I always knew there was a secret to writing. Who knew it was as simple as this?
I have always been a fan of Shel Silverstein. Since my first read of, “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” I have admired his work. I learned many of life’s lessons on his stark and gritty pages.
Last night, while reading with the kids, I came across this beautiful poem, a jewel amongst the snarky rhyming couplets and occasional illustrated bottom:
There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.
From: Every Thing On It
You can chalk this up to another life lesson learned from Silverstein. It’s not the end that we look forward to when it comes to life. It’s this part here in the middle that matters, warts and all. I am thankful for my middle…and all the people that give it joy.
May you have a very happy middle and a Happy Thanksgiving!
Found this on my Facebook feed (thanks Missy Cretcher) and knew I had to post this. It addresses women writers in the headline, but I think these concepts apply no matter which door you choose at the public restroom.
Print it out and keep it where you can see it everyday. And keep up the good work!
Poor, poor Peeface…
It used to be, back in the day, that Typos were a problem for writers, printed publications, and secretaries. Nowadays, in the world of social media and email, Typos are everyone’s problem.
Everything you write is about communication. When you make a thoughtless mistake, it’s distracting from what you wrote. Typos take the reader out of the experience and force them to judge you. To avoid this, you must proof—and preferably before anyone else reads it.
Well, at least there aren’t many words in paintings.
A while ago, I confessed that I have a long and tortuous relationship with Typos. I implored others to help me with their tips on how to catch Typos. My readers did not disappoint. I found out some great stuff.
So in the spirit of sharing and keeping emails, resumes, business writing, and cat video explanations error-free, here are additional ways to proof better BEFORE you hit send:
Matthew Steele, this is IT:
“Another way to catch typos is to save your article in PDF format and then open it in Adobe Reader (free) and go to View > Read Out Loud > Activate Read Out Loud, then click where you want it to start reading. It’s a monotone voice, but if you can put up with it, hearing it read to you while you read is a real help.”
Monique Huenergardt, Freelance Author’s Editor, Copy Editor, and Proofreader:
“Change the font style and size, and then reread it. The “preview” function in Blogger serves the same purpose; I almost always catch errors I didn’t see in the draft.”
Writu Tandon, Business Operations Specialist Advance with State of New Mexico:
“In my case, a ‘second pair of eyes’ saves me. Whenever possible, I show my work to my coworker or a friend. Otherwise, I email it to myself, and for some unknown reason, when I receive it in my inbox, I read it more objectively and am able to find ‘most’ typos.”
John Wurtenberger, President and Business Development Engineer at WURTEK:
“One thing my mom taught me when I was a kid was to read my writing backward, word for word. This gives the eyes and brain a different perspective, allowing some misspellings and typos to jump out that we would normally miss.”
If you want a refresher in how I proof, you can hear my radio interview on proofing resumes here.
So THAT’s why real estate is so much cheaper in the Inland Empire!
It’s not easy to proof your own stuff. One need only read over my past posts, to know that typos are alarmingly pervasive in today’s quick to publish genres. I would argue, however that learning from someone like me has distinct advantages, not the least of which is that I am just an ordinary sinner when it comes to proofing. Asking for proofing advice from someone who is perfect at proofing is like asking a cat how to make a video that is both cute and viral. They don’t know…so they can’t tell you. Plus in this case, cats can’t talk, which just creates more obstacles to knowledge.
I know firsthand that this is true. When I was in college, I decided to be a music minor. My parents were overjoyed, by the way. I guess they were so glad that I had something to fall back on in case my Theatre Major didn’t pan out for me.
As an illustrious Music minor, I had to take Music Theory (business school types: this is how you write actual music on a staff for instruments and voices and stuff). Part of the class that was particularly challenging to me was called ear training, a lab portion of the class where you listen to notes and have to write them down on the staff as played.
To be honest, it took me longer than it should to see this one!
IF the idea of this class bewilders you, then you know exactly how I felt. A professor with perfect pitch, a rare gift where the possessor knows exactly the notes and key just by hearing them, taught my first semester. Needless to say, he wasn’t much help to my complete ineptitude. He was generous, however, as he gave me a C, although I sincerely doubt I earned it.
