By Don Douglas
I truly wish I could say Mark said this while we were playing some pickup basketball — with me going off, raining 3s, blocking shots and passing out dimes — but rather, he said this about my business leadership.
Before I explain, what prompted this subject is the number of headlines on the Web (like this one) that are meant to grab attention and gain readership. The titles are often catchy but sometimes quite a reach. At times I read these and walk away unsatisfied, similar to the way you feel a couple of hours after eating a high-carb, fast food lunch. I’m going to try to avoid this empty outcome by making three points with my headline. Hopefully at least one of these will help a startup founder trying to get in front of a key person, an aspiring blogger angling for strong readership or even a salesperson seeking a foot in the door.
First, whenever you are writing, whatever it may be, make sure there is a point to it! Humor me, make me think or educate me in some way.
Second, always provide the context from where your headline is coming. The compliment from Mark Cuban was really nice, but should you believe it? I guarantee he didn’t deliver it in the context you may assume, but it was all said in good fun.
Here’s what happened: I was testing out a new secure messaging application called Cyber Dust which allows users to send messages to someone and then have them disappear without a trace. Because Mark is backing the company, I decided to message him for fun to see if or how he would respond. Since I love basketball, a business associate had given me a Mark Cuban action figure that I keep on a shelf in my office with some other basketball-related items. I decided I would send Mark a photo of his action figure and ask him, “What message is having this in my office sending to my team?" He responded quickly with, “You have it on lockdown and will be revered!" I definitely got a kick out of this exchange and, judging by the response, I think he did, too.
So, the third point I want to make: Be relevant. If you’re trying to connect with someone, get a response or request assistance, then your appeal must be relevant to them. Perhaps Mark would have messaged me back on the application regardless of what I’d written. But without the relevance of that photo, it’s fairly unlikely I would have gotten such a humorous response. Keep this in mind the next time you reach out to someone you don’t know — find an interesting way to get their attention and make it relevant. That way, you and your audience are much more likely to get something valuable out of the encounter.
President and CEO of Liquid Networx, Don Douglas has worked in the technology field for more than 30 years. During his time at the helm of Liquid Networx, the company has grown dramatically, developed channels, brought many new products and services to the market, gained brand recognition and garnered numerous accolades from clients and partners. Douglas is a member of the 2013-14 Channel Partners Advisory Board.
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