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Recently Google announced intentions to make audio content more searchable.

Text has obviously been Google’s bread and butter over the last 10+ years. They figured out how to parse through all the text on the Internet and make it searchable and easier to find for Internet users.

When Google purchased YouTube about a decade or so ago it raised eyebrows. Slowly and in the background Google has improved the way we search for video.

If you remember in the early days of YouTube things were pretty basic. The title made it possible to find videos. Maybe the description, but those were rarely filled out by video creators. And they actually allowed you to list keywords and categories for the videos, which wasn’t always the most accurate way to organize the content.

But now Google and YouTube have been getting really good. Some videos get transcribed seemingly with software and that makes it easier for the search engine to understand what the video is about thus making it easier to organize and easier to make it possible for people to quickly find relevant and helpful videos.

Now they’re looking to do the same with audio and especially with podcasts.

Podcast Search Is Basic…For Now

I mostly use Apple’s Podcast app to listen to podcasts. They do a pretty good job of showing popular podcasts and new podcasts, but beyond that it’s difficult to search for new podcasts to listen to.

You pretty much only search the text that’s available, which is the title or description. And that’s about it. It’s similar to the way YouTube was about 5-10 years ago.

When I search for new business podcasts I’ll type in a word like “business” and I’ll see podcasts with that word in the title. That’s fine, but it’s not always giving me the most relevant results which might be the most popular business podcasts that might not even have the word “business” in the title.

Sometimes I’ll search for a specific name of a person when looking for new podcasts or even episodes. This works pretty well. I can usually find all the podcasts that a person has been a guest on or I’ll find their podcast. But it’s only if that person’s name is listed in the description or title.

Words Of Caution For Audio Marketers

Like the early days of text and video communication, the basic nature of search in audio right now makes it possible for marketers to get the wrong idea about ranking well or appearing in searches. It can lead to keyword stuffing in the titles and descriptions because that’s about the only way people find podcasts right now.

I don’t see a ton of that going on with podcasts and audio and that’s a good thing. But it’s something to watch for if you’re in the podcasting field.

Another thing to watch for as Google and other search engines improve is to watch what you’re saying in podcasts. You don’t really see it now, but I could see some getting trapped by this and that’s stuffing keywords and awkward phrases right into their recordings as they try to rank better for certain things.

For example, instead of just naturally recording an interview a podcaster might try to say the word “business” 50 or 100 or whatever number of times in the episode. Just to really try and prove to the search engine that their podcast and episode are about business.

Final Thoughts

Two final thoughts on this news:

First, Google is getting serious about improving audio search. That’s another indication that audio could really boom in the future. Gary Vaynerchuk is a believer in the future of audio. He believes that it’s all about time. You can do two things at once with audio. Listen and drive. Listen and brush your teeth. Listen and eat. The easier it becomes to search audio the better for consumers and the more likely we’ll see the popularity of audio increase.

Second, you can’t really fool Google when it comes to text anymore. They know what you’re writing about. They know how your brand is perceived. The best SEO strategy is to answer the questions your target audience is asking and really ignore what you think Google wants from you. You have to trust that they can figure it out.

That is the best approach to take with podcasts and other audio content as well. Don’t get trapped trying to stuff keywords or alter your titles and descriptions. Do your best to create the best audio content for your listeners and trust that Google will take care of the rest.

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It’s easy to read headlines and get excited about new and exciting business ideas.

Artificial intelligence, artificial reality, blockchain and more.

It’s all very exciting, but 99.9% of new businesses come from somewhat old and boring ideas.

Very rarely does a business truly jump ahead by leaps and bounds to change the world.

And that’s okay. It’s just a mindset shift that entrepreneurs take when they’re looking for new opportunities. Instead of looking for the next exciting thing they’re often just looking for ways to tweak “old” ideas that already exist.

Here are a few of those types of ideas…

1. Maintenance & Repair

We have lots of traditional “things” like cars, lawn mowers and machines. General maintenance isn’t something that most people perform anymore. We could learn to do it, but that would take time and even then we’re still not going to do it all the time.

That’s why services like auto care and other maintenance are great businesses and probably always will be. As long as people have machines that wear and break there will be a need for those that can help.

And it’s not just traditional machines, but new technology like computers, smartphones and more.

2. Delivery

Amazon is creating its own delivery service. In the next ten years it’ll probably have the drone program going pretty strong.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t opportunity in the delivery space.

