That Would Be Great

Alexander-the-Great

In actuality, it probably wouldn’t be great at all. Not by a long shot.

I’d like all of us to give the word “great” its due. The Great Wall Of China is great. Alexander The Great Was great. The Great Books are great. Finding a cure for cancer would be great. Responding to an email isn’t great. It’s polite, it’s nice, and it may even be splendid, but it’s not great. Example: When we craft an email, give directives, ask favors, or request anything at all, why say something like the following when emailing a co-worker?

“…please make sure that the client gets the updated report, and it would be great if you let me know what their feedback is. Thanks.”

“Great??” THAT would be great? Really? I’m not preaching, because I’ve been guilty of this too. But if we want our words to have the impact they were designed to have, we have to stop watering them down. I’m working on this in my writing and communications too because I’ve been an egregious offender. If someone returns my email and I think that’s “great,” and I’ve communicated to them that taking this action would be “great,” then they think they just did something “great” by doing something they should’ve done anyway.

Here’s a revision of the above correspondence:

“…please make sure that the client gets the updated report. Please let me know what their feedback is. Thanks.”

This version is much better, to the point, no fluff and no killing the language.

When did returning a call, an email, or doing something that we should be doing anyway get equated with greatness?  My returning a call doesn’t parallel the discovery of the polio vaccine. So should I be thinking I’m as cool as Jonas Salk because I picked up the phone? No. But if I won the gold medal in the Olympics, that would be great.

The English language, while perhaps not the most beautiful-sounding language, is the most expressive language in the world. We have far more words–by far–than any other language in the world (approximately 1,000,000 words according to Merriam Webster). Don’t let that number daunt you. We don’t need to know them all. We just need to know the right words for the right situation, and we can go down in history as literary giants. Fun fact: In all of his writings, Shakespeare ‘only’ used about 30,000 words (which is still a lot more than most people use–and he coined about 1,700 original words. Talk about a wordsmith: he invented words!) His full vocabulary is estimated to be closer to 290,000 words that he comprehended. The average person who speaks English as a first language understands 10,000-20,000 words, but only uses 5,000! Let’s all try a little harder to leverage this amazing tool of communication better because that would be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

My English and writing are far from exceptional, so if you see errors, it would be great if you posted a comment. 😉

Thanks for reading!

www.PaulEdgewater.com

Smiles Make Money!

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When I was a teenager, I worked at a telemarketing company setting up appointments with homeowners for thermal window presentations. We were each given a very small cubical, a phone, a few torn-out pages of the reverse directory phone book, and instructed to call everyone up and down each street until someone said “yes.” One of the very few tools we were provided with was a mirror mounted directly in front of us, so we could see our facial expressions as we spoke with people. Underneath the mirror, there was a small sign that said, “smile and dial,” because people can indeed hear a smile in our voices. Try this with your friends. Speak on the phone with a smile and then without. Have them tell you when you are smiling. Invariably they will guess correctly. Remember, our clients can hear our smiles too!
It’s been said that a smile only has value after you give it away to someone else. That’s not just touchy-feely, tittle-tattle either; there is a plethora of hard, scientific data to back that up with facts.
A 2001 study from Jörn P.W Scharlemann shows that a smile increases trust amongst people by 10%. A 1991 study by Hinsz & Tomhave shows that when you smile, you get reciprocal smiles from 50% of people (pretty good odds!). A 1978 study by Tidd, Kathi L.; Lockard, Joan S., titled the “Monetary significance of the affiliative smile: A case for reciprocal altruism.” showed that service staff earned significantly more than their slack-faced, bovine-like peers. If you’re not sold yet, a 1952 study by Abel & Kruger suggests that smiling people outlived their forlorn friends by an average of 7 years!
The eyes are also powerful communication tools. More than that, our eyes tell people if our smile is genuine or not. A smile that engages only the mouth is forced. A smile that includes the eyes is real. These genuine smiles are called a “Duchenne” smiles, named after a 19th-century neurologist from France who figured all this stuff out. Also, make sure when you smile, that you proudly display your crow’s feet–we all have them! It’ll show the world that you are indeed happy to see them and that you have been smiling for a long, long time!
Let’s begin each day with a big smile, wear it on the way to the bank, and enjoy a longer and happier life.

