Everyone has a style. I’m not talking about your hair or your clothes or what colour your glasses frames are. I’m talking about the way you approach life, the way you solve problems, the way you think about the world.
It’s especially obvious for those of us who coach or train. Maybe we do more conscious thinking about how we do what we do, but most of us figure out pretty early on what our particular style is. And that style or approach or theme can usually be interpreted visually.
What image comes to mind when you think about how you — and your business — are doing what you do out in the world?
I’m all about building bridges. When I was working as a freelance technical writer, I always thought of the content I wrote as a bridge between a very complex technical subject and the people who needed to understand it, or at least make use of it. I got really good at learning techie geeky stuff (because I like learning it) and then explaining it to the non-techie people around me (because I also like explaining it).
I always said that my Dad was the audience I aimed for in my head. He was a pretty sharp guy, but didn’t have a lot of formal education. When he passed away I taught my then 79-year-old mother how to use her brand new laptop — and she now does all her banking online, orders her groceries and her craft supplies, and uses it as her window to the world since she’s not very mobile these days. She’s even used her webcam to record a video and put it on YouTube! If I can explain that to my Mom, I can explain anything to anyone. I bridge the gaps between what you know and what you need to know.
When I started building websites for a living, I figured out pretty quickly that the value I brought to those projects had more to do with first getting the client’s information out of their heads (information OUT) and then explaining online marketing to them once their site was built (information IN). I was still all about bridges; I helped them bridge their marketing gap between where they wanted to be and where they needed to be online. In fact, when I first created my Web Strategy Made Easy system, I titled it “Bridge Your Marketing Gap: Web Strategy Made Easy”. I’ve since changed the title but the concept remains the same. (And that product is now available for sale as a PDF with a whole whack of bonuses. If you ever wanted a less expensive way to work with me on your web strategy than my package of one-on-one sessions, here it is.)
And when I made the transition into coaching, again it was all about building bridges. I help people figure out where they want to go — where to aim for on the other side of their gap — and then help them build their own bridge to get there.
One of my coaching clients also uses the bridge metaphor. But in her case, she IS the bridge. I help people build their own bridges, but she ACTS as a bridge between two sides of an issue.
Another of my clients uses pathways. All of the content she creates, and even her own journey, is structured on finding pathways and using maps to plan your route from A to B.
The secret in all of these? I said it in the last paragraph: “even her own journey”. The style we use with others, when we create and deliver products and services, mirrors the style and approach and theme we find in our own lives.
So if your marketing is a little stuck, think about how YOU work and how YOU learn and how YOU listen and how YOU buy. Chances are the words you want to use will be in YOUR story.