Ten years ago the idea of 2-day shipping was fantasy. We thought of it as something that only rich people could afford. The idea of paying $50+ for two-day shipping was pretty crazy for most people.

But now it’s a reality for a lot of people. I think there are some 100 million Amazon Prime members.

In 10 years, the idea of two-day shipping could seem long. Those that are able to find even more efficiencies or that find a way to be part of more efficiency will find opportunity.

All kinds of businesses will need to get their products to customers faster. If you can create a business that helps, even locally, you’re looking at a great opportunity.

3. Low-Cost Healthcare

Not necessarily in the insurance area, but in helping people to live healthier. People don’t necessarily want to live longer, but there is huge demand for wanting to live healthier. It’s not a new industry, but there is perhaps more demand than ever.

If you can offer a service or product that really helps people live healthier and in a low-cost way you’re really in a great position as an entrepreneur.

Traditional health is getting too expensive. More people are looking for and need low-cost options.

4. Clerks

Organizing information has been a basic need for a long time. And it continues to be one of the most sought after skills in business. Business owners and managers don’t always like organizing their information. They look to hire clerks, virtual assistants and service businesses to help.

If you have a skill for organization you can pretty easily setup a service business in this area. There is high demand. Go onto job boards and look for those hiring clerks. Reach out and offer your service. Then hire people to perform the tasks and procedures you create.

5. Sales

This might be one of the oldest jobs in history. And it’s still one of the most sought after by businesses. If you can sell you’ll never be out of job. You may have to change industries, but if you know how to sell businesses will want to hire you.

I’m starting to see more entrepreneurs create sales agencies. The work with a variety of businesses or sometimes niche industries to create sales programs. It’s a great idea and a great service that fills a huge need.

6. Data Analysis

We have more data than ever. In business and work and even in our personal lives. It’s a lot for people to parse through and understand what it all means. It’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs to take on that task and provide understanding and takeaways for customers.

Businesses are almost always looking for data analysts. That’s an opportunity for service-based businesses.

Consumers are parsing through all kinds of data like health data, financial data and more. Great opportunities for apps, services and more.

7. Low-Cost Food

Low-cost food is an old business. I was just reading this great story about a startup that brought good food to consumers at lower prices. The fast food boom has been huge for the last 50 or so years. I don’t know that fast food will keep booming, but there is opportunity for companies that can provide low-cost food. Both in terms of buying price and in saving people time. You might be able to marry this idea with the delivery idea above.

8. Customer Service

Very similar to sales. It’s not the most glamorous area, but it’s very much in demand. Agencies in this area have provided the service for businesses for many years and you’ll still see new agencies enter this area. If you can find a way to make it more efficient and keep your employees sane and loving their jobs you can start a great business in this area.

9. Water Care

In my local area there are a couple water care companies. They setup a water filtration system in homes and charge a monthly or yearly fee. People hand over the money without even thinking about it because they know how important it is to have good, clean water. Very little maintenance for the company and a great service provided. I have to look into this one more myself…

10. Design

Definitely not a new industry, but that should give you reason to believe that it will continue to be important in the future. Communicating a message is the main focus with design. Businesses still struggle with branding and marketing and advertising and all of it. Designers that can bridge the gap can be of great service. And entrepreneurs that partner with skilled designers can start wonderful companies.

Conclusion

How can you take these existing business ideas and innovate? Look for ways to lower the prices. Look for ways to make things more efficient. Look for industries that have been around for awhile, but that aren’t glamorous or that are things people don’t really like doing or that they don’t really want to get into. Work for a small business in one of the fields above for six months to a year and learn what you can. Then look for ways to make improvements.

There is often opportunity in obvious places and that includes existing businesses.

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One of the most common questions we get about business blogging is in regards to the call to action.

What should we ask readers to do at the end of the post?

I think it’s an issue of having too many options.

Some type of content upgrade? A simple link to your homepage or services page?

Should the CTA (call to action) be at the end of the post or maybe the middle or maybe a popup?

There are lots of options. Here are a few thoughts on how to identify the right CTA for your business blog.

Step 1. Map Out Your Sales Cycle

The first step is a big step. This is where I see most businesses get askew with their blog CTAs.

The big mistake is jumping ahead in the sales cycle.

For example, at the end of the blog post (or even in the middle or maybe even at the beginning) a call to action popups up to contact the company or to even just view the company’s services.

In my experience, when someone is reading one of your blog posts it’s the first time they’ve ever been on your site. They’ve never interacted with your brand before. They were just looking for some information and came across your blog post.

