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Make Voicemail a Production

Make Voicemail a Production

This is the first in a series I’ll be posting. The goal: equip you to be a superhero.

You probably don’t think of it this way, but voicemail is a production. It’s a little radio show. It’s meant to convey information, and you must keep the audience (of one) in mind. Here are some thoughts on hacking voicemail into something useful that will improve the effectiveness of your messages.

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Jot it Down First– It sounds stupid to write notes for a voicemail, but how many times have you heard a whole lot of “um” and “uhhh” and filler words while listening to voicemail. Jot down your points, and put your most important points first. And do a precis- Before you go in deep, give the main topic(s) you’ll cover as a quick bullet. THEN, you can go in.

Start With Identification– First, identify who you’ve called. “Hi, Rich. This is Chris Brogan.” Why? Because it tells the person you called that you know WHO you called. It also gives them time to get a pen, to calibrate. Second, give YOUR name clearly, and if the person doesn’t know you very well, give them your phone number slowly for callback. Right off the bat. Why? Because some people don’t listen to the whole message (I rarely do, especially if it lingers).

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Be a Journalist and Lead StrongLike I said about the precis, give your lead bullet point(s) first. “Hi, Rich. This is Chris Brogan. I’m calling to talk about the Videoblogging strategy for our team. Frankly, we need to change out the talent.” That’s a strong lead. It says what I’m calling for, and what action I want to take. THEN, I can give the supporting info. If your message is simpler, like setting up a meeting, perfect. Be brief. “Hi, Rich. This is Chris Brogan. Call me back at 631.612.8945. I’m making sure we’re good for 1PM on Tuesday for our conference call. I’ll be calling you.”

Finish Strong– When you close your voicemail, end with a “call to action.” Unless your voicemail is just a report on something (“Wow, Rich. That meeting stunk. Natalie wanted all our numbers, and we had nothing!”), end with whatever action you need next. And try for something more than “call me back.” If you can, make it something the person can do. “Rich, could you give me your best guess on one or two replacements for Kari. We need an on-screen talent that really drives the team relationship. Call me before Thursday, and we’ll get that on the agenda.”

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Your Take– What are the tips I missed? Help me tidy up this post and make it useful to your fellow lifehack readers. And if you want, leave me a voicemail about it.

Chris Brogan is co-Founder of PodCamp (next one’s in Stockholm in June), and he blogs at [chrisbrogan.com]. If you use Twitter, add him.

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Last Updated on February 13, 2019

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.

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2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

“There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

happiness surrounding

    One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

    6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

    People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

    7. Happy people show signs of happiness.

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    smile

      This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

      8. Happy people are passionate.

      Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

      9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

      Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

      10. Happy people live in the present.

      While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:

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      There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

      So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

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