The next semester, however, the professor who taught this portion of class had also struggled with ear training. He was a far superior teacher, because he had to teach himself. He knew how to talk to the clueless, like me, because he had also been clueless at one time.
Is number 6 gluten-free?
Because of the ear training course, I am living proof that an absolute idiot can get better at almost anything. So no matter how abysmal you are at proofing your own emails (posts, marketing copy, resumes, novels, letters to your mom), you can improve. To start the process of improvement, however, you have to take the first step.
Seems a little extreme…
I challenge you to try one of these methods above and let me know what you discover in what you thought was otherwise a perfectly acceptable email. Only this time, you will see the blunder before you hit send.
For many more hilarious Typo Memes, see “30 of the Funniest Typos of All Time” at weknowmems.com.
Terri Lively is a career marketing professional that has unique experience in the areas of messaging and client relations. Terri helps her clients break through the clutter by injecting a bit of humor into the business world. For the past 15 years, she helps her clients create marketing materials that effectively communicate their message and get results, across all types of media. More about Terri can be discovered at www.terrilively.com.
I love this. I found it on Pinterest, along with a fantastic board about Freelance Writing. I followed it immediately.
Sadly, my fiction isn’t getting anywhere these days. I am happy to report it’s because I am writing a lot of non fiction (which I also enjoy!).
If you are working on your novel/screenplay/YouTube series however, I thought this might help!
I have posted about Typ0s before. Now I am talking about it on Radio Shows!
Hope this helps you catch those elusive Typ0s today.
The Winner is always part of the answer,
The Loser is always part of the problem.
The Winner always has a program,
The Loser always has an excuse.
The Winner says, “Let me do it for you,”
The Loser says, “That’s not my job.”
The Winner sees an answer for every problem,
The Loser sees a problem for every answer.
The Winner says, “It may be difficult, but it’s possible,”
The Loser says, “It may be possible, but it’s too difficult.”
When a Winner makes a mistake, he says, “I am wrong,”
When a Loser makes a mistake, he says, “It was not my fault.”
A Winner makes commitments,
A Loser Makes Promises.
Winners have dreams,
Losers have schemes.
Winners say, “I must do something,”
Losers, say, “Something must be done.”
Winners are a part of the team,
Losers are apart of the team.
Winners see the gain,
Losers see the pain.
Winners see the possibilities,
Losers see the problems.
Winners see the potential,
Losers see the past.
Winners are like thermostats,
Losers are like thermometers.
Winners choose what they say,
Losers say what they choose.
Winners use hard arguments but soft words,
Losers are soft arguments but hard words.
Winners stand firm on values but compromise on petty things,
Losers stand firm on petty things but compromise on values.
Winners make it happen,
Losers let it happen.
Football is back. I know because I practically developed bedsores from watching games this weekend. We follow college and pro so that makes for a long weekend around here. We like football like Jon Gruden likes quarterbacks and snarl-smiling.
It occurred to me, however, that football players have it easy. Sure, there are the painful injuries and constant pressure to cause injuries to others. And don’t even get me started on the importance of nailing the celebratory trademark pantomime, for the pros anyway. Football players do have it easy though because they have a team of officials there to let them know when they have done something against the rules.
Consider your last sales call. When you made an egregious error, did anyone blow a whistle? Throw a flag? Discuss it with five other people in detail? Unless your manager was there for a ride-along then probably not…but that doesn’t mean you didn’t make an error and that it didn’t have consequences.
If you read my posts, then you know that my game strategy is all about filling in the blanks for salespeople and managers. To that end, here is a list of proposed penalties for sales calls.
Phony almost never sells a widget—unless it’s a con. Chances are, you aren’t a con artist, so be the best version of yourself you can be. That’s when you are going to succeed in building relationships with your customers. Wearing a mask of what you think your client wants you to be almost never works in your favor in the long run. Save the mask for performance art performances by your neighbor’s kid or family parties with your in-laws. Give your clients the good stuff and you’ll be the MVP, most valuable partner.