First and foremost they’re just looking for that content.

Assess your sales cycle. Consider all the steps a typical customer goes through. From first interaction with your brand to all the questions you answer to final sale.

Just knowing your sales cycle helps you select the appropriate blog CTA. You don’t want to skip steps in the cycle because you’ll throw off your new readers.

Step 2. Assess Your Blogging Strategy & Posts

Some businesses only write about themselves and their products. Some write only about general things like answering questions their target readers have in relation to the industry. Some do both.

We typically recommend the latter or maybe both.

But whatever your strategy, it helps to be aware of your strategy because that helps determine the type of CTA that is appropriate for your reader.

If you’re writing about your products and services your reader is deeper into the sales process. You can use more sales-type CTAs. If you’re writing about more general topics then you’ll want to use CTAs that are earlier in the sales process like linking to related content.

Step 3. Assess Type Of Reader

Most times when you’re blogging you’re writing for your target customer.

However, that may not be the only reader you want to attract. You can indirectly reach more of your customers if you also write posts for journalists, podcasters, other bloggers, influencers, etc. If they like your content they may highlight it for their audiences. That can raise the profile of your brand helping expose you to larger audiences.

With CTAs, if you’re writing for general exposure you may not want to link to your products since the reader isn’t really a fit for what you’re selling. But you may want to link to your About page or to other similar content on your website that they may find valuable.

Step 4. Compare Your Goals & Reader Goals

Most companies we work with have the goal of getting a new sale. Totally makes sense. But that’s not always the reader’s goal. At least not right away.

This gets back to the sales cycle. You want to first understand what your reader is looking for and what they want to do when they’re reading a blog post and find a way to align their mindset with your goals for them.

In sales, the salesperson is often not immediately looking to make a sale because they know that not every person is ready to buy right away. So the salesperson just looks to take one more step. They ask one more question. They take it slow with one step at a time.

For example, your reader may not be ready to buy now, but maybe next week, next month or in five years they will be. In the meantime, offering to send them new content every week via an email newsletter may be something valuable to both of you.

Step 5. Determine Value To Reader

We’ll end with this idea and it’s always looking to provide value to your reader. The more you give the more you get, but you can’t focus on what you’re getting out of the situation. People can sniff that out.

The reality is that people have all kinds of options when it comes to content today. You may have amazing content, but if your reader can get content that is even almost as good as yours with less intrusion in the form of CTAs and ads they’re going to go for it over yours.

That’s why people rarely pay for online content. Why pay $10/month for a newspaper when you can get news on Twitter for free? Why pay for expert content when you can get something nearly as good from a blogger?

Whatever your CTA, always ask yourself what value the reader will get in the deal.

A Few Ideas…

Here are a few ideas for CTAs that are a little different. That are a little earlier in the sales cycle:

  • Related posts
  • Content downloads (ebooks, white papers, guides, etc.)
  • Email newsletters, social profiles
  • Your about page
  • A tool like a blog grader
  • A question to inspire a comment
  • Social sharing buttons
  • A case study
Conclusion

The right CTA on your blog posts can continue the interaction with your reader. But if you jump the gun and get too aggressive you risk alienated the person you’ve just worked hard to get onto your blog in the first place. Have patience when it comes to CTAs on your blog. Know that most of the time it’s the first time the person has interacted with your brand.

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10 years ago most people didn’t have iPhones.

20 years ago most people were getting their first computer with the Internet.

30 years ago most people didn’t have a CD player at home or in their car.

Bill Gates was incredibly correct when he said that we overestimate what we can do in a year while drastically underestimating what we can do in 10 years.

Here’s another one with the 10 year range…10 years ago MySpace was bigger than Facebook. In fact, bands like OneRepublic were gaining notice on MySpace and that attention was leading to worldwide fame that continues today.

So what does this mean?

I have a few thoughts.

Today’s Trends Become Mainstream In ~10 Years

One of the takeaways from this phenomenon is that we tend to get excited about new technologies. Current technologies include blockchain and self-driving cars. AR and AI also fall into that category. They’re here today. They’re advanced, but they’re not mainstream. They likely won’t be for at least 10 years.

It takes time for the general public to come around to the idea of big changes. Heck, the first smartphones came out in the ’90s. People barely had cell phones back then. In fact, most people didn’t get their first cell phone until the late ’90s and early ’00s. Then by ~2009, the time was right for everybody to have a smartphone.

So the first takeaway is to have patience with new ideas and technology. It might be early.

