Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Have you earned the right to be read?

Seth Godin is a motivational speaker who can hit a nail on the head better than anyone I know. He's blunt and targeted, which always gives me a thrill in this world of fluff and mealy-mouth speakers. This past week, he posted a blog entitled Do You Have the Right to be Heard?

These days, everyone interprets freedom of speech as the right to be heard. Fact is, people have the right to speak, but I determine who I choose to hear. The airwaves and Internet are filled with people who feel they need to shout, sell and overwhelm you with their opinions, stories and personalities. People can speak all day long, but they have to earn the right to my ear, to my response, to my loyalty.

When we don't understand that stance, we don't sell our writing. Writing is speaking. Because we choose to write, to publish, to hawk our words, doesn't mean others want to read them. Take a look at some of the items Godin states can earn us the right to be heard, i.e., enter a reader's life. Find my interpretation in parentheses.
  • Be informed (know your stuff - no fluff)
  • Be rational (calm assurance is attractive)
  • Pay your dues (overnight successes don't exist - accept it)
  • Have a platform (know who respects your voice and reach them)
  • Be impacted, not a gadfly (be of substance)
  • Represent a tribe of people with similar concerns (know your market, your potential readers)
  • You're not anonymous (stand up tall so others know you - i..e, brand)
  • Listening to you earns something of value (you offer take-away value in your words, based on readers' views, not your own)
Because you have something to say doesn't mean others want to hear it. Studying your genre, your profession, your craft, and your market enable you to communicate more clearly to the right people, increasing the odds you are read.

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