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Thursday, July 21, 2016

To really connect – STOP writing emails that sound like emails! ... (7 ways)

Without a doubt, writing best emails is the most effective way to reach influencers. A survey by Good Technology revealed the average American first checks their emails at 7:09 a.m., 50 percent check their work email while still in bed, and 69 percent will not go to sleep without checking their work email.

Consequently, email communication is evolving. Today, emails tailored from templates are frowned upon; business partners are welcoming more personal messages similar to networking conversations. Nobody appreciates reading a run-of-the-mill email first thing in the morning or right before they go to bed. We want to connect with real people and authentic brands. 

Here are 7 ridiculously simple ways to make any email more personal

1) Simulate having a short conversation 

Pull up your business partner's profile picture from Twitter or Linkedin and place it to the right or left of a word document while you write your email. Pretend to have a conversation. This will help you to avoid using worn-out phrases like “hi” and “sincerely.” In a real conversation most of us say “good morning” or respond with “John, good to see you;” and, we never ever say “sincerely.”

2) Give first – take later

Unless your email is a first contact email find a reason to thank the recipient, for instance, by writing “Thank you for sending...”
If nothing else comes to mind you should always assume that your recipient responded as quickly as possible and  thank them for doing that. This will encourage your recipients to respond even quicker in the future because they notice that you value their efforts. 

3) Avoid the word “I” like the plague

Using the word “I” too often will turn any email into a me-mail. Nobody enjoys talking to egocentrics. Therefore, look for opportunities to replace the word “I” with “we” to point toward team building efforts and team spirit.  
If you absolutely have to use the word “I”, never do it at the beginning of a sentence. After writing a first draft, add adverbs to “soften the impact” of the word “I.” A few examples are: “Certainly, I will...”, “Unfortunately, I can't...”, “Obviously, I'd rather...”, and similar phrases.  

4) Section your email into paragraphs

Have you met people who talk without taking a breath, at networking events? It is exhausting to listen to them. They give you no room to think about what they say, or to ask a question.
Avoid making a similar impression by sectioning your emails into paragraphs, for easier understanding and faster decision making.  

5) Use links and attachments

If you were to meet with your business partner in person you would give him a brochure or an information package, but you would not read the content of this material to them out loud. Create that same effect by keeping your email concise and attaching all relevant information instead of presenting it in the body of your email. 

6) Always check if you spelled the recipient's name correctly

This sounds banal, but anybody whose name has more than four letters knows that people misspell others' names.   
More than 100 years ago, Dale Carnegie told his students that people like hearing their own name best. Equally, misspelling a person's name in an email could be considered a cardinal sin.   

7) Set the stage for the arrival of your email

Remember that Linkedin profile picture or Twitter picture I suggested to pull up when you started writing your email? Before you send off your email, re-tweet or share one of your recpient' postings, so they can see that you care about them and their business, on all platforms.  

Only twenty years ago, business people had conversations and also wrote business letters. Our increased mobility led to these originally two different forms of communication morphing and evolving. It's time to throw away old fashioned templates and network-email!


Gisela Hausmann is an email evangelist, the winner of the 2016 Sparky Award “Best Subject Line,”  and the author of NAKED WORDS 2.0 The Effective 157-WordEmail” and NAKED TEXT Email WritingSkills for Teenagers.”

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, on Brian Burns' podcast “The Brutal Truths About Sales and Selling,” and in dozens of other publications.

Gisela is also a frequent guest on WYFF-4, her local NBC affiliate station  and she speaks about best communication practices to local business groups. The avid boxing fan likes to support the proverbial underdog.

© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann
© picture credit: Copyright: Jirsak via Shutterstock

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Plagiarism – Templates – Discovery

Thank you, Melania Trump's speechwriters for helping me to make my point! For years, I have taught, preached, blogged and even published two books stating, "Do NOT tailor templates! It will be discovered!"

Many a times when I addressed small business owners, I saw doubt flickering over some people's faces –  Did I really mean that? 

Having analyzed 100,000 emails for effectiveness and personal appeal, I meant it. 

Obviously, it can't be a big surprise that the Clinton team knew Michelle Obama's speech more or less by heart. What else would one expect? Plus, in case there was any doubt, Michelle Obama's speech could be googled and viewed on Youtube, as well. 

Tailoring templates has the same effect as plagiarizing. Any job seeker who tailors a template to apply for a job runs the risk that the Human Resources person may already have a dozen similar sounding applications lying on his/her desk. 

And, it's the same for request emails and sales pitch emails.

Certainly, Melania Trump's life story is inspiring; she has accomplished great things. It's such a pity that now she will be remembered for giving this speech instead of for her business successes – FOREVER. 

The end result is always the same, for all us. Only, if a Human Resources person or a business partner finds out that we didn't really try, that we used the same words as the next best guy, it won't be the topic of the day; we just won't get what we wanted to achieve. 

