Don’t Use that Tone with Me: How to Set the Right Tone for Your Website

Your mom was right: Your tone matters. And now that most business introductions happen online, it matters more than ever.

That’s because your website represents your business personality. Without the luxury of personally greeting every online visitor, you’ve got to rely on your website to do the talking.

But this is about more than just your words. This is also about your tone.

That’s because just as important as what you say is the way you say it. Your tone speaks volumes about who you are as a business.

Think of your tone as your online body language.

Without proper attention to tone, your business personality might get lost in translation. For example, a technical expert might come across online as cluttered and stiff. A warm, enthusiastic professional can be misconstrued as amateurish. Unfortunately, the wrong tone can turn away prospects.

So how can you set the right tone for your website?

Let’s take a peek at the process we followed for a Houston-based cyber security company, Elevated Cyber Security. Its website at www.elevatedcybersec.com is a dead ringer for the personality of the company.

#1 Define your identity and purpose.

We asked many questions of the company, starting with this fundamental question: “Who are you?”

We quickly learned that all four leaders are military veterans with over 15 years of IT experience. They tackle cyber security with the same hard-hitting approach and uncompromising values that defined them in the military. And they’re certain that this is what distinguishes them from other cyber companies.

With an identity this well-defined, the tone that is needed for their website was clear. It should be bold, tough, and straight-shooting – with lots of references to their military background.

Here’s how the company is introduced in the “About” page.

Let’s start by getting three things straight with your cyber enemies.

They’ll have to get through us to get to you.

And we’re not intimidated by cyber battle.

We’re military veterans who have been winning in combat for 20 years. Our team started out serving together on the USS Pioneer back in the day. That’s what shaped our values.

We’re also security experts with different perspectives of the IT industry. Government contracts, large oil and gas corporations, small and midsize businesses. Collectively, we’ve seen it all.

#2 Know your audience.

Next, you’ve got to really understand your ideal clients – to know what makes them tick. We asked the company several questions like, “Which of their deepest needs can you fulfill? What are their fears? Why might they hesitate to hire your company? What misconceptions might they have of your company?”

The leaders at Elevated Cyber Security honed in on their target clients. They described them as small to mid-sized business leaders who have a few common misconceptions: They believe their backup systems are sufficient and that they wouldn’t be able to afford more protection. They also think they’re too small to be a cyber target anyways.

The company leaders explained that they needed to instill some necessary fear. They wanted to shake these small businesses out of a false sense of security.

Armed with this insight, the same bold tone was used to squash these misconceptions and to inspire action.

Here’s an excerpt from the home page.

Do you have tough skin?

Good. Because you need to hear the truth about your security.

90% of small and midsize businesses don’t protect their data. Even though data security is their top concern.

That’s a big mistake.

Because 62% of cyber victims are small and midsize businesses like yours. And 60% of you will go out of business within 6 months of an attack.

Tough skin isn’t enough to do business anymore

You need to protect your data with intelligent security solutions that you can afford. Because you can’t make a mistake with your data.

And here’s the rest of the “About” page.

We know their strategy.

We’re not fooled into thinking you’re an unlikely target. The hard truth is that 62% of cyber victims are small to mid-size businesses just like yours.

They’re gunning for you.

They know you don’t have the same resources as a large company. They know you think you’re okay. So they’re banking on the fact that you’re not prepared.

But there’s one thing they don’t know . . .

You have secret weapons.

Teaming up with us means leveraging the same weapons and tactics as a larger company. Even with a smaller budget.

Because this isn’t about sexy solutions. This is about honest results.

We won’t hold back or sugarcoat your situation. Good or bad, you’ll know what shape your network is in. You’ll understand your options. And then we’ll take swift action.

Together, we’ll execute internal network security, external network security, data protection, and compliance and training.

We’ve got your back. We’re at your front line. And we’re at your side.

Let’s do this.

#3 Be consistent.

When you know the best tone to represent your identity, apply it to every page of your website. Take every opportunity to reinforce who you are and what you’re all about.

That means crafting a great first impression on your “Home” page . . . .

Military Grade Protection for Your Data

This is headquarters for small and midsize businesses who want intelligent security solutions. We’re a team of military veterans and security experts who deliver straight talk and honest results.

. . . And it also means not overlooking opportunities like your “Contact” page. Even here, you can communicate your value.

Your enemies don’t take a break, so we won’t either.

Contact us any time. We’ll respond within 24 hours.

