—keep it short… or you might die… or at least kill the attention span of your audience.

Why we think speaking in public is an act of suicide—We come by this fear through our crazy ancestral brain wiring. You have to remember we have been walking erect for more than 4 million years. Even if you call “modern man” 6,000 years old, we have some long-living, deep-seated survival brain wiring that is really overinflated for our modern times.

We have learned that predators hunt in packs and their easiest prey are those who stand alone, without a weapon, on a flat area of land where there is no cover. What does that sound like? Yeah, standing on a stage, alone, in front of an audience, with all their eyes fixed on you.

Our ancestors, the ones who survived, that is, developed a fear-response mechanism to these situations. However, these days we are rarely chased by lions or attacked by packs of hyenas, making our fear-response programming out of sync with much of modern life.

You have to ask yourself, What’s the worst that can happen? Certainly death is rarely a consequence, so anything short of that leaves nothing to be afraid of, really.

Here’s about the worse that can happen… and it comes from my own chronicles in public speaking:

A while back I was giving a two-hour training to a group of a few hundred sales professionals. In the front row were a couple of women who kept smiling, giggling, elbowing each other and pointing at me. I thought, “Wow, I must have picked the right outfit for today! Man, I’m killing them up here.” I was encouraged so I got even more passionate and animated in my presentation. Near the very end of my talk I looked down and realized that my fly had been open the entire time. What was worse is the entire audience noticed that I noticed. I quickly put on a face of comic surprise and everyone roared. Then, as the laughter died down, I leaned against the podium, nodded knowingly, and said:  “Remember this, of all the sales strategies, tips and tactics we talked about today, none of them mean a thing, unless you remember to close” and with that I zipped up my fly. I got a standing ovation and for years after that presentation people discussed whether or not I’d planned the whole incident.

Who Cares? (Certainly not the audience)
Someone once told me, the reason why there is NO reason to be nervous is that people care far less than you think. Think about the last time you were in row 30 of an auditorium or in the corner of a boardroom or in the back of some dreary classroom trying desperately not to daydream or fall asleep. You think they are hanging and judging you on your every word, when in reality their greatest hope is that you are close to ending.

Remember this: They’re not judging you as much as you think, because they don’t care as much as you think. I think knowing this helps enormously.

If some disaster does happen, something explodes or you trip and fall, at least you know you will have more attention from the audience now than in the 30 seconds before. Now you can use that attention to do something good. Certainly, whatever you say next will be remembered. If nothing else your tragedy will give the audience something fun and funny to share. The laughter from that story will do more good for the world than most anything your presentation might have done anyway. Meaning again, look, it’s not a big deal, really. The only one making it so is you. It’s all self-imposed fear conjuring.

No More Jitters
You might find it helpful to know that some of the most successful and famous public speakers have the same ancient brain wiring issues we all have.

  • Mark Twain, who made most of his income from speaking, not writing, said, “There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”
  • Elvis Presley said, “I’ve never gotten over what they call stage fright. I go through it every show.”
  • Bono, of U2, claims to get nervous the morning of every one of the thousands of shows he’s performed.
  • Thomas Jefferson was so afraid of public speaking that he had some one else read the State of the Union Address. George Washington didn’t like speaking either.
  • Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Barbara Walters, Johnny Carson, Barbara Streisand have all reported fears of public communication.
  • Even Aristotle, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Jack Welch and James Earl Jones… and as we now know, the former King of England, all had stutters and were nervous speakers at one time in their lives.

So, hey, if you are a bit nervous, you are in good company… and there is a great chance you can still be stellar at it.

Who Do You Think You Are, Anyway?
Here’s another tip someone shared with me about being nervous before speaking. If you are nervous that means you are being an egotist—making yourself way too important. Instead you should be making this about the audience. Think about them, their hopes, dreams and ambitions. You are there only to serve them. The spotlight should be on them, not you. When you take the spotlight off yourself and make what you are there for about them, not only does your nervousness go away, but you also empathize and connect with your audience better.

What do you do to overcome nervousness when speaking in public? Share your best practices with the community in the comments below.