Keep Going!

1My good friend and coach, Dave LaRue, shared a phenomenon with me that is common to many achievers:

“That worked so I well, I stopped doing it!”

At first blush, the statement seems whimsical or quaint, but it’s exceedingly profound. The lesson is consistency. Don’t let your drive to succeed be modulated like the AC/Heat on a thermostat (on and off and on and off, etc.). If something works, keep doing it and don’t stop doing it. Too many of us close the deal, lose some weight, achieve the goal, get the girl (or guy) and then stop doing the things that made us achieve those things. If we want to keep closing deals, keep the weight off, achieve more goals and keep the girl (or guy), we have to keep doing what got us those things in the first place, or they go away. Jim Rohn reminded us years ago, that if we don’t use something, we lose it. Disuse equals loss; every time. Personal development means growth and in order to grow, we can never go back to what we did in the past if it didn’t serve us. But if it worked, by all means, keep doing it and keep finding new ways to improve upon it!
For more information on Dave LaRue and his philosophy, click here:
https://www.thecommaclub.com
For more information on me, click here: http://www.pauledgewater.com

Thanks for reading!

Scratching The Itch In The Marketplace

©2013 Paul Edgewater All Rights Reserved

I’ve been an entrepreneur and small business owner for the better part of 30 years. Looking back at all of my successes and failures, one common theme has been at play; the marketplace always has the final say. The wants, needs and desires of the business owner are always ancillary. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of bringing a product or service that they love and believe in to the marketplace, without researching if there is actually a demand for it. Idealism is a risky proposition in business. Rewind to 1993 when I started my first company, Busy Bee Music. It was a recording studio. At the time, I was a performing musician and recording artist. I invested thousands of dollars in microphones and recording equipment, signed a lease on some raw commercial space, invested yet more into building the space out into control rooms, isolation booths, live rooms and so much more before I had my first customer. I mistook my musical passion for marketplace demand. I lost my shirt; and more. Being success driven and an entrepreneur at heart, I didn’t let this learning experience defeat me, but it wasn’t until I met my business partner and built a company based on the demands of the marketplace, that I felt success. Our current company, Busy Bee Promotions provides a service that all businesses desperately need; getting new customers. We are serving the marketplace and our positioning is rock solid; everyone needs and wants what we provide. If you are currently enjoying the success you expected, it is because the marketplace has responded favorably to your unique selling proposition. You produce a product or offer a service that there is a demand for and you’re marketing it correctly. You’re in small company as less than 5% of companies accomplish this and most are out of business within five years. If however, your company is struggling, it’s not too late to turn your ship around. Invest more time studying your marketplace. Did you open a business based on your passions and not market demand? I’m not suggesting that your passions aren’t shared by others, but if your product or service is too niche, you are limiting the growth potential of your company. If you are committed to your vision, one option is to expand your services or product offerings to be attractive to a larger pool of potential customers, or change your marketing approach. Pinpoint and market directly to your ideal customer, instead of trying to win over consumers who will never opt in. As a rule, it’s better business, and much easier, to scratch an existing itch than it is to create the itch. There are a few exceptions to this rule though. Look at Apple. Who on earth can honestly say that they thought the iPad was good idea when it first came out? Did you immediately want to run out and get one? Most people didn’t. However, after millions of marketing dollars spent by Apple, most of us want one; the itch has been created and Apple is scratching it (along with Samsung & Microsoft, et al). It needs to be said though that most of us aren’t worth $623.5 billion like Apple, so we’re better off catering to existing demand. After we’ve enjoyed a level of success where we can safely take some risks, we can incrementally introduce our more passionate ideas to existing customers. Who knows? You may become the next Apple!

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