How to talk about your work

Everyone needs a getaway

There are six coloured flags blowing on the beach.

The sand is white and warm, pleasant to the touch.

You’ve put your bag on one end of your towel to hold it down as the wind picks up, and your shoes at the other end.

The sky is deep and blue and cloudless, the sun is fierce. Cool and delightful the breeze off the water, messing up your hair and making your lips taste of salt.

Later we’ll eat very hot chips with tomato sauce on them, to warm us after the cold water.

There’s sand between your toes and you feel wonderfully tired.

A small child chases a seagull.

The moral of the story

When you tell me about the work that you do, make me see myself in it as clearly as you saw yourself at the beach just now.

Use photos, use tiny vignettes like the one about the beach, use video… do whatever you can to make me imagine myself having the experience of your work.

Wearing it. Running it through my hands. Hanging up after a session, shooken up and inspired. With your work as a piece of my life, sitting just over there, no not next to the potted plant, next to the bookshelf. Using your techniques in my next sales call.

If you can make me imagine your work as a reality in my life, I’m already half sold.

Here’s another example using my newest product, DIY Magnificence.

You jump with delight as you see the box sticking out of your mailbox.

Everything inside is colourful, everything is so very touchable. You shuffle the flash cards through your hands a few times, but they’re too big and there are too many to do it comfortably. You pop them back into their bag and flick over and over through the workbook. Your eyes catch a question and automatically you start to ponder it. (“What work does feel easy to me?”)

A week later, you’re sitting on the grass in the warming sun. You’ve unearthed your old stereo to listen to the Excited CD – you could have used your iPod, but the birds are singing and someone over that way is mowing and it’s just too nice a day to miss the sounds – and spending an hour or two planning your next amazing work is a thousand kinds of blessing. You’re making furious notes in your usual work notebook because the workbook feels too precious to write on just yet. You’ve made ten pages of big underlined scribbly notes already and you’re ablaze with potential and yes-ness. Many of the notes are already crossed out as you realised they weren’t your best work. Some ideas are underlined six times, with arrows and exclamation marks.

Two intense weeks later, scared and overjoyed and proud, you’re ready to make your new work a reality. Your friends say, “I don’t remember the last time I saw you so fired up!” and you reply, “I know. I’m just ready to do a lot of things I’ve been holding back on… this is going to be the best work I’ve ever created. I can’t wait to see how it goes!”

A couple of the cards have been pinned up on your corkboard. The rest are sitting in a drawer, waiting for your Next Big Thing.

Be specific, be evocative, and most of all… be concrete. Engage as many senses as you can, and enjoy the benefits. (They feel like a warm fuzzy blanket that smells faintly of lavender, tucked around your feet on a howling winter night.)

Want some advice on how to get your clients feeling down to their toes how amazing it would be to work with you? Sign up to Mo’Cash, Mo’Joy today, and we’ll talk about it in your free 30-minute Marketing Check-up!

Creative Commons License photo credit: kennymatic

10 thoughts on “How to talk about your work

  1. Your stories are amazing as always. The best part is: they stay in my head! Can’t wait to talk to you in a few.

  2. Wow. I can’t tell you how much I like your writing, Catherine. I guess the best way for me to describe how much your writing touches me is to let you know that I’m going back to my own writing and re-writing using the principles you talk about in this post. Be specific, be evocative, and be concrete. I’ve got a lot of work to do, but you’ve successfully inspired me to go do it. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your insights and your heart. I appreciate you.

    1. That is absolutely the goal! Striving to do work that’s both…

      … well, I think I put it best in that workbook.

      Three parts terror to seven parts giddy excitement is the right ratio. Too little terror, you’re playing it safe. Too much, you’ll freak out.

  3. Love your stories. Your messages. Your big energy vibes. Visiting here always gets me pumped and feeling sweet. I think all that orange might have something to do with it…

  4. I can’t get over how much we have in common! I feel like you are doing a lot of what I want to do with my own site. I am excited about exploring personality online. I love using my writing to give people a good picture of who I am and that is what you preach : ) I really enjoyed reading this and I think I want to have a 30 minute check in just to introduce myself and tell ya how much I am loving exploring your world!

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