Not Everything Is Dead Before It Gets Going

People probably thought that the idea of the smartphone was dead in 1996. The reality was that the initial excitement was probably wearing off. Those involved could see the value, but it would take another decade for most people to get on board.

When that initial excitement wears off it’s usually a good time to get involved from a business perspective. A current example right now is the world of search. For 10 or so years companies have tried to optimize their websites and content for organic search on Google and other search engines…but mostly on Google.

Today, the newness and excitement has mostly worn off, but the value in improving your website and content for search has probably never been greater. In fact, with voice search coming along it could be in for another huge spike in importance.

Acceleration?

One thing that has me considering this topic a bit is the fact of whether or not this ~10 year cycle is accelerating. Just one hundred years ago it seems, at least looking back, that technology took longer than 10 years to go from hot trend to implementation. Right now it’s about 10 years. Will it be 10 years in the future?

I think it’s going to accelerate and I think that will make a lot of people uncomfortable. The self-driving car thing is probably a good decade away from being mainstream. And even then it might just be the mainstream taking rides in self-driving cars. Maybe 10 more beyond that before it’s our main form of transportation.

The idea seems radical now, but a smartphone didn’t even cross people’s minds a decade ago and now we can’t live without them. We’re on them most of the day.

So maybe self-driving cars are closer. Maybe that will be one of the first things to accelerate quicker than the current 10 year cycle.

That will force people to change and adapt quicker. Or those that struggle with the change will push back and hold others back so they can stay in their comfort zone.

What You Can Do

The big takeaway is to look at the trends occurring now and then take a long-term view. Don’t think how they will change your life in the next year. Think how it will change in 10 years. That will allow you to make better decisions both for yourself and for the business you’re involved in.

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Voice and audio seem to be at the cusp of another boom.

The premise makes sense: you can do other things while listening to audio. That gives you more time and we all value time possibly more than anything else in our lives.

But one thing with audio that has me questioning things is the voice memo feature on most smartphones.

On the iPhone the voice memo is integrated into apps like text messaging. Yet I don’t really see people using it. We send each other video messages via SnapChat, but for some reason we don’t send voice memos.

So I’ve been testing it in a few ways to see if using them really is helpful, easy to do and time saving.

Here are some of the ways I’ve found it useful.

1. Texting

I guess it’s not really texting, but this was the first way I thought of using voice memos and it works pretty good. Basically instead of sending a text you record a message and text it to the other person. They can listen when they want and they can do something else because they don’t need to look at the words and read. And they can listen as many times as they want. It’s like skipping the call and getting right to the voicemail.

2. Business Call Replacements

I’ve been testing this one out and it’s been working. We get inquiries at Ghost Blog Writers. The email process works just fine in most cases, but in some cases the person is busy and wants a call instead of reading the website or reading the email, which I get.

On most of those calls, though, I say the same things and answer the same questions. So I recorded a voice memo and now we email that over to the clients that ask for calls. We still provide a link to setup a call, but we’re finding that some are fine listening to the voice memo. No call needed. Time saved.

3. Website FAQs

This is an interesting one to me. It’s kind of pre-call; what I discussed in the previous point. People are busy. They don’t always have time to read entire websites to get the answers they want. Especially FAQs. So why not record those FAQs and add the voice memo to the website. Now people can listen while they’re doing something else.

4. Website Regular Content

Same as the one before but with all the content on your site. Just read it all and record it and add the memo to your site. Now people don’t have to read. More businesses are doing this with video, which is great, but why not do the same thing with audio?

5. Blog Posts

This one intrigues me. I’m thinking that when I finish writing a post I then read and record it and post the memo at the beginning of the post so people can either read or listen to it. Almost like a podcast.

6. Sales Calls

I’ve seen services that do cold calling, but instead of the call they just send a voice recording straight to the person’s inbox. That seems less intrusive. Maybe still intrusive, but less intrusive. It could replace emails. Just send a quick recording. You can add more context by the inflection of your voice also.

7. Notes

I know that songwriters do this. Sometimes they’ll have a title idea come to them and they’ll type it into their Notes app, but a lot of the time they get a melody idea and they’ll record a voice memo as a note so they can come back to it later and write the song.

No reason we can’t do that for all types of notes for business and for regular life.

8. Group Recordings

Say you’re in a business meeting brainstorming or talking about all kinds of things. Instead of having someone take notes just record the session and then send the memo to those that need it.

