Today, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL – playfully pronounced “castle”) took effect, primarily focused on Commercial Electronic Messages. It is regarded by many as the world’s toughest stance on spam by any government body. Interesting that it’s launching on Canada Day, perhaps sending some subliminal message of strength and patriotism.
In this post, I will make no judgements, commentary, or declare my opinion about CASL itself – there are plenty of people already doing that. In the end, I am against spam and unwanted communications, and the effect they have on those of us who are trying to communicate properly, meaningfully and respectfully. It desensitizes and jades people to communications and creates a population of annoyed cynics – and who can blame them for becoming that way.
My question is, what about in-person spam? Here are some examples of what I mean:
You just meet someone and they are trying to sell you and close you from the first sentence
At an event, you see someone who is rapid-firing out their business card at anyone who will take it, and doesn’t bother getting to actually know anyone
Someone is not listening to you at all in a conversation and just keeps talking over you, through you and around you
People who express views from a place of hatred and exclusion, such as racists and bigots
An acquaintance who is always asking for something and never offers anything in return
What we really need is a shared understanding of what is appropriate, and to respect each other enough abide by that understanding. Rather than trying to get louder and noisier to make your voice heard, maybe what you really need to do is listen.
To stop yourself before from becoming an in-person spammer:
Listen well and really get to know people
Ask questions and practice curiosity to increase your understanding
Heighten your self-awareness and the impact you have on others
Make sure you understand how people want to be treated and then do that
Ensure all of your communications are meaningful and respectful, and not just about you all the time.
This brief conversation of tweets from two respected friends says it all – and applies no matter what channel you’re using. This is in response to the flurry of emails Canadians have been receiving to obtain “opt-in” explicit consent for ongoing communications, many of which have been less than stellar.
Spam is spam, wherever it’s coming from.
Constant Questions: Have you ever experienced in-person spam? What is the worst story you have? How do you think we can avoid it? Have you ever actually eaten Spam or its lesser known cousin Klik?
The ultimate SPAM video!
Where did the elevator pitch lose its way? There is nothing wrong with the term as it started – you need to be able to explain simply, briefly and meaningfully what you or your organization stands for, what you do and what value you bring. However, over time, in many circles the concept has mutated and absorbed a lot of bad connotations.
To fuel the urgency to master the pitch, there is a commonly presented hypothetical situation. You will unexpectedly encounter a prominent businessperson/philanthropist/venture capitalist and you will have 30 seconds to close a million dollar deal/donation/investment – your ability to deliver your elevator pitch will be the deciding factor, so be ready. Sure, this is possible – just not likely. Adopting this shortsighted approach devolves the elevator pitch from a conversation starter designed to generate interest into a quick sale approach. I wager you will turn off most of your audience if walking away with a commitment in a minute was your intention.
When you hear Erica Mills from Claxon Marketing talk about the elevator pitch, in this enlightening video clip by 501 Videos, she has it right. Start a discussion on something you care about and believe is of genuine value to someone else – that lens really changes the resulting approach and content, doesn’t it?
Using the AIDA marketing/sales framework (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), if you try to move your audience through all four steps in a couple of minutes, none will get done well. Instead, focus your efforts on doing the first two steps really well – get your audience excited about you or your organization and start the dialogue, then build from there. Starting a dialogue first will help you get a better understanding of how you can generate desire without assuming you know the other party’s motivations. If you do this right, action is sure to follow in due time.
So join me in ditching the pitch as a quick deal-closer – and start conversations with it instead.
Constant Questions: What are your thoughts on the elevator pitch concept? How have you crafted your message to make it effective in getting attention and generating interest? What’s the longest elevator ride you’ve been on? Do you get motion sickness on elevators? Is there an escalator pitch?