In the days of storytelling marketing we need to write our own story, in our own words.
Templates are a thing of past!


Gisela Hausmann publishes “naked (no-fluff) books.”

She is an email evangelist, a PR coach, a multi-award winning author, abd the winner of the 2016 Sparky Award "Best Subject Line."

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine.

© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann
© picture credit: Copyright: Yury Shchipakin

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

The ridiculously insane costs of “free advice”

What you get free costs too much.  
Jean Anouilh

Last week I posted a blog “The Five Most Common Mistakes When Seeking Book Reviews FromAmazon Top Reviewers” and received an astonishing amount of comments below the blog, on twitter and, of course, on Facebook. Most of the readers had never heard of what I wrote. 

The gist of the blog is that frequently many bloggers encourage indie authors to tailor a template when contacting Amazon top reviewers with the request to review their books. 

In short – This is incorrect advice!  (But – it was free.)

With roughly 4,500 books being published every day, authors need to write stand-out request emails that explain why their book is remarkable. In contrast, tailoring a template is the exact opposite; it leads to run-of-the-mill emails. 

So, why are bloggers publishing incorrect information?

They don’t know that it’s wrong.

The problem with the concept of giving free information

Ever since the concept of “attracting customers by giving them free information” became popular a few years ago, every week hundreds of thousands of people blog, worldwide. Occasionally, they may try to meet their deadline while the kids are having a fight in the living room and the spouse is shouting “I can’t find my striped shirt” from the bedroom. Under stress, some bloggers may try to get inspired by reading others blogs... Just – maybe? 

If they are not experts in the specific field they won't realize if the original blog’s content was flawed. 

Among indie author topics, the question “how to get book reviews” is hugely popular. Authors who google “how to get reviews” find 89 million blogs and articles, which proves that many bloggers’ articles are mere guesses or hearsay. 

Quite obviously, there aren’t 89 million experts on this specific topic. If indeed there were that many expert book reviewers, who have insider knowledge because they review lots of books, indie authors would have no problem finding book reviewers. 

The ridiculously insane costs for readers

Following flawed FREE advice leads to

  • loss of recreational time 
  • loss of time that could be spent making money
  • exponential build-up of frustration

Typically, authors spend ten, twenty, thirty or more hours trying to contact top reviewers. If you multiply that number by only $7.25 (minimum wage) you can estimate the loss in money. Certainly, spending ten, twenty, thirty or more hours with family and friends is much better than sitting frustrated in front of a computer and wondering why none of the hundreds of top reviewers requested the book for review. 

But, even worse than all of this is that some authors get so frustrated that

  • they give up!

I bet ten bucks that there are plenty of authors who penned a great book, but since their books never received enough starter reviews, they never took off. Eventually, the authors gave up. 

Other free content

Of course, blogs aren’t the only “free offerings.” There are also webinars, teleconferences, and video seminars. Almost always the ads promise that participating in a particular event will teach valuable skills. That’s true, but this type of offerings are really teasers. Usually, the organizers volunteer about 10-15% of the knowledge during the teaser – which makes sense. 

All of us know it anyway – Nothing in life is free!

Believing that one can get best information for free can be very costly. 

I have at least one friend, who got so frustrated trying to learn everything about book marketing for free, that finally she bought an expensive seminar for $4,500. Sadly, that did not lead to her book becoming a bestseller. 

The common thought is that if one pulls free information, one has to work harder because one has to figure out the missing information oneself. And, in many cases this is true. However, in the majority of situations, doing precisely that – working harder – is what leads to the build-up of frustration. Frustration makes people vulnerable and vulnerability leads to making bad decisions like buying a seminar that either won't work (for the “student”) or from somebody who isn't really an expert. 

So, how do you find out who you should believe? 

Investigate, on Google! 

Don’t confine yourself to looking for “words”; look for pictures and videos, too!

If you can’t find proof that the publisher/ host/ organizer can deliver what you need, you better head on. 

Also, check the dates! 

I see lots of people promising to teach how getting on radio shows will help book sales. Before you spend money on such a course, you should check the release dates of the mentioned books or the mentioned authors’ works. Radio shows have undergone great changes since the emergence of Sirius radio and podcasts. Therefore, you only want to take a course that is up-to-date. 

There are also lots of seminars about “learning how to get booked as a guest on Oprah’s show.” While the organizers may have experience doing that, you need to check if they booked guests for any of the OWN Network shows, or, for “The Oprah Winfrey Show”(which aired last on May 25, 2011).

Summing it up:

Nothing in life is completely free!

To get the best deal, you need to be your own agent and investigate. Ask yourself the same questions you would ask your (imaginary) literary agent or publicist and make your decision based on this information.


Gisela Hausmann publishes “naked (no-fluff) books.” 

She is an email evangelist, a PR coach, and Amazon top reviewer #3,454.

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine. 

© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann

If you enjoyed reading this blog, please subscribe & share.