How to make yourself likeable when you write online

AKA advice from my past self to you)Cleaning out my Evernote recently, I found a folder called “BLOG PERSONALITY IDEAS.” It came from, years ago, when I was working with Kendrick Shope and she said [imagine deep Southern accent]:

“Marsha, I don’t know anyone who pours their whole personality into their emails better than you do.”

I was thrilled, and her suggestion eventually turned into me starting the service, Put The You Back In Your Business. But somewhere in between, I decided to test out if this could even be a thing, by getting on a call with a business buddy who wasn’t having any engagement in her emails and blogs.

I honestly don’t remember which chum it was (and if it comes to me, I won’t name him/her, because: discretion). But clearly, I made ten notes, and these were written up on the one file inside that was inside that BLOG PERSONALITY IDEAS folder. I just read through them, realized that Past Marsha made some good points, and thought I’d share them with you! With a little explanation under each one.

1) YOU ARE WARM! So be warm in your emails!
I have seen this issue SO MANY TIMES. I meet someone in person. They are so warm that standing next to them basically feels like being hugged by someone you really like. Then I look at their blogs and emails and they write like they’re politely informing me of my next dental appointment.

If you are a warm person in real life, we warm online and in your emails. If you are not warm, be the way you are. Either way, your people will find you and be grateful for it.

2) You don’t have to tell them anything about your life
OH this one. “I’m a really private person. I don’t want to talk online about my life.”
I get it a LOT. But here’s the wonderful thing…

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Why are you so interesting, Marsha, and I’m so boring?

Have you ever thought that?

Maybe not about me, but about someone else you follow online? Someone who writes newsletters or Facebook posts that you always read. Someone who, every week, seems to be doing something cool and even if you don’t necessarily wish you were them, you wish you could hang out with them. You feel like they get you.

(Maybe you’ve even considered buying from them just to get a bit closer…)

Want to know how they do that? Want to know how YOU could?

By telling your stories.

But…what if nothing that exciting has ever happened to you? What if you don’t have any stories?

Then, you’re screwed. Give up now.

Obviously, I’m kidding.

The wonderful thing about stories is…

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How to stand out when everyone else is selling, too

(AKA “What is it about crying in the bath that’s so exquisitely painful?”)

I sat at my desk, finger hovering over my mouse and feeling sick.
In the words of my friend Holly G, I used to sell my services like I was trying to sell drugs in a back alley. Back in my first year of business, I’d whisper what was on offer once, then never mention it again. In case you’re wondering, I did not have a steady stream of customers.

But, after some tough love from my sales coach (Kendrick Shope), here I was, about to send an email to my list, where I was openly — in my mind, aggressively — asking for the sale. I was terrified. I had started with a story, because I always start things with a story. But then I had very clearly spelled out why the person reading should hire me. I felt so pushy.

Frowning at the screen, I was totally convinced that, within minutes, all 200 people on my mailing list would unsubscribe. Perhaps some of them might appear outside my house with picket signs and tomatoes to throw. I took a deep breath and…

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How to make a good first impression, how to sell the thing you’re good at, how to make friends in a new city — YYQ 8 Review!

In this episode of Yes Yes Questions, I answered these:

How do I make a good first impression?
Is it normal to fall behind in an online course?
How do I get a big-shot to send me referrals?
How do I sell the thing I’m good at?
How do I make friends in a new city?
Is asking for help at work is a sign of weakness?

Want to know what I said? Including, for the first question, one of my FAVOURITE first-impression hacks (that involves just staring at something for a while)?

Read precise answers below, or listen here:…
Here are shorter, written versions of my answers:

1. INTERVIEW TIPS:
Q: “I’m going to meet the people in charge at a company where I’ve been recommended for a role. I’ve never done a role like the one advertised, but I really do feel that I would rock it! Any words of advice for a fantastic first impression??”

Research the company as much as possible. Go in there knowing everything you can about them, so that (i) you can…

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How to: figure out your niche, overcome disappointment, and get clients via your friends without feeling gross (Yes Yes Questions 7 Review!)

While I think investing money in coaching is essential, I am also a product of the Soviet Union.

