Seth Godin wrote a great post this week about the “About” tag on websites, called “Five rules  for your About page.”

It’s 5 simple rules, but they speak volumes:

1.  Don’t use marketing jargon.  Tell us who you are and what you stand for.  In plain language your grandmother could understand.

2.  Don’t use a stock photo of someone not at your church.  Use real pictures of real people (with their permission).  Not just leaders.  Ordinary people.  Helps visitors connect when they see the web face sitting next to them in the pew.

3.  Make it easy to contact you. Don’t hide the address or phone number.  Don’t use an email address that doesn’t work anymore.

4. is like 1.  He says to “Be human. Write like you talk and put your name on it. Tell a story, a true one, one that resonates.”

5.  Use true testimonials to build credibility.  Helps if it’s not someone on staff.

Good words.  Read and heed.  (excuse me while I edit mine!)

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In Seth Godin’s daily blog last Saturday, he told us to give people the benefit of the doubt.

What he said was that our language is imperfect, especially in a multicultural place like America, or on the web.  We mean one thing and the other interprets it different.  (example:  what my wife meant for me to do and what I thought she wanted.)

Godin suggests that with friends, we give them the benefit of the doubt that what they did was what they thought we wanted, and we excuse reasonable misunderstandings.  Or we take time to clarify what they asked us to do.  But with strangers or casual interactions, “we assume the worst.”

People will come to your church, not knowing your language, not responding the way you’d expect them to.  Or someone misunderstands during a church business meeting.  Or they come at a passage with a different interpretation based on a different background set of circumstances.  Your job, as a member of the body of Christ, is to treat them like a friend and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Assume they don’t know they’ve offended you, and be less easily offended.  It will go a long way toward creating unity in the body.

In his post today Seth Godin reminds us to be consistent .

He gives examples of shorting your employer: charging for hand-detail and then taking a short-cut, thinking more highly about yourself than warranted.

If you shade the truth a little

In church especially, what we do is every bit as important as what we say.  For as important as the Gospel message is, if we’re not consistent, they won’t listen to our words long enough to hear. .

If you argue with a customer instead of delighting them

We don’t have customers, we have parishoners and prospects.  They’re more likely to come (and contribute time and talents and finances) if we help them find spiritual delight instead of jumping too quickly to telling them what sin they’re committing this moment.

People no longer care what you say, but look instead at what you do.  What are they seeing?

Seth Godin is a great thinker.  His main area is marketing, but to help people market new products he needs to understand our culture, and describe the culture in ways no one else can.

This weekend I got an email to a video of a presentation Godin gave back in Feb 2003, and posted to an idea sharing site in April 2007.  It’s now over 5 years old, but is still a fantastic 18 minutes on how to stand out in getting your message across.

Be different. (more…)