 

A lot goes into finding the right tone for your website. Start by defining your identity and purpose, knowing your audience, and being consistent. This way, your website will hit the best tone for your target clients!

 

EllaElla Ritchie is the founder of Stellar Communications Houston, a business communications and book publishing team that brings clarity, quality, and integrity to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook, or check out the website for more information.

 

Advertisements

Author Interview: Co-authors work up laughter and hope in a self-help gift book for unemployed readers

Front coverUnemployment was no laughing matter for Roni Elayne Singer and Nancy DePrimo Zuromski. They both endured the shock and sadness of losing a job at the same time, and now the duo – both back in the workforce  – are setting out to help others.

Front cover

They are co-authors of a new gift book, Over 50? Menopausal? You’re Fired!!! It’s the humorous tale of Penny Pinkslip, from the humiliating day that she is fired through the five stages of losing a job and to the triumphant moment of accepting a new offer. Packed with colorful drawings and practical tips, the purpose is to provide beneficial job seeking advice and equal doses of hope and laughter.

 

Here, Roni (pictured above left) and Nancy (above right) reveal more about their own experiences and their new book.

Let’s get straight to the heart of the matter. You call unemployment a “rocky road.” What was it like for you?

Roni: It was the worst time of my life. I’ve actually been through several layoffs, but it doesn’t get easier. In fact, each layoff was worse than the last. To make matters worse, my husband left me while I was unemployed, so I had to find a new place to live. I can’t image anything worse for one’s confidence and self-esteem.

Nancy: One of the drawings in the book shows Penny walking with shackles on her ankles. That is exactly how I felt during each layoff.Penny Pinkslip in shackles

What would you say was the worst part?

Nancy: For me, the worst was not being able to say goodbye to the many employees who were not only friends but extended family. And, of course, knowing my income was just slashed.

Roni: My lowest low was being escorted out of the building. It happened to me twice. I was treated like a criminal, walking through the corridors with everyone looking at me. It’s truly humiliating and demeaning.

Nancy: Yes. I was escorted out of one oil and gas building where I had worked for over 15 years, and I remember looking down at the white lines in the driveway on my way out, knowing I would never see them again. My son had painted those parking lines when he had “worked” alongside me during one of his summer breaks to learn office skills.

Roni: Unfortunately, the inhumane treatment doesn’t stop there. I was surprised to discover that some people in Human Resources are nice, but most don’t want anything to do with you until they need you. They didn’t return phone calls, and I never knew if they were considering me as an applicant or if they even received my application. It felt very disrespectful.

Do you have any take-aways from that difficult season?

Nancy: I was surprised to learn how many other women in administrative roles were in the same situation as myself. This ah-ha moment made me realize that I must advance my skills so that I may move into another type of employment. I also learned not to take the incident personally and to remember that this was only a business decision, not a failure on my part. And I’ve become confident in the fact that, while I may be over 50, I am capable to offer employers years of experience, common sense and dedication. I’m no longer constantly worried about being laid off because I have proven to myself time after time that I am able to brush off the lint and become employed again.

Roni: Having experienced the heartache of being over 50 and job searching, I am now much more compassionate and empathetic with those who are looking for a job. I’ve also learned patience because the wheels of hiring move very slowly. And I’ve found out that I’m stronger than I thought I was.

Of course, another take-away is this new books of yours! Tell us how such a great collaboration emerged from such a terrible time in your lives?

Roni: The idea for a book came up during what Nancy affectionately calls a “girlfriend check,” our way of staying in touch ever since we became instant friends in 2003 in a performing choral group. It was during one of these “girlfriend checks” that Nancy and I realized we were both facing unemployment at the same time.

Nancy: I mentioned that I had started writing a book about my job search, and Roni piped up that she had started writing a book on her job search too! From there, we compared notes and decided to collaborate.

Roni: For me, it started as emotional therapy, just writing down my thoughts. Then, I was able to put a humorous twist on it. After collaborating with Nancy, we found we really have something good here and that pushed us forward. We were able to take a terrible situation and put a funny twist on it and, at the same time, keeping it very real.

Nancy: We had a common bond of sadness over our circumstances, but it also felt natural to work together because our personalities, the way we see the world, and our senses of humor are so similar.

Speaking of your sense of humor, your title is pretty bold. How did you come to the decision to name it Over 50? Menopausal? You’re Fired!!!

Nancy: We wanted something that was both accurate and attention-grabbing. We’ve seen so many others in our same situation.

