OMG I love your blog!

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Below is a sample email I developed that you can use to connect to powerful social influencers to help take your business or career to the next level. While some of the details in my letter are specific to this case, it can be easily adapted to fit your situation.

Dear [INSERT NAME],

I absolutely love your blog!

Your latest post [INSERT TITLE] was so insightful. It felt like you were talking to me.

In fact, I was so inspired by your approach that I [INSERT REQUESTED CALL TO ACTION] just like you suggested.

The results were [INSERT EXUBERANT ADJECTIVE].

I also joined your email list and subscribed to the Special Monthly Bulletins you send out about [INSERT TOPIC].

I’m sure it’s well worth the $15 dollars and the investment will return far more in the great advice I can put to use in my own business.

By the way, your Linkedin profile is soooooooo creative.

I love the way you don’t just list where you’ve worked, but turn those experiences into active accomplishments.

And your sales numbers are incredible. Triple digit returns on every campaign you’ve worked on! Wow. It’s always very exciting to read about someone delivering skyrocketing metrics.

Why do you change jobs so often?

You'd think those companies would hold on tight after you delivered such impressive results. Guess they didn’t realize how valuable you were until you left. (Isn’t that always the case!)

Well, at least now that you’re self-employed you can speak directly to your followers and don't have to hold back because of corporate constraints.

I noticed you have 500+ connections. Impressive. (I bet it’s closer to 10,000!)

How do you remember their names? (I can barely find my way to the mailbox each day.)

It must be difficult when someone contacts you for a referral and you can’t remember who they are or where you crossed paths.

Do you connect to everyone?  Me too!

In fact, funny story, I connected to some guy in Aurora, IL who seemed like a real go-getter.  Turns out he was in prison. Who knew? I was kind of afraid to “unlink” though as I was worried he might take it personally. (Oh well, at least by staying connected, I show that I’m open to working with ex-cons.)

Isn’t it great how many storytellers are popping up in business these days?

I thought I was the only kid who harbored dreams that someday I would tell stories for large institutions and Fortune 500 companies. (I guess visualizing your goals works!)

Your post on brainstorming was brilliant. I’ve used the dartboard technique a lot and just recently tried the “scraps of paper in the hat” method.

You were right (again!) – you can randomly pick out just six single words and find connections to create a compelling piece of content.

Mind if I share?

I created this for a client using that very technique. (I had to take out the client name because of the NDA, but I can tell you they are a major, major player in the software industry).

I pulled the following words from the hat:

     Football

     Glue

     Pencil

     Plaster

     Goat

     Cereal

Here’s what I came up with…

“It all started with a football. Sure, there was glue and a pencil, but that was about it for this little startup. They would have to figure out how to program and develop software by leveraging plaster and a goat. Fortunately, they had cereal.”

I know, it’s kind of weird but it worked well in terms of SEO.

Plus they repurposed the content and used it for a video voice over, Facebook ad, infographic, and as a sidebar in their corporate capabilities piece. (Guess they got their money’s worth on that one!)

Well, I’ve kept you long enough. I appreciate your time. Let’s get connected!

A Meeting to Eliminate Meetings

EVERY ACTION TELLS A STORY
 

I was once called into a meeting to analyze our meetings. Stop laughing.

There were over 30 people in attendance, including 10 mid-level managers, three directors, and the Super Director leading the way. The cost of this two hour meeting was significant. 

It was all very exciting. 

Giant pieces of paper were taped along all four walls, each listing the name of a different department meeting. And there were a lot of meetings. 

Monthly All-Hands Meeting, Weekly Manager Meeting, Daily Creative Meeting, Weekly Marketing Strategy Meeting, Monthly Creative Meeting, Bi-Weekly Editorial Meeting, Quarterly Update Meeting, Bi-Annual Self-Improvement Meeting, Weekly One-on-One Meeting.

You get the picture.

Anticipation was high when florescent sticky notes and sharpies were handed out so we could rate the meetings on a scale of 1 to 5 (useless to valuable).

Frenzied, the group attacked the boards. Our voices would finally be heard as we joyfully rated the value of each meeting. There were a few large zeros put up, which drew a noticeable grimace from the Super Director, and a reiteration of the 1 to 5 rating system.

When the frenzy died down, it was clear that several of the meetings were doomed, dominated by lousy ratings. We were informed that the next step would be to tally up the average ratings for each meeting, distribute this list to the group, and decide which meetings to eliminate. 

It didn't exactly play out like that, instead: 

  • No meetings were eliminated
  • The decision was made by the Super Director, behind closed doors
  • The spreadsheet with the ratings was never shared with the group

And thus, a story was born. 

The intentions of this exercise were essentially good: increase efficiency, show respect for our time by evaluating and cutting a few meetings, and give each member of the team a meaningful voice.  

However, the lack of follow-through turned this into a story that had a lasting negative impact.

  • The "Meeting to Eliminate Meetings"  became comic legend within the organization
  • Attrition increased significantly over the next two months, many leaving without another job lined up
  • No meetings were eliminated


I believe that we're all hard-wired to tell stories.

Stories help us make sense of the world, regain perspective, and provide comic relief in a stressful environment. (Just attend an after work cocktail hour and listen to the gossip, worry, and impressions.) 

Actions like holding a meeting to eliminate meetings are the birthplace of office lore. But the story didn't have to end this way. It could have changed dramatically if our main character would have: 

  • Shown some understanding and empathy for the audience
  • Admitted the mistake (there's strength in vulnerability)
  • Apologized
  • Fixed the situation by following the original plan

If the story followed this trajectory, it could have been very powerful. A comedic opening, a little suspense, a climax, and a nice reversal that showed some growth in our main character.  

Not as funny, but a much happier ending for everyone. 

Bobby Wittenberg has been telling stories since he was five. First with a tape recorder, later with a camera. He has also helped major brands connect with internal and external audiences across a variety of media, leveraging his experience as a writer, director, creative director, playwright, and screenwriter. You can reach him at rkwcreative.com.