9. Emails

Kind of mentioned this one, but voice memos could replace emails in some contexts. I know that sometimes people don’t like typing out emails. Voice memos can work even better in some cases.

10. Instructions

A final one here, although I’m already thinking of a few more, is to record instructions. People use text files for this and we’re using video more, but there is no reason not to use audio to tell people how to do something.

Conclusion

I think audio and voice will have a big future. The curious thing right now is that we have a pretty easy to use technology with voice memos, but for some reason we aren’t really using it. I’ll be curious to see if we start using it more and more in the next 1-3 years. I think we will.

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This question has SEO intent.

The goal with optimization is to get a piece of content, in this case a blog post, ready to rank well on search engines, usually Google.

The first note on this point is to always begin with the intent of optimizing a WordPress post for your target reader. If you want to optimize for Google you have to align your goals with their goals. They want to help people find information.

By optimizing your posts for people you optimize for Google. If you focus only on what you think Google wants it leads down paths that can work in the short-term, but hurt in the long-term.

Links are almost always seemingly the hot topic when it comes to SEO, for example. Google uses links as one of the ways to tell if your brand is trustworthy and well known and that kind of thing. But chasing links can lead to getting any link by any means possible. And Google has gotten really good at telling the difference between different links.

Anyway, leading into this post just know that these tips are how to optimize your WordPress posts for your readers and not necessarily for Google.

There are tools that help to optimize posts. Some are good. Some cross the line and get you thinking about Google and not about people. So be careful with those tools.

Alright, let’s get into the tips.

1. Scannability

This is first on the list for a reason. I think first impressions are incredibly important when it comes to blog posts. I do this myself all the time, but I also see others do it just as often.

The first thing that happens when we visit a blog post is scroll or scan through the content. We’re looking for breaks and blocks in the content. Headings and things that break things up. We want to get a feel for what is in the post before we start reading from start to finish.

It’s a quick way to see if the content is worth our time. We do it with books (Table of Contents). We do it with podcasts (podcast notes). We do it with Netflix (episode titles and notes and listings). We do it with all types of content.

Number one on the list of optimizing your WordPress post is to make sure readers can scan it.

2. Short-ish Blocks

Sentences, paragraphs, titles, headings, URLs, etc. You’re looking for short.

It goes back to the first point of allowing people to scan the content. You’re looking to make it as easy to read as possible. That doesn’t mean that the content has to be at a first grade reading level or anything like that. Give people some credit.

But from a looks standpoint you want the content easy to read. Large paragraphs wear people out. When I read books that are kind of on the old side it’s always a struggle to get through a large paragraph. You kind of lose your place pretty easy.

Break up the content. Especially the paragraphs.

3. Links: External & Internal

This is always a big point of contention between me and others. The usual argument is that external links will send readers away from a blog post.

The only time I’ve done that and have seen others do that is when a blog post is simply reiterating what another post is saying. Kind of bringing attention to a news point or something like that.

In my view, that type of post is valuable since it brings attention to a good piece of content, but that’s the breadth of its usefulness.

With external links I mean like the link above in this post to Google’s SEO Starter Guide. By linking to that guide this post provides value, adds context to what I’m saying and also adds legitimacy to the content in this post. And hopefully the content in the rest of the post keeps the readers here even if they click through to that guide.

Everybody in the SEO world wants links. I believe in karma. Give links if you expect to get links.

4. No Distractions/Interruptions

Do you like when you visit a website and instantly get a popup?

Nobody likes that.

Yet on a lot of blogs and blog posts that is exactly what happens.

I’m a fan of just letting the reader read the content. Give them exactly what they want. It’s a longer term play. You’re looking to be helpful and to earn their trust by providing good content.

I don’t like trying to control them or to take something from them before I’ve even had the chance to give them something first.

It’s easy to clutter websites and blogs with distractions. The designs I like the most are the blogs with the least clutter. I like them as a reader and therefore I like them as a blogger.

5. Design, Page Speed

There are a lot of great blog design templates and themes available these days. Like I said above, look for one that is simple and free of distractions. Let your content take center stage. Make sure the font is large enough to read especially on smartphones.

And also make sure the page speed is adequate to really good. If there are issues there then switch hosts. It’s worth it to have a really fast website.

I once experienced a 25% drop in traffic during a short-term page speed issue.

6. Tags, Categories

I don’t really look at tags and categories as having anything to do with SEO. But I still get requests from business owners about using certain tags on blog posts for SEO purposes.

I could be wrong, but I really don’t think tags help with anything other than organizing your content and blog posts. And I do think that is important and helpful to the readers.