Roni: Even though we’re joking about menopause, all people over 50 will easily relate to the book. Many men have read the book – a few have even endorsed it – and they’ve found that even though they can’t relate to the hot flashes, they can definitely relate to the emotions of being laid off. Penny’s lessons are truly unisex.

The book has some great artwork. Tell us about that.

Roni: As a technical writer, I always use graphics to visually describe what I’m writing. So it was a no-brainer for me that this book must have great graphics. Our extremely talented illustrator, Kathy, did a fantastic job in capturing our message exactly.

Nancy: Yes, we wanted to show everything that Penny was going through, even down to lamenting the “dust bunnies” under her bed.

Penny Pinkslip cleaning dust bunnies.png

What was it like to publish your first book?

Nancy: Being close friends helped with the ups and downs. We agreed that no matter what happens with this venture, our friendship is what matters most. Successes come and go, but true friendship is priceless.

Roni: Yes, we’ve always been very consider of each other. If we think we said something hurtful, we always talked about it. We bounced ideas off each other and laughed a lot! I can’t think of a better co-author.

Nancy: That’s why no part of the process was difficult. Not like a colonoscopy – now that is difficult! Between Roni’s unbelievable writing ability and our continuous communication, sprinkled with some times of hesitation and laughter, we’ve been able to create a gift for others who find themselves in this situation.

What has been the most surprising thing about publishing?

Nancy, laughing: That it’s actually being published!

Roni: I love this book and am proud of what we’ve done. But as therapeutic as it has been, I’ve found that it still doesn’t take away the emotional and financial pain that was suffered during more than 2 ½ years of unemployment.

That’s why we love that you’re sharing hope and wisdom with others. Do you have a bit of wisdom you want to share here?

Roni: I found networking groups to be the most helpful. They reminded me that I was not alone, and the people there were always very supportive. They are the ones who kept me focused and sane through the process. That’s why I stay in touch with them even though I’m gainfully employed. I want to help others with their resumes and interviewing skills like others helped me. I don’t want anyone going through what I went through.

Nancy: I recommend online training exams similar to those offered through Houston Unemployment and most temporary employment agencies. Testing has always been difficult for me, especially when it’s a make-or-break exam to land employment! So being able to sit in the comfort and peace of my home and challenge myself, by myself, built my confidence so that taking the placement exams elsewhere was easier. I also want to mention that even after we become employed again, we should always be ready for the bottom to drop, even when things seem to be calm seas. Unfortunately, in this economy, no position is safe from downsizing.

Any parting words for your readers?

Roni: I hope you will be able to see yourselves in this book – to see that there is a happy ending coming.

Nancy: Yes. Even at the lowest time in your lives, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As a Master Spiritual Healer, it is my hope that this book will bring enlightenment to those who may not be able to see the rainbow light at this time in their lives. You are not alone as long as you reach out to others for help.

Thank you, Roni and Nancy! We’re certainly not alone now that we have Penny in our lives. To read the hilarious (mis)adventures of Penny Pinkslip, or gift it to someone you care about, we invite you to visit the following links:

Purchase the book

Check out the book announcement

 

EllaElla Ritchie is the founder of Stellar Communications Houston, a business communications and book publishing team that brings clarity, quality, and integrity to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook, or check out the website for more information.

Roni Elayne Singer headshot

Roni Elayne Singer is a trainer and technical writer in Houston, Texas,
with two grown children and two grown dachshunds. She enjoys singing, playing piano, cooking and being with her family and friends. Over 50? Menopausal? You’re Fired!!! is her first book. You can find out more at https://www.pennypinkslip.com/ or by emailing  Roni at pennypinkslip@gmail.com.

 

Nancy DePrimo Zuromski headshotNancy DePrimo Zuromski  is a financial account representative and
lives with her husband in Kingwood, Texas. She has two grown sons, three grandchildren, three cats and enjoys spoiling her family. Over 50? Menopausal? You’re Fired!!! is her first book. You can find out more at https://www.pennypinkslip.com/ or by emailing  Nancy at pennypinkslip@gmail.com.

Five Business Communication Tips from “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter”

Let me begin by saying that this isn’t a political article. The truth is I’m not a very political person.

But I am passionate about communication. That’s why I make it a habit to observe the techniques of the Presidents of the United States. No other position faces the monumental challenge of rallying the support of an entire nation. So when they do something that works, I pay attention. You might remember my 2016 post about Obama’s speechwriter that examined his use of emotion in stirring people to action.

Now let’s take a look at “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter.” Political views aside, here are some noteworthy business communication tips that we can take from the publication.

Trump contract both pages

Identify your target audience.

