Making Dreams Come True

Darren Rowse, ProBlogger

Darren Rowse, ProBlogger

Today’s post is a great video to help you get your dreams happening. It is a presentation by Darren Rowse from ProBlogger, delivered at the World Domination Summit held in Portland, Oregon in July this year.

First of all, how great is it that there is actually an event called the World Domination Summit? Looks and sounds like a terrific forum full of inspiration and ideas that I’ve placed on my wish list to attend some day.

I saw Darren Rowse speak at Clare Bowditch‘s Big Hearted Business Conference earlier this year and I’ve followed him on Twitter for some time (@problogger). As a new blogger, I’ve found Darren’s advice to be incredibly honest, practical and generous. His successful blogs and the communities he has fostered are amazing examples of what is possible. Darren proves that what goes around comes around – if you put great energy out into the world, the opportunities and positivity come right back to you.

So check out Darren’s thoughts on making dreams come true.

Please note: This video is almost 50 minutes long, so get yourself a cuppa and take some time out to imagine what is possible for you. And make sure you watch right to the end as Darren invites a very special guest on stage.

Thanks to Big Hearted Business for providing this link.

What can you do today to make your dreams come true?

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Handling Work Conversations With Family and Friends

lamb roastImagine this scenario:  Jenny and Bill had 15 people for dinner at their place recently to celebrate Christmas in July. Jenny was busy with preparations for weeks leading up to the event and Bill was determined to get the house and yard looking great – as well as cooking his famous roast lamb.

The guests began to arrive and Bill was pouring champagne. It had been a busy start to the year for him and Jenny had started a new job, so it was great to have time to stop and catch up with everyone.

‘How’s the business going Bill?’ each guest would ask in turn.

‘Pretty good – busy,’ Bill would respond.

‘What about you Jenny? How’s the new job?’ they asked.

‘Fine,’ said Jenny. ‘I hit the ground running.’

And on they would move to the next topic.

Both Bill and Jenny missed a great marketing opportunity here.

Bill could have elaborated, ‘Our numbers were down after Christmas and New Year, so we launched a new software product that is particularly helpful for services providers like doctors, accountants, lawyers. Our new clients are really loving it. I’ll flick you an email next week in case you have any contacts that might be interested.’

Jenny might have said, ‘Yes I started as office manager for a local group of health practitioners. It’s a great bunch of really experienced and energetic physios, sports medicine specialists, a podiatrist and a nutritionist. The business is growing fast so my job is challenging, but in a good way. We’re looking for new premises soon because we’re running out of space.’

In just ten seconds, Bill and Jenny might have told their guests a lot more about their work which may even had generated some business, advice or assistance. You see among their guests were:

Harry – a real estate agent with back issues
Bella – returning to work at a law firm and wearing heels again was agony
Simone – an architect who recently ran her first marathon and is looking to do more
Stuart – a struggling artist from a family of medical specialists
Peter – an accountant who is looking to lose 25 kilos, starting tomorrow
Kate – has 1,200 friends on Facebook and 1,480 Linkedin connections.

Many people are reluctant or even embarrassed to tell their family and friends about work. They think no one will really understand what their do so they don’t bother explaining. They might not want to be seen to be ‘talking themselves up’ or ‘getting a big head’.  They might be concerned about conflicts of interest or jealousy. Maybe things are not going so well and they don’t want to worry people? Or perhaps they don’t want to think or talk about work in their down time?

But you just never know where and when you might come across mutually beneficial opportunities or a way to help each other out – professionally as well as personally.

Tell them your story in a quick, informative manner – you don’t want to be a bore. Then ask them about themselves until you have a clear picture of what they do and who they do it for.  It would feel great to be in a position to send some business to a mate or put a family member in contact with someone great.

Think about your recent gatherings with family or friends. Did anyone ask you about work? If not, why? If they did, how did you respond? Do you think your mother, or brother, or best friend could describe what you do for a living? If not, have a conversation soon so you can help share each other’s stories.

Communication is Key for Kyneton Community & Learning Centre

The Kyneton Communication & Learning Centre, Mollison Street, Kyneton

The Kyneton Communication & Learning Centre, Mollison Street, Kyneton

I was a very proud Marketing Coach on Sunday when one of my clients, Kyneton Community & Learning Centre (KC&LC), celebrated their 25th anniversary with fun, food and music at a Community Open Day.

Kyneton is a thriving country town between Melbourne and Bendigo in regional Victoria. Kyneton Community & Learning Centre provides a range of services covering education, care and community services for participants of all ages from Kyneton and the wider district.

