My next contributor touches on what should be an obvious but often forgotten tenet in this noisy world–the importance of care. This doesn’t surprise me because Chris Calcagno is one of the most caring people I know. He the CEO of Seventh Point, a full service advertising agency–one of few agencies to bridge the gap between traditional and digital media. For more than 30 years he has navigated a constantly changing marketing environment, from radio, television and print to digital, mobile and social media. For, me his message applies not just to the written word, but to all aspects of our life–do we show care in our interactions with just select people or everyone we encounter? Do listen to others carefully or pay half attention while scrolling through our Facebook feed? Empathy and real connection seem like scare commodities these days, and I’m grateful for Chris’ reminder to not think we care, but show it.
Many of the greatest lessons of my life I have gotten from writers and from writing. Some of my best friends over the years have been people with a command of the written word. A recent gift I got from one was a book titled Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit.* Nice hah? Yeah, these are my friends.
What is it about all of us verbose writers who really think people wanna’ read our shit? I have a guy who works for me who writes two and three page emails. No matter how many times I say to him, “Jeremy, what makes you think I’m going to read all this?” it doesn’t matter. I have literally, emphatically told him “I AM NOT GOING TO READ THIS therefore you are wasting your time. Walk in my office and talk to me.” Nope. Clearly he is too in love with his written word.
But of all the things I have ever learned from my writers and my writing is that one and only one element must be present. You gotta’ care. In today’s overly verbose, overly flooded blogged-tweeted-emailed-eNewslettered-eBlasted world writers are scrambling for connection and engagement. And while it’s hard to attain, it’s simple to do. All ya’ gotta’ do is care. If a true, sincere, concern and empathy for your target audience is tangible, you can achieve engagement.
My wife recently launched a blog site. When she said she was going to be doing one I said to myself, “oh lord, another blog.” So she wrote. And she launched. Her messages are about women, and connecting. They’re funny and engaging. And they are seeping with empathy and connection with her audience. It is clear how much she cares. I read every word.
*Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit by Steven Pressfield