Trump contract audience

The title lets readers know right away this contract is for “the American voter.” Identify your audience to help you stick to content that matters most to them – and to become instantly relevant to your ideal clients.

Be clear on your unique value proposition.

Trump contract uvp

Honesty, accountability, and change within 100 days – this is the overarching promise that Trump makes to American voters. Be upfront with your audience on where you’re heading, how you’ll get there, and what results they can expect. What statement are you willing to boldly promise in writing to your clients?

Organize material into bite-sized portions.

Trump contract organize

Subheadings and bulleted lists provide an instant face lift to content. That’s because they take the burden off the reader by serving as a mini-directory of topics. Now your readers can skim and jump to their favorite parts rather than sludge through a wall of words. By grouping your material, you’re also adding white space and eye appeal. Just be sure your readers understand your intent even when they skip parts of your material.

Make it personal.

Trump contract sig

Trump’s signature and a space that invites “your” signature adds a personal touch indicating that this contract is between the President and you, a single voter.

Keep it simple.

Trump contract border

Because the material is so direct and weighty, the formatting is kept simple. The content is outlined in two pages using just a few colors, one image, a simple page border, and a website to learn more.

As you write and design your business materials, keep these five tips in mind for the most effective business communication!

Ella.jpg

Ella Ritchie is the founder of Stellar Communications Houston, a business communications and book publishing team that brings clarity, quality, and integrity to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook, or check out the website for more information.

8 Pro Tips for Your Best Book Signing Event

The staff at River Oaks Bookstore knows about book signings. Since their doors opened in Houston 45 years ago, the booksellers have handled more than 3,000 book events for authors. That’s why their feedback on Bill Herrington’s book event last week mattered.

Their unanimous response? “It was one of the best events we’ve had,” they all said. In contraflow-cover-mockup-front.pngfact, book sales tripled their expectations.

It’s no wonder. Nearly 60 friends, family, and colleagues had streamed into the cozy shop to celebrate Contraflow, Herrington’s memoir about the leaders who provided hope to New Orleanians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The evening was a culmination of years dedicated to shaping his eyewitness experience into a compelling tale.

So how can you ensure the same positive experience for your own book signing event? We teamed up with the author to share some pointers.

bill-ella
The publisher with Bill Herrington, the author of Contraflow

 

Tip #1: Align yourself with a publisher who is an advocate for you.

An advocate will provide the accountability and encouragement to see your project to the end. “From my endorsements to my book event,” said Bill, “Ella has pushed me to go further than I thought possible. I was initially hesitant to host an event, but my philosophy became, ‘Go big or go home.’”  

Tip #2: Define your goals and expectations.

Book events typically result in few sales, so don’t make the mistake of measuring your success solely by numbers. Set realistic expectations by shaping the event around your original goals. What were your reasons for writing the book in the first place? Whether you sell more or less books than you hope, this is an opportunity to bring these goals to life beyond what was accomplished in the pages of your book.

“In my case, my primary goals were to share my story with family and friends and to honor Houston leaders,” said Bill. “These two goals were even more important to me than making sales. So we based every detail of my book event on these two goals.”

Tip #3: Plan your format.

Decide whether you prefer a casual signing or a more structured format that designates a time to share a formal reading and in-depth thoughts. Be sure to mention the plan in your invitations so guests know what to expect.

Bill said, “I decided that my two-hour signing would be a come-and-go event on a weeknight. I liked that people stopped by at different times after work to grab a book, say hello, and mingle. However, there were some downsides, like the fact that some were pressed for time and had to leave before my speech that was given midway through the evening. So you really have to think about what you want.”

Tip #4: Choose a fitting location.

Consider a venue that maximizes your ability to accomplish your goals as well as your guests’ ability to attend. A bookstore is a solid pick because it has ample space and staff experience to accommodate a book event – and it’s usually in a recognizable location. Most stores keep a portion of the book sales in exchange for handling logistics like tables and chairs, book purchases, parking, and refreshments.

For Bill’s signing, we chose River Oaks Bookstore because it provides a charming atmosphere in the heart of Houston. Bill said, “I visited the shop before the event to introduce myself, ask questions, and scope out the space. I like that a small shop can make even a small event feel well attended. If you prefer to not share a percentage of book sales with a store, another idea is to host your event at a spacious home.”

Tip #5: Arrive early to arrange your materials.flowers.jpg

Bring plenty of books, a display stand, and several fine-tipped black Sharpies for easy signing. Set out business cards and a stack of press releases that can be left with the bookstore as promotional materials. Name tags and Sharpies are useful if you’re welcoming people from different social and business circles. Finally, keep a water bottle on hand to keep your throat clear.