KC&LC has an amazing group of dedicated staff and volunteers who are doing an incredible job building the range of services on offer and delivering these services at the highest level of quality.

Everyone in the Kyneton community is welcome at the centre. Yet, research revealed that while 90% of residents in the Kyneton district were aware that KC&LC existed, only 10% of them had used the services provided.

I worked with the Committee of Management and staff earlier this year to put together a sustainable and manageable grassroots strategic communication plan to help them achieve their business goals in the short and long term. The challenge is to engage the community through effective communication to encourage greater and ongoing participation in the centre.

Creative kids won prizes for their art.

Creative kids won prizes for their art.

The upcoming 25 year anniversary was a perfect way to kick off the KC&LC communication campaign. Committee members and staff implemented each element of the communication plan which involved running a community art competition, organising lots of local promotion and publicity, gathering sponsorships from local businesses, all culminating in a Community Open Day where residents were welcomed, fed and entertained as they visited the centre – many for the first time.

This is the first phase in the ongoing implementation of the strategic communication plan for KC&LC. As a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation, we agreed on a model where I am a Marketing Coach – I drafted the plan in consultation with key stakeholders – but the implementation is the responsibility of nominated members of the KC&LC team. I am always available to answer questions and support them as the projects progress. And I was very happy to attend their party, eat a piece of birthday cake and celebrate all the work that has already been done. Well done team!

I look forward to more trips to KC&LC as future phases of the Strategic Communication Plan are put into place.

Do you know someone who would benefit from Marketing Coaching? This is a great way to get your marketing approach on track, without the need for expensive ongoing consulting fees or retainers. Contact Straight Shooter today for more information.

What I’ve Learned About Great Stories

Once upon a timeIn my work I talk a lot about stories. But what exactly do I mean? Here are a few tips I have learned along the way about telling great stories and the benefits this approach can bring to you and your business:

  1. Great stories sell. Finding the great story in your organisation or about yourself is key first step in any marketing or communication plan. The story then tends to reveal inherent and obvious promotional opportunities.
  2. Great stories are genuine. The bonus of this approach is that the key selling points are authentic and the benefits are real. This instantly raises the comfort factor for the seller because they feel confident about what they are offering.
  3. Great stories are a delicate balance between fact and aspiration. You need to present who you are and what you have achieved as a case for where you want to go and who you want to be.
  4. Great stories are drafted from the audience’s perspective. What do your customers or potential clients want to hear about you? What will motivate them to act? What will stick in their minds about you or your organisation?

Stories can take different forms and can be drawn from a range of sources. A company needs internal stories to support staff development and culture plus external stories to sell organisational key messages to relevant audiences. The stories may focus on the achievement of one strong leader or on the commitment of many working towards a shared goal. In some cases the stories are obvious yet in others it may require more strategic questioning to tease out the threads and pull them together as effective messages.

In my view, a carefully crafted story with memorable key messages will always be a more effective form of communication than a list of services could ever be.

Can you think of organisations or people who are telling a great story? Let me know by leaving a comment.

A Tribe of Scribes

I have a new theory that we are all connected. When I say all, I mean all of us that are compelled to share our story with the world – bloggers, writers, songwriters, dancers, artists and creators of all kinds. Those of us who have an innate inkling that we have something to say that just might be interesting enough for someone else to appreciate. Those who feel and act upon that moment of confidence or nagging curiosity which implores us to test our instinct, to make our work available and to steady ourselves to react to the reactions.

Storytelling is unquestionably the most effective way to teach, to learn and to understand about yourself, about others and about the world. For those of us who are incurable storytellers – those who simply cannot resist the urge to share – we play an important role in history, for our families, for our communities and potentially something much bigger.

You see I believe that at some point, many years from now, sociologists studying this period will refer to it as ‘The Age of Sharing’. An unprecedented time of chronicling, enabled surely by technology, but delivered by an army of storytellers enthusiastically brandishing their thoughts, ideas and experiences. Scientists may dig a little further to uncover a part of the brain that specifically relates to compulsive storytelling. They will trace this genetic link back through the lineage of the great storytellers of our time to hypothesise and prove that we are indeed direct descendants of ancient scribes who chiselled in stone and painted cave walls and gilded castles and churches to document the stories of their generations. They will find that we are all connected as one large, enduring tribe of scribes just trying to make sense of life and do our part to record our history.

So today I want to celebrate storytelling and revel in my place as part of the tribe. To seriously and responsibly fulfil the legacy of all those who have gone before me.  To teach, to learn and to understand.