I used to turn to Twitter for inspiration. I hardly ever use Google for a search. XING was my first social media affair, but Twitter is my true love. I am a short form texter and a friend of saying it in five bullets. I have returned to write posts in long form, 300 words minimum (and not only because of SEO but because it feels right). I had underestimated the challenge of being German and here is a how I got over it so I could become a better blogger.
Having been in the middle of my career around 2005, I think I missed the whole era of blogs coming up. I had too much to read already and I did not really understand the point of blogs. I thought of them as diaries not valuable sources of information. When I started to write in one of my XING groups it was to “inform” rather than to engage or entertain and once I was told that it was too much to read.
The way I wrote for a long time was the way I had learnt to write emails as an HR professional: Concise, factual and directive. I think, I still write concise and directive but I am moving away from the factual style. I have a hard time being funny. I wonder why that is. I realized it must have two reasons: 1) I am German and 2) I worry too much.
Apart from the obvious influence of my passport culture and mother tongue which is a limitation of English vocabulary and sometimes errors in grammar, I think the German education and university system got in my way when I wrote blog posts. We learned to base our statements on deep analysis. In blogging that is not necessary because you can write about your view of the world. I only understood this difference a few weeks ago. I don’t have to be “objective” in my writing. Readers want to hear what I have to say, not four consulting companies.
As a German (I am stereotyping now) I can’t be funny in a professional context. I take myself way too serious most of the time. I wish I could give a lighter note to my writing but I find it hard. Sylvia Day, a comedian and improv coach told me once “Don’t try to be funny.” So, I guess my only chance to make you laugh is by showing you the naked reality of our multicultural, globalized life. Maybe you read a story here and think “This is how I cheat myself as well.” For example when I write in my diary “Walk” and then I use the free time as a buffer to perfect my tweeting skills.
We assume that our published words are an expression of our analysis and experience with a subject matter. If I make a false assumption or draw a false conclusion, then that could reflect negatively on my work. I am often worried that I could be called out for superficiality. Not really hitting the nerve of the topic like in high school when you thought you failed the assignment as you did not really get what the teacher asked you to do only to hear him quoting you in front of the class as (OMG) your assignment stood out with originality and spirit.
In an attempt to make my blog more interesting I introduced movies as a theme. I love movies so why should I not refer to them in my work. You might love movies too. Make sure you enter “Darth Vader” in the search box or “James Bond” or “Iranian movies”. (Did you know that there is a Japanese movie festival in Zurich?)
I am also getting more bold at saying what I think needs to be said. That boldness might take a bit of uncomfortableness but it is very liberating. When you make helping others your profession you need to sit in their brain. When you write a cover letter I want you to hear me telling you that you break the task down in several steps and that you refrain from copying and pasting. When you network with a purpose I want you to hear that it is not about you but about helping the other person succeed or overcome a problem. And when you are asked about your salary expectations I want you to hear “Say the numbers.” This is what I would like to achieve with my work. That you reach your goals, that your work feels more rewarding and that you have a challenging growth experience on your international assignment.
That does not mean that we can’t have fun at the same time. So tell me all of your ideas how I could make you laugh.