This means I was brought up by parents (and grandparents, and aunties, and uncles) who love FREE STUFF. Sometimes, that means speed-clearing the toiletries in a hotel bathroom (and, let’s be honest, from an unattended housekeeping cart) like a one person plague of miniature shampoo bottle-loving locusts. And sometimes, that means seeing where you can get a free version of services that other people pay for…

In the spirit of this, once a month, I run a free call called Yes Yes Questions. Part-Free Business coaching, part-Live Advice Column, it’s an hour where you get to ask me ANYTHING YOU LIKE, without the usual price tag that comes with my services. And the next one is next Monday, April 6th! Want to be there? Pop your details in on this blog. And to whet** your appetite — here’s the recording from last time, and here is an overview of most of the questions asked then and the answer I gave! In this episode, I answered these Q’s:

1. How do you know if your niche is niche enough?
2. How did you become an entrepreneur? What led you to that path and how did you go about learning how to be one?
3. How do you fake your niche if you feel like you can help EVERYONE?
4. Howwwwwww do I ask my friends and family to help me spread the word about my business? The idea of doing that sounds AWFUL.
5. Any advice on keeping up positive momentum when you get a setback?
I just found out an hour ago I did not get a significant consulting gig that I really wanted (and had received inside information that I would be hired…). Ugh… I just want to hide under a blanket for the rest of the day.
6. Is there a place where speakers hang out or go to? I really wanna photograph more speakers, as well as BIG speaking events.
7. I want to speak at conferences! How do you stand out when applying to do this?

Want to know what I said? Click below to read more!

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That time when all the networking advice I give got truly tested

I’ve spent quite a lot of the last month nauseous with nerves. What time I haven’t been nauseous, I’ve been feeling deeply moved.

I have a book coming out tomorrow. I know! It’s very exciting. Sort of. What I mean is, it is very exciting – I’ve been working on it for four years, it’s being published by Bloomsbury who also publish Harry Potter, and mostly, it’s MY NAME ON AN ACTUAL BOOK.

But… it’s also involved me having to do something that makes me deeply anxious: putting on…

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Why You Should Ask Strangers Personal Questions

Something very weird happened on Tuesday night.

Or, if not weird, then… alchemical might be the word. I had actually fully intended to write a blog about something else – some straight up networking advice (like I gave you here and here). But I’m still reeling from that evening and feel like I have to tell you about it.

It started innocently enough…

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How to Stop Acting Like a Total Weirdo Around People You Want to Impress (VIDEO)

A couple of months ago, I got to meet one of my heroes. Someone I think is AMAZING. The first bit of the encounter – when there were lots of others around – went alright.

Then I tried to talk to her one-on-one.
Before I knew what was happening, I was acting like – well, basically, the opposite of how I wanted to come across. Lots of spitting. Laughing too hard. Almost as if I was trying to make her dislike me.

Sadly, it’s a way of behaving that I know all too well. Happily – I’ve learned to give this condition a name – and some steps to get rid of it.

Is this something you’ve experienced?
If so, in today’s video, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to…

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How To Write an Email Subject Line That Gets Your Message Read (VIDEO)

Remember when getting an email – any email – felt terribly exciting? Really early on, when you got your first email address?

Oh, heady days.

The vast majority of emails I receive won’t get opened. I have a filtering system so I don’t even have to look at most of them, but even of the ones I see – I delete about half without reading. Ones that have subject lines like PRESS RELEASE or NEW SINGLE BY LONDON BAND or MARSHA WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO CALL ME? I AM YOUR MOTHER FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE, IT IS YOUR DUTY.

Ok, joking about that last one (called her this morning). But you get the gist.

The sad thing is, some of the emails I delete are probably good, and might be a band I do want to listen to, or someone I would like to know about. But if I’m put off by the subject line? No chance. And that’s only out of a couple of hundred.

Big-shots in your industry – as I explain in the video – get THOUSANDS of emails a day. So if you want any chance of getting yours read? It must have…

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Why Your Shyness at a Party Is Actually A Secret Superpower

Harry Nilsson was wrong. One isn’t the loneliest number. It’s three.

When you’re shy, at a party and standing with two people who are talking to each other as if you’re not there, that’s how it feels.

In the summer of my second year at university, I had my first ever experience at a professional radio station. I hadn’t actually applied – an exceptional man called Lenny Love (real name!) had heard my show on student radio, paged me (remember how it was the 90’s?), then invited me to come and help out. (As my introduction to both radio and stand up comedy, this irrevocably altered the course of my life).

I was part of a 40-strong team working on Radio Forth’s coverage of the Edinburgh Fringe – the largest arts festival in the world. All day, we’d charge about watching shows or manning ticket giveaways. In the evening, we’d have a big production meeting, then sardine into the on-air studio for the main program: a three-hour, late-night spectacular, crammed with features, reviews and – most thrillingly – guest stand up comedians, who’d leave us asthmatic with laughter and almost taken off the air…

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