If you’re going to include categories and tags on your posts so that readers can find similar content then you definitely want to use them for that reason.

For SEO reasons? Not really worth the effort.

7. Titles

The idea with titles is to include keywords and things like that in the title. I get it. It makes sense, but again you’re getting into tricky territory. If you focus too much on what you think Google wants your titles won’t make sense to readers.

I like to take the approach that a title promises the reader an answer to their question. If that includes using a keyword phrase then it’s all the better. But I don’t like starting with a keyword phrase for the sake of SEO.

Conclusion

This post might be a little different than what you expected from an SEO standpoint, but it’s been a good strategy for me for earning organic traffic for the last 10+ years. You have to take the long-term view that Google wants to help readers and if you focus on readers first it will all work out in the end as far as SEO goes.

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When you’re in business things will go wrong.

If you’re a manager or someone with responsibility it’s the nature of things.

You’re always working on fixing problems. At least that’s what the good managers do. The bad ones are the ones that focus on the blame. They’re usually looking to push the blame on someone else. They feel vulnerable for some reason and because of that they’re afraid of being wrong.

It can even happen with little things.

Quick Story

I received an invite for a conference call last week. The person sent over their number in the invite and at the time I called the number and the person wasn’t there. I left a message and then sent an email.

No worries. Let’s set up another time.

The response I got said they didn’t know about the call because they hadn’t received the information on their side of things. It must be something on my side of things.

Now, it certainly could have been. I checked around. I don’t want that to happen in the future.

But then I realized that we never got around to setting up another call for at least a few weeks. Just wasting time worry about the blame and not just moving on and having our conversation.

Excuses

Sometimes it’s not about excuses and passing blame to another person.

The classic one is that the dog ate your homework. Something happened to you that held you back from something. Maybe a call. Maybe a deadline with a project.

Whatever it was the people you let down probably don’t really care. They’re almost always wondering how you’re going to figure it out on your own and not do it again in the future.

They just don’t care about the why. So don’t waste their time with excuses.

Whatever it was happened. You figure it out and learn from it.

Never Being Wrong

And it’s not just business. Some people just seem obsessed with never being wrong. If something happens they spend all their energy just figuring out how it was not their fault.

Maybe it’s just something that drives me crazy. I think it’s just a waste of energy.

I’m happy to take the blame for things. A writer on the team is late with a post. I’ll take the blame and cover for the writer. Let’s move on and figure out how to move forward as fast as we can. Why waste energy on something that won’t benefit either of the parties?

As the person in charge I think you have to view everything as your fault. This puts you in a problem solving mode. And that’s what responsibility is. It’s about taking problems and fixing them.

Final Thought

Maybe blaming others is really just a form of procrastination. Or maybe it’s just getting back to the idea of some kind of insecurity within yourself. Feeling shamed by making a mistake or something like that. I don’t know, but the final point of the article is that if you find yourself always looking for a reason that it’s not your fault that you’re giving up energy to something that doesn’t matter. You’re holding yourself back from success.

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I like linking to these two videos every once in awhile:

How To Speak So That People Want To Listen

5 Ways To Listen Better

It’s partly to remind myself of how many of us think.

The first video has 8x more views. And it’s been online three fewer years…

The lesson?

We’re very interested in getting people to listen to us, but we’re not interested in listening to others.

And that brings us to today’s focus: Talking Too Much.

Are you guilty of it?

Here are some common signs that you are…

1. You Don’t Remember What People Tell You

Why? Because you’re too busy talking. This one, and I suppose a few others on this list, may not even be on your radar. You may not realize that you don’t remember what others are saying because it’s not important to you.

But I’ll assume that because you’re reading this that you’re at least somewhat aware that you’re talking too much. And if a light bulb is going on that you have trouble remembering what others tell you (stories, facts, etc.) you’re probably talking to much. You may not let them talk. Or when they do you’re just waiting for your next interruption.

It’s not their fault for not speaking up.

2. People Don’t Listen To You

This is a spiral. You feel that people don’t listen to you so you talk even more. But a big reason they’re probably not paying attention is because you’re talking too much. You’re overwhelming them. Because you tell them every thought that comes into your head they can’t tell what information is important enough to remember.

3. You Don’t Really Have A Close Friend

It’s difficult to have close friendships if you’re the one always doing the talking. There is give and take in any relationship and perhaps the most important element of that give and take is communication. When you’re talking, you’re taking. It can seem like talking is giving, but it’s actually the opposite. Listening is the true gift.