Listen, hustle is a great thing. All the captains of industry have it. But hustling right into your pitch at a sales call is obnoxious. Be sure to start your business by asking questions, both open and closed types, to get a feel for the room first. If you sense that your client or prospect would rather get down to business, then by all means, have a natural conversation that gets them to say, “So why don’t you tell me why you are here today?” Most clients know how to do this if they are busy and don’t want the full chitchat session; let them carry the ball here. Besides, you may learn things in your opening questions that require an audible at the line of scrimmage. Don’t miss out on these important clues because you were talking when you should have been listening.
Delay of Game.
Don’t you hate when people are late? So do your clients. Plan your day with extra time built in so you are never the one holding up the meeting. Being prompt and getting the sale go together like Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.
You need to connect with your prospects and clients and build a relationship of trust that can foster opportunities for growth. How you connect touch-wise, however, needs to be businesslike. Stray too far from businesslike touching and you might end up in court, or at the very least off the account. Personal touching allowed in a sales call should be a short list; handshake, occasional touch on the arm, and if you have a good relationship established, maybe a hug. If you do go for the hug however, make sure that you do the torso-separated kind with your hands in safe territory of the upper back. Anything lower is, well, illegal.
If you are in a particularly glamorous industry or Italy, you might need to do cheek or air kisses. I have never been able to pull this off without looking like a dork, so I avoid the cheek or air kiss at all costs. If you are taking on the challenge of a cheek kiss, be sure that it is dry. No one likes a slobber spot on his or her cheek to start off a meeting.
Calm, cool, and collected. No matter what is coming at you from the other side of the desk, counter, or headset, your job is to keep it from escalating. Those listening skills I mentioned before are critical. You should be all ears for this verbal exchange because you will likely find out how you can make your client happy, which is your ultimate goal here. Customers, clients, or prospects have needs and wants, even when they are spittin’ mad. So learn what those are and be polite, even if they aren’t. If you lose your cool, you lose the account. Game over.
If a football player so much as puts a toe out of line (literally) there are whistles, flags, and men in black and white running from the four corners of the field, who define the problem and assign the penalty. Players benefit from this even though they don’t always appreciate it because then they know not to do it again, at least not when the officials are looking.
Football players, in this respect, have it easier than you and I. We mostly never know the real reason that a client or prospect penalizes us with their BFN (big fat no).
Wouldn’t it be great if you had someone there to officiate your sales calls? Just imagine how your client or prospect would jump when the ref blew that whistle in the conference room. Talk about being memorable!
But since we live here in the real world where football players have all the lucky breaks, including their including their tibiae and patellae, you are going to have to be your own ref.
I think you are up to this task. After all, you’re a man; you’re 40 (or you’re a woman, which makes you 29)! So go out there and show them that you are the champion and keep on fighting ‘til the end. Hustle, hit and never quit because pain is temporary; pride is forever. Show them why you do what you do, what you are made of, and how you are going to go the whole 9 yards for them, every time. Whatever you do, play hard all 60 minutes and leave it all on the field.
Are you ready for some sales calls?
What penalties have you seen in sales calls? You make the call in comments below.
Terri Lively is a career marketing professional that has unique experience in the areas of messaging and client relations. Terri helps her clients break through the clutter by injecting a bit of humor into the business world. For the past 15 years, she helps her clients create marketing materials that effectively communicate their message and get results, across all types of media. More about Terri can be discovered at http://www.terrilively.com.
“They will rejoice. They will sing. In movie houses all over the world, in the eyes and hearts of my kids and other kids, mothers, fathers for generations to come, George Banks will be honored. George Banks will be redeemed. George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in real life, but in imagination.
“This is what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.”
— Walt Disney, from Saving Mr. Banks
by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith
This movie was on the other night, and I caught the end. Although I have seen it before and didn’t even see it from the beginning, I still found myself tearing up and searching for Kleenex during these final scenes.
After I had got myself together, I ran the DVR back three or four times to get these final thoughts written down from lyrical and poignant storyteller, Daniel Wallace.
So when you are working today, ask yourself:
What stories will I leave behind?
From Big Fish:
“Have you ever heard a joke so many times you have forgotten why it is funny. Then you hear it again and suddenly, it’s new. You remember why you loved it in the first place.
That was my father’s final joke, I guess. The man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him…and in that way he becomes immortal.”
Big Fish, by Daniel Wallace