Bill said, “Colleagues sent flowers, which turned out to be a nice touch as a table centerpiece.”

If you want to get creative, you can also display photographs, a slideshow, or other materials related to your book. Some authors choose to have their book cover, author portrait, book title, and name enlarged on a standing poster board. This might be worthwhile if you plan to host future signings.

 Tip #6: Plan your message.

When it comes to your written message, choose the page of the book on which you’ll sign, which might differ in your paperback and hardcover formats. Be ready to ask for names and spellings, try to personalize the message, and sign your name legibly. If you don’t know a guest well enough to write a personalized message, consider a signature phrase, such as “Much appreciation” or “In gratitude.”

This is also a great time to express verbal thanks for your endorsers, family, and community members who contributed in some way. Guests attend these events because they want a personal connection with you as the author, so think about how you can take this deeper than what they can read in the book on their own. Consider telling about how you made your choices on content or cover design, or explain your emotional journey in making your book. Aim to keep it short – no more than 15 minutes. Bill said, “You’ve got to practice and rehearse what you’re going to say. The only thing I wish I’d had was a podium to glance down and remember everything I wanted to say and everyone I wanted to recognize.”

Tip #7: Recruit others.

Before the event, ask friends and family to mention the book event online to drum up curiosity and potential sales. Then ask them to arrive a little early at the event to help welcome guests and make them feel comfortable. Designate a friend or two to take photographs at the event. Afterwards, offer to sign some copies to leave at the bookstore as an incentive for them to sell.

Most importantly, pay attention to your guest list. “I didn’t send an Evite to everyone I know,” said Bill. “I invited people whom I trusted would bring a positive, supportive energy for an enjoyable evening.”guests

Bill offered a few more tips on inviting guests. “You need to spread the word yourself. The only people who will come to your event are those you bring,” he said. “So invite the centers of influence. Invite people from your circles far and wide. Invite them even if they already own your book because they may want their book signed or may want to buy more as gifts. Like any party, you’ll want to invite more than you think will come because about 20 percent won’t show up. And don’t be afraid to send a reminder – people have good intentions but might forget because they’re so busy.”

Tip #8: Make it fun and interesting.

Showcase another guest of honor or a product that you think would interest your guests. Because Bill’s book was about paying tribute to city leaders, he invited former Houston mayor Bill White to share a few words about his role in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Not only was Mr. White relevant to the evening – he added credibility to the book.

We also coordinated with Mr. White to display his own book, America’s Fiscal Constitution, along with a bowl to collect names for one complimentary copy. This added an element of fun for guests but also brought attention to Mr. White’s book as a gesture of thanks.

After a long journey to publication, you don’t want to miss out on the satisfaction of a successful book event. So follow these eight tips and then – in Bill’s words – “Go big or go home!”

 

Ella7_croppedElla Ritchie is the founder of Stellar Communications Houston, a business communications and book publishing team that delivers quality, integrity, and reliability to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook, or check out the website for more information.

 

Author portraitAs a corporate banker in New Orleans for 20 years, Bill Herrington actively supported community education alongside his wife Frances, a teacher. In Contraflow, he uses his unique perspective of the extraordinary leadership witnessed after Hurricane Katrina to raise funds to support the education of youth impacted by natural disasters or family tragedies.

 

The dirty little secret about hiring an editor

secret girl on blue background. Red lips trendIt happens in almost every conversation with a client. And when it does, the moment is palpable.

A CEO burrows his brow in uncomfortable silence. A new business owner laughs weakly, shifting awkwardly in her chair. An author wipes away tears, apologizing for the unexpected emotions.

These were all real moments with clients. And although each reacted differently, their reason was the same.

They felt exposed.

You see, what people don’t know about working with an editor is that it’s a pretty intimate process. And if it’s done well, you’ll almost always be found out.

What I mean is that an editor – a good editor – is trained to find your gaps, your blind spots. And she’ll poke and prod those areas to make them better for you. She knows that the only way to make your good stuff better is to dig deeper than you – to dive in to the places where you aren’t so sure about yourself.

And a client – a good client – has the humility to respond, revealing what is beneath the surface. He might admit a flaw. He may confess a doubt. He’ll likely hear feedback. And he’ll certainly feel vulnerable.

No doubt, this process takes some guts. But here’s the thing: It’s worth it.