4. You Have Trouble Around New People

You might feel like you’re the life of the party when you’re around new people. It can seem that way because to them you haven’t been over-talking. But the trouble comes in when they start looking down at their phones or looking to leave the conversation.

People that dominate conversation aren’t interesting. And new people don’t really care if they have to leave the conversation. They know that they’re likely never going to see you again. Why would they want to?

5. You Have Anxiety

Some experts view talking too much as a side effect of some kind of anxiety. If this is the case you’re using talking to avoid looking inside yourself to figure out what you’re afraid will happen in the future. You keep kicking the can down the road and never resolve the issue. And if you’re not careful it can become a bigger and bigger issue.

6. People Don’t React To Your Stories

This gets back to the thought that if you’re giving so much information that people don’t know what to react to because you’re making it seem like every single word out of your mouth should be amazing. The reality is that most people don’t care about your stories. They might feel a little bad about your second cousin that is going through cancer, but they don’t really want to hear about it. They have their own concerns. Don’t dump all of yours on them.

7. You’re Not Sure How Others Feel

If you’re doing all the talking there is no way for you to gain an understanding of how others feel. You’re only concerned about your own feelings. You’re not getting a sense for when family and friends are feeling sad or happy or any emotion. You just come into the engagement with your own feelings and you force those upon them.

8. You Always Want Something

Does it ever feel like you’re never getting enough? You never look at what you have and enjoy it? You’re always looking for the next thing. Whatever it might be. A car. A job. A house. Whatever. Always something new. Never anything that you already have.

This spills over into your conversations. You’re never interested in what others have to say. You’re always looking for how they can react to what you say. It’s back to the idea that talking is taking.

9. You Need The Last Word

This is an ego thing. Does it bother you when others get the last word? Maybe you don’t even realize when it happens because you’re always the one to make sure you get that last little jab in.

10. You Need The Solution/Answer

Let’s end with a big one. When you converse with others and they express concern do you immediately jump in with a solution or answer?

Guess what…that is not what they want. 99.9% of the time people don’t want to hear your proposed solution. It seems like you’re helping them, but what they really want is just someone to listen for a second.

You’re not interested in their feelings at all. You just want to feel good about yourself by talking.

Final Thought

It can be really challenging to have good conversations today. It can be a real struggle to have a good back and forth. Usually when there is back and forth it’s just two people fighting to get a word in on each other. If you’re struggling with conversations and if you notice any of the issues above it should be a big red flag that you’re doing too much of the talking.

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Make this mindset shift and you’ll feel incredibly liberated.

You’re the boss. The owner. The manager.

You’ve probably been in a situation where an employee makes a mistake. Then they make it again. Then they make it again.

It can drive you crazy…

Another situation, a client doesn’t pay their bill on time with the terms you both agreed to. Ok, fine. They eventually pay. But then they do it again the next time. Then the next time.

It can drive you crazy.

One more, an great employee leaves your company to start their own company. They take a few of your clients. Then they lower their prices and force you to adapt.

Craziness.

How you react to these situations, I believe, defines not just your success in business, but your happiness in life.

Nobody Owes You Anything

Older generations like to put down the Millennial generation. They say Millennials are entitled. They think the world owes them everything.

I agree. Many Millennials are exactly like that.

But I don’t think it’s just a Millennial thing. I think it’s an every generation thing. In my view, every generation going back probably 6-7 generations at least have had a good percentage of people that feel that others owe them something.

Jobs, salaries, benefits, safety, etc. All of it.

You hear it if you listen for it from just about everybody.

What I’m finally realizing is that nothing is a given in this life. Nobody owes you anything. Especially in business.

First Year On The Job

In 2007, I graduated college and got a job. A good job. A job I loved. The economy slowed down in 2008 and in the Spring of 2009 the executives of the company called us all into a room for an announcement. 10% staff layoffs coming in two weeks.

Welcome to the real world.

I kept my job, but it was a wakeup call. I had always thought about running my own business. This accelerated those plans.

It was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I’m glad it happened when I was 24 years old.

That moment made me realize that no company owes you a job. They offer you a job as long as it’s beneficial for them. And that’s how it should be. Yes, I think it’s good when they do all they can to care about their employees. I think most companies do because it’s beneficial to them to treat people well. When they do they can attract and retain the best employees. They’re in competition with other companies after all…

Two Types Of Change

When it comes to frustrating moments in business (and in life) there are two ways you can react.

