Aisling’s notes: We’ve all had comments, emails, posts, and even our art misinterpreted… sometimes badly. In this article, musician & business consultant Bob Baker gives insight into what may have gone wrong, and how to prevent it from recurring.
Whose Fault Is It When You Don’t Get the Career Results You Want?
by Bob Baker
Human communication is a crazy thing. You tell somebody something with the intention of getting a certain response … and the person reacts in a completely unpredictable manner, sometimes with disastrous results. Let’s examine this topic and see how we can apply the lessons learned to promoting, selling and enjoying your creative talents.
You’ve had this happen to you at one time or another: You make a funny comment to a friend or family member based on something silly you’ve just been thinking about. Instead of laughter, you get frustration, maybe even a hostile reaction.
“How could they react that way?” you ask. “My intention was to make them laugh or feel good. How dare they misinterpret what I meant to do!” A lot of folks place the blame on the deranged individual who responded so radically.
Now switch to a freelance writer sitting down to write a sales letter she’ll use to drum up work. She knows she’s capable and has won a number of contests and has lots of published clips to show. So she gets to work writing about her qualifications and why editors should call her when they need freelance help.
The letters go out. Weeks pass by. No editors call.
“What’s wrong with these people?” she cries. “I gave them all the reasons I’m a good freelance writer, but none of these jerks is calling me!” She knew what her intention was. Why wasn’t her vision becoming reality?
This writer had made the mistake of not separating INTENT from RESULTS.
Intent is what you WANT or HOPE will happen. Results are WHAT HAPPENS. When it comes to communicating, your intent doesn’t matter. Results are the only thing you should be focusing on.
If you aren’t getting the results you want, do a little research and try a different approach. Even if you think your new brochure is the best thing since Ricky Martin … If it ain’t gettin’ the results you want and need … figure out what’s wrong and change it!
As a creative person, you are very focused on your art. You’re dedicated. Your brain percolates with dozens of ways to approach your current project. You nurture and refine your talent. In other words, you are very focused on … YOU.
That’s great for art … but not for marketing, promoting and selling your talents.
Our writer friend above, like many freelances, might eventually discover that sending letters that pitch specific story ideas get the most response from editors. Some writers I know even list five or six different tailor-made topics — one of which is likely to catch the editor’s eye.
Of course, that would mean the letter would have to focus primarily on the editor and publication receiving it … NOT on the writer herself.
So don’t get too attached to your intent, or get too angry when people don’t react as much and as quickly as you want. The only thing that matters are RESULTS. Focus on them and you may end up getting a lot more of what you want.
Bob Baker is the author of “Unleash the Artist Within,” “Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook” and “Branding Yourself Online.” Get a FREE subscription to Bob’s newsletter, “Quick Tips for Creative People,” featuring inspiration and low-cost, self-promotion ideas for artists, writers, performers and more. Visit www.PromoteYourCreativity.com for details.