Your corporate brand, your personal story – they’re both about who you are and what you want to share with the world. Hiring an editor means that you want to share it with authenticity and meaning – and that you’re willing to experience some discomfort to get there.

And so, with a little prodding, the CEO realizes that he hasn’t articulated his vision to himself yet, much less to his people. The new business owner admits that she isn’t confident in her process yet, even on the eve of her website launch. The budding author acknowledges that a memory is painful to write about, but agrees to go there.

And your editor? She’s smiling gently inside, thinking, “Now we’re getting somewhere. . . .”

Ella7_croppedElla Hearrean Ritchie is the owner of Stellar Communications Houston, a business communications and book publishing team that delivers quality, integrity, and reliability to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out the website for more information.

4 Reasons to Publish in 2016

Happy-New-Year-Greetings-Best“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night telling itself stories.” – Jonathan Gottschall

We love stories. They grab our attention, inspire us, influence our worldview, and teach us new things. Best of all, everyone has a different and interesting story to tell.

That’s why we’ve added nonfiction publishing to our services this year. Our team can’t resist the way books bring out the best in our clients and the people around them.

Is there a story that you have been waiting to tell? Here are four reasons that 2016 is the year for YOU to publish your book.

#1 Share your story

Have you overcome any personal or professional obstacles? Have you followed a unique and exciting career path? Share your personal legacy with people on a similar journey who are hungry for your insight and wisdom. Plus, you can then cross “write a memoir” off your bucket list!

#2 Expand your business and influence

Everyone from YouTubers to actors to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are writing books. That’s because it’s an impressive way to build your brand and create name recognition. It’s become the Holy Grail of business cards – and it establishes your industry expertise far better than a traditional business card ever could. Today, with the development of assisted publishing, the Holy Grail is actually attainable.

#3 Create awareness for your cause

Are you struggling to build support and momentum for your non-profit organization? Writing a book about a cause or an idea that you are passionate about can help inspire and spur others to action as well. Your stories and statistics will educate and move your readers to take compassionate action.

#4 Showcase your professional accomplishments

Maybe you’re not ready to publish a book but do want to improve the image of your company. Consider smaller forms of publications like case studies, fresh website content, updated business cards, improved operation manuals, or brochures and reports with graphic design.

The possibilities – and the rewards – are limitless. Books can widen your influence, grow your business, share your passions, and polish your professional image.

Get out there and tell your story!

KSauer
Kristen Sauer is a writer and editor for Stellar Communications, a Houston-based publishing company that provides business communications and book publishing services for nonfiction authors, businesses, nonprofit organizations and other publishers. Follow us on LinkedIn or visit our website for more information.

A Simple Lesson from Obama’s Speechwriter

united_states_of_america_640
Courtesy of http://www.freeflagicons.com

It all comes down to one thing: emotion.

That’s what Cody Keenan told the Today show this morning. He said that communication comes down to simply creating emotion. And as President Obama’s speechwriter, he should know.

Keenan is the one who stirred laughter in the 2009 White House Correspondents’ Dinner remarks — and then stirred sobering respect in Ted Kennedy’s eulogy. He was the one who called for national unity in Tucson in 2011 when Gabby Giffords was shot.

And he is the one who stayed up this morning until the wee hours, putting the finishing touches on the State of the Union address that Obama will deliver tonight. Keenan has been applauded for creating the right emotion for each circumstance, and he’s worked hard with Obama in hopes that they’ve created it again for the nation.

So what does this mean for business leaders?

As you face 2016, consider the primary emotion that you want to inspire in your people. Peace, security, clarity, gratitude . . . . Think about the one thing they need most from you this year.

With this emotion in mind, rethink the ways you communicate in your personal and professional life. What’s working? What can be changed to create this emotion?

Here are just a few ways you can change your communication to inspire change in others:

  • Create peace by boldly talking about the elephant in the room, forming and documenting a resolution plan, and regularly checking progress.
  • Create security by keeping promises, regularly updating clients on projects, accepting ultimate accountability, and requesting online endorsements to prove your track record.
  • Create clarity by forming a mission statement, writing clear job descriptions and expectations, posting answers to FAQs, and providing a clear plan of action.
  • Create gratitude by steadily expressing appreciation for others in every situation.

When you focus on emotion, every form of communication becomes an opportunity to motivate and inspire others.

What emotion will drive your communication in 2016?

Ella Hearrean Ritchie is the owner of Stellar Communications, a Houston-based publishing company that delivers quality editing, writing, and publishing services on time to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out her website for more information.