The air conditioning in my car was busted. It was 97 degrees and humid. But I had somewhere to be 90 minutes away, so I got an icy drink and went for it.
Boy, was it hot.
Once my body got used to the heat, I realized a few things about driving with the windows open.
You smell things. Food, farms, flowers, people doing laundry. Some aren’t very good smells, but some are great!
You feel things. Wind in your hair, dust in your eyes, sweat dripping down your temple.
You are closer to others. I said “Cute dog!” to somebody on the sidewalk. And heard the lady in front of me singing “Thunder Road” into her water bottle microphone. I also shared a camaraderie-infused thumbs-up with a fellow windows-open road warrior.
I arrived sweaty, and perhaps slightly dehydrated, but feeling very much alive. Invigorated even!
We are lucky to live during the Age of Air Conditioning. When we can cruise around in cool, serene, noise-insulated comfort.
But sometimes we should put down our windows.
And let people see us.
And stick our arms out and wave.
And be sweaty and real.
Especially when it comes to the words on our websites.
Here’s to letting people in, and waving at pup-destrians.
Do you ever think, Hey, I should _________, and then not do it because you’re scared?
But increasingly, I ignore my internal censor and do weird, embarrassing things.
I share my Peanut M&Ms with the gas attendant. Granted, it’s mostly because I don’t want to eat the whole bag myself, but still.
I tip people with random things in my purse, like bananas, apples and Kind Bars, because I never have cash. (I’m actively trying to keep cash on me, because this is ridiculous.)
Sometimes, when coffees are $1 at Wawa, I buy an extra one and give it to someone. The mail lady, the lawn guy, a crossing guard.
I run outside (like it’s Christmas morning) to meet strangers’ dogs as they walk by.
If I see someone and think, “Wow, that shirt is so cute” or “What a great haircut,” I go over and tell them.
Sometimes, I put my foot in my mouth. Like the time I told a guy his necklace was cool, only to find out it wasn’t a necklace. It was a tracheostomy hole. Sometimes, people think I’m nuts. But most of the time people smile and we start a conversation.
In hindsight, I realize some really great friendships have begun this way.
When we’re weird (and potentially embarrassing), we open ourselves up to a lot more connection. Worth it! I’m not saying you should be a total weirdo on your business website, but a little authenticity goes a long way.
It’s chilly here in New Jersey. And what better to do than snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie?! “Moonstruck” is one of my all-time favorites — funny, charming, with Cher AND Olympia Dukakis…come on! — and I just realized what a valuable business lesson it has.
Many of my clients are creative professionals and web designers, who sometimes feel pressure to justify their prices to clients. But I think we should all take a lesson from Cosmo Castorini.
The clients who don’t understand the value of the copper pipe will figure it out eventually. (How many clients have found you after multiple tries with other service providers?) Or they won’t. But the right clients will respect the value you bring. It’s not your job to justify. You just need to do an awesome job installing the copper pipe for those who appreciate it.
You (and your services) cost money because you save money. Got it?
P.S. Need someone to help show off your fine-tuned abilities? Let’s talk.
You might say, “But Frankie Valli is 84 years old. There’s no way he could be good in concert.”
Well you’d be just-plain-wrong.
I went to see Frankie Valli with my parents in Atlantic City. The audience was dancing and singing. His backup singers were alight with energy. The people-watching was beyond all expectation (I have never seen so many women in leopard print or fringe). The whole atmosphere was warm and fuzzy and joyous. I’m telling you—you could feel it!
Undeniably, Frankie Valli has a confident command of the stage and a voice like no other.
The poise that comes with experience…
The authentic, unique voice that nobody else has…
The work ethic and unwavering commitment to delivering for your audience…
That stuff is ageless. It’s what we pay for. Because it’s so, so, so special.
Trends, new competitors, new technology and new needs come and go. But HOW you show up to them—with your voice, your confidence, your commitment—those things sell tickets and make people dance.
If you bring you to everything you do—you don’t really have any competition.
On the way to dinner, I stopped at the wine store. The man behind the register said, “Can I help you find something?” I asked for a particular Chianti—my parents’ favorite.
“Head to the third aisle. It’s halfway down on the left.”
Then he added, “If you don’t see it, just yell ‘Alan.’”
This last statement made me giddy.
I’m a person who, in new situations, rarely knows what the heck to do next. I’m the girl asking, “How does this work?” pretty much everywhere I go (frozen yogurt stores, train stations, car washes). Heck, I need an instruction manual to open a gate—and if the nice employee at Trader Joe’s didn’t teach me how to grind coffee, I still wouldn’t know. So when people provide me a next step, it just lets me EXHALE.
Next steps are so important.
Let your website visitors know what to do. Guide them. Help them exhale.
Gates aren’t my specialty, but inviting web copy—that I can handle expertly,
P.S. Want to talk about the possibilities of working together? I offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Just email me and let’s pick a time.
I was telling a friend (who trains service dogs) about how I think we should talk to people in elevators instead of ignoring them. He thought I was nuts.
The next day, I got a message from him:
Hey Deidre. So I was at the mall today with some dogs. I got on the elevator and a woman got on with me. She seemed upset. I was thinking about you so I turned to her, smiled and said hi. She told me that her dog had died yesterday. She asked if she could pet the dogs. I said yes and when she was done, she gave me a hug too. I would have never done that had we not talked about elevators. Just thought you should know that you made an indirect impact on someone’s life. It gave me a warm fuzzy too; that smile I had when she hugged me felt really good.
Whether it’s in an elevator, in the supermarket line or through your web copy, it’s all a chance to connect. Take the chance. Say the thing you want to say.
Going up? I’m here for you,
P.S. If you want to help amazing people make amazing service dogs more affordable to those who need them, check outAmazing Tails, LLC.
Last night I saw an opera for the first time: La Bohème.
At the conductor’s announcement that we could follow along with the English translation on our smart phones, I rolled my eyes. Can we do NOTHING without our smart phones? I would rely on my two semesters of Italian class, so there!
Majorly confused after the first act, I decided to get over my stubbornness and go digital, and let me tell you—my engagement with the experience was much deeper. Knowing what they were singing about made a huge difference. Duh, Deidre.
You’re putting so much passion into your opera. (Brava!) Translate it into your audience’s language…so they can really get it.
Yesterday I pulled my car up to the pump and said to the gas attendant, “Can you fill it with regular, please?” Then I laughed and said, “Gosh, you must hear that a million times a day!”
When he came back to my window, he said, “Do you know what I hear more than that?”
I looked at him curiously.
“I hear, ‘Fill it upregular.’ No please. Most folks don’t say please.”
I said, “Oh my goodness! Well, please and thank you a million times for all the people who forget.”
In the busyness and rush to get places and do things, we sometimes forget our manners. But the truth is, a little bit of gratitude fills us all up.
Whether verbal or written, there’s always room for kindness in our words. If you need website content, newsletters or blog posts that will fuel your business and always be polite and authentic, let’s talk.
12 Sparks to Write Sizzling, Audience-Attracting Website Words
You’ll also get my un-newsletter: quick, monthly tidbits with be-authentic, write-authentic tips that will hopefully make you smile.