You can decide that other people need to change or you can figure out an action you can take regardless of what others decide to do.

It’s really that simple.

If an employee is driving you crazy you can complain to them. You can try to get them to change. Maybe they will. But there’s a chance they won’t. You’ll just keep going around in circles waiting on them.

Or you could decide that you only control yourself. You can try to help them. Better instructions. Better communication. Better procedures. Or you could fire them and find someone different to do the job or another solution.

Back when I was at that corporate job, which again I loved, there were a few people that would complain about the way the company did things. Complain, whine, protest, all of that.

It wasn’t entirely clear to me at the time, but it is clear now…all those reactions make people very weak. Then they feel weak and they do those things even more and it continues down this big spiral of despair.

When something happens that you don’t like you have two choices:

1) Complain. Whine. Protest. If you choose this route you give up control. You put yourself in possibly the weakest position possible. You tell yourself that you’re not in control of your own life and that others need to change to make your situation better. You’re entitled.

2) Take control. Figure out how you can change and react to improve your own situation. This is not always the easiest solution, but it’s really the only solution.

Final Thought

For a lot of things in life it can seem like others are taking care of you. It can seem like you are owed things in life. The more I think about this situation in life the more I really feel that this world owes us nothing. Not even the most basic things. It’s kind of liberating to think that way. When you understand that the world owes you nothing you realize that you’re in control of things. Not everything. But you take the position that only you can make change happen in life. Instead of sitting back and complaining and forcing others to change you take action to change yourself.

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LinkedIn is reporting that engagement on the platform is at record levels.

They were acquired by Microsoft a few years ago and since then they have been doing some really interesting things.

I think before then they were trying to figure out what they were. Trying a few different things. Not sure if they should compete with Facebook and other social media platforms, but I think they’re starting to gain some real traction in the professional space.

When it comes to social media and commerce, things can be tricky. It’s tricky because when people are using social media they have a specific frame of mind. When they’re on Facebook they’re looking for information about friends and family and about their personal lives and interests. It’s similar on Instagram. Twitter is a little different and is more about what’s happening in the world right now.

LinkedIn has been working to focus on the time people spend in their professional mindset. When they’re thinking about their work. What they’ve done, what they’re doing and what they want to be doing.

If you’re a professional looking to grow – grow a business, get a new job, make new connections, etc. – there has never been a better time to use LinkedIn or really a better platform to use than LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Takes Usability Cues From Facebook and Others…

Some people have been taking notice that LinkedIn is looking a lot like Facebook these days. Not that they’re using the same colors of layouts or things like that, but that when you’re on LinkedIn it feels like you’re using Facebook. You’re seeing a feed with content (professionally-related content). You can browse profiles and do all kinds of things just like on Facebook.

But the big key is that it’s all professionally related.

This is a great move. Why reinvent the social media wheel? Use what other social sites have used well and innovate on top of that.

What I like best is that LinkedIn has become easier to use. It’s not entirely there just yet, but they’re moving in the right direction.

The easier something is to use the more people will use it and that is good if you’re looking to connect and engage on the platform.

LinkedIn Research

Every once in awhile LinkedIn comes out quietly with some great research and information like this one. They’re sharing, by using their data, what skills people most need to succeed in the working world.

You’re not getting that on Facebook. It’s not a collection of experts giving the information. It’s coming from the big data that LinkedIn is seeing collectively from those using their platform.

People love this stuff and the more LinkedIn releases the more they’ll attract people to using their platform.

Native Content

LinkedIn has always been upping the incentives for users to publish more native content. Some people discovered that if they posted long content on LinkedIn that people would click on the “Read more…” link and it would seem to trigger all kinds of engagement.

With that incentive, more and more people starting posting their thoughts, stories, tips and more to the platform. And more people started engaging.

A great play by LinkedIn to get some real influencers and real great content on their platform.

LinkedIn video use has always seemed to pickup in the last year or so. Not sharing a YouTube video or anything like that, but uploading native video directly to LinkedIn.

One thing I’m very curious about is whether LinkedIn (or any social platform) will allow uploading of native audio. Something that people can listen to without having to watch something.

I think that’s a real opportunity to cut into the other podcasting platforms.

Final Thought

Anyway, if you’re looking to boost your professional life then LinkedIn is the place to be. How do you do it? There are no big secrets. You just have to put in the time and effort with the native content opportunities that LinkedIn offers. Articles, text posts and video. Also engage in groups and tweak your profile from time to time.

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