“I help people” … but so does everybody else

How often do you see in written bios, and hear in business networking meetings, “I/we help people/clients to…..” ??

I help people...

Do you fall into the “I/we help you…” trap?

Of course there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a good way to start off for a number of reasons. That’s why so many of us use the “help you” way into the introduction. Then what happens?

We get the death of a good word, and the birth of a cliché

[Read more…]

How to sharpen up your blogs and articles with one quick chop

Have you ever looked at something you’ve just written and thought, “that first paragraph isn’t needed?

No? Well, maybe you should. Even we pro writers often go back and chop off the first paragraph or even two, and let the blog, article or other piece of writing start a few lines along, when we really get down to business.

chopping branch of tree

Either leave preambles and back stories out altogether, in a box, or at the back.

When your writing engine is still running cold…

It’s a bit like when you start your car on a cold morning. I know most modern cars have automatic chokes, but you still don’t get the best performance from even a late model Bentley until the engine has warmed up. [Read more…]

Branding: who needs a logo when you wear glasses?

How seriously do you take branding for your business? OK, if you’re Coca Cola or Kellogg’s it’s very, very serious and you don’t have a choice. But for those of us running rather, er, smaller enterprises, do you realise that branding is just as important?

Now, those of you who know me personally know that I don’t do fancy, but I do branding, sort of, for my meagre writing business. Here, therefore, is the “living logo” that has been working very hard for me for the last six years:

Suzan St Maur's glasses

Who do you think of when you see a woman with a mop of short, blonde hair and big black glasses? And don’t you dare say “Maxine...” I don’t do hats. LOL.

Why a pair of glasses for branding, when I’m a writer?

[Read more…]

Some alternative conversation starters for networking events

Recently I tripped over an article I had saved a few years ago about conversation starters to help break the ice at business networking events. Given that a while has passed since the article was published I thought I would use its thoughts as a basis for a, er, new article on how to create a little fun with business networking conversation starters today.

comedy article about business networking

“Hello. Is this your first time at this event?”

With many thanks and commiserations to the original author of this article: I would love to have credited you properly but as my admin systems are a mess, voilà. Sorry. Message me and I will make amends. Promise.

My evil thoughts about the following:

1) “Well, while we’re here, I might as well introduce myself.” Give them a dark look, then say “I was just on my way to the toilet. Shall we go and introduce ourselves there?” [Read more…]

How bad writing will cost you sales opportunities

Today we welcome sales expert Niraj Kapur, who quite rightly spits fur and feathers about the way wannabee business suppliers ruin their chances with prospects due to writing the wrong words in the wrong way. Over to Niraj…

We’ve all experienced this truly bad writing

bad sales writing

Don’t talk about yourself. Write about how you deliver benefits & help prospects.

You connect with someone interesting on LinkedIn and they sent you a terrible sales pitch.

You ask someone at a networking event to send you information and it’s full of attachments, all about them and nothing to benefit you.

You attend an exhibition and the sponsors send you an impersonal automated email within minutes of your leaving their exhibition stand. [Read more…]

Great writing tip from Ann Handley, top US content expert

Please welcome the one and only Ann Handley, content head honcho of the famous US site MarketingProfs.com for which I once had the honor of being a columnist (and whom she named “Little Wacky.” Probably because I am, er, a little wacky.) 
Ann is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author with her brilliant book, “Everybody Writes,” and writes an incredibly useful and entertaining bi-weekly newsletter called Total Annarchy. Here’s an excerpt from the current edition which I really wanted to share with you. (Below you’ll see her in action live in this video, but don’t forget to read her tip below!)

Hey, Homeslice!

A friend asked me to look at a few chapters of a book he’s writing. It’s a strong book with a strong premise. But he’s struggling with making the writing equally buff. [Read more…]

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