I began hosting The Writer’s Voice podcastnearly a year ago. In each episode, I chat with one or more writers about the craft of writing, the process of writing, and books. I also attempt to draw out the true personality of my guests so listeners get a glimpse of the person behind the writer. This week, the podcast’s editor, Mike Royer, suggested that when writers plan what they’re going to say in advance of each episode they should also focus on … words better left unsaid.
Not only does he edit the audio and video for each podcast and itstrailers, he is also a highly auditory person. In other words, he focuses on the music of the words my guests and I speak. According to Mike, attending to the words better left unsaid is the favorite part of his job. He has told me this before. Many times. In many different ways. For some reason, I never got it.
So, this week, he showed me.
Showing versus telling is a concept we writers learn early on in our careers. The concept is pounded into our heads over and over at writing workshops, during conferences, and in how-to books. We also learn to read our work aloud, especially the dialogue, to ensure the rhythm of the words, and the cadence and pacing, sounds right.
Until recently, I didn’t understand that we writers need to follow these same rules when we appear in public, participate in marketing events, and–yes, host or appear on a podcast. I also learned that showing how not to do something is equally as important as showing how to actually do it.
The Words Better Left Unsaid
When you hear the music of words better left unsaid, you’ll understand exactly what I mean … just listen!
Stay tuned for more outtakes – some of them are really funny!
Regardless of what business you’re in–whether you write and sell insurance or novels–customers are only going to buy you and your product if you earn their loyalty. No one is automatically entitled to trust.
How can you earn trust and loyalty?
Be authentic and sincere. If you’re a vegan selling Angus beef, that fundamental contradiction is apparent–if only in a funny feeling prospective customers sense.
Be open and honest. The popular word these days is “transparent.” And it’s appropriate. You don’t want people to lie to you, be deceptive, or withhold important information. So, don’t lie to, deceive, or withhold from others. The imbalance of treating people in a way you won’t tolerate being treated is going to topple you eventually.
Understand people. Do you know how your customers communicate? Would they prefer a phone call, a text, or an email? What do they believe? What do they want? What do they NEED? What do they consider important? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, how can you possibly give them what they want and need … or what they value?
The most important things to remember about people are that they want to:
Be viewed as important.
Know you care.
I talk about this subject in more detail in episode 14 of my podcast, Taking the Mystery out of Insurance. You can find it here.
If you’d like to read more about the subject, check out Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People or any of Jeffrey Gitomer’s sales books (gitomer.com).
The homeowners policy was designed to insure personal risks, not business risks. For this reason, virtually all coverage for business property and liability is explicitly excluded in the homeowners policy.
Very limited property coverage is included for business personal property. The limit usually ranges between $1,000 and $2,500 if the business property is at your house. The limit is much less for business property anywhere else–like in your car.
Liability coverage for business activities is also severely limited. It only applies to incidents that occur on your property at home, and only for those that arise when:
Your house is rented–either occasionally as a residence or when a part of it is rented to 1 or 2 boarders. This does NOT include Airbnb rentals, or any series of rentals. Neither does it include renting your barn to a neighbor who does lawn mower repairs.
A portion of your house or other building is rented for use as a private garage, office, school, or studio. Think designating a room for use to give music or dance lessons, or as an office for a writer.
An insured who is under age 21 runs a self-employed part-time or occasional business that does not have any employees.
What all this means is that if a person is working from home, any property used for business–regardless of whether it is owned by the individual or the individual’s employer–has very limited coverage. If the employer has insurance for property it owns, that property should be insured specifically on the employer’s policy with an indication it is located at the employee’s home. In some cases, the employer’s failure to cite the location of the property on its policy, especially if the property is valued at more than $5,000 or $10,000, might result in a lack of adequate coverage in the event of a loss.
Potential problems relating to the lack of business liability coverage under the homeowners policy are more serious. In most cases, clients do not visit employees working from home. But if anyone visits your home for business and gets hurt, your unendorsed homeowners policy does not provide any liability coverage. Similarly, if a FedEx or USPS employee trips and falls while delivering business mail or packages, any claim for injuries would not be covered. Basically, coverage for ANY other type of liability (think cyber liability, products liability, etc.) is NOT covered, either.
Endorsements are available to add limited business property and liability coverage to the homeowners policy but, in most cases, it’s probably not adequate. Some insurers also offer a home business endorsement that does include business, or commercial, coverage. That’s probably a better idea.
Remember, even if you’re working from home and your employer does have coverage for property it owns, and its own liability, your employer gets the broadest coverage under that policy. If you’re covered under it, you can still be held personally liable for property damage and bodily injury resulting from business activities conducted at your home.
Unless you buy and add business endorsements to your homeowners policy, you might find yourself uninsured in the event of a loss when you’re working from home.
For more details, listen to this week’s podcast at Taking the Mystery out of Insurance.
Until four years ago, I never watched the news on a regular basis. I never felt the need to follow politics closely or share my political beliefs. My reasons are a story for another day.
Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, maybe it’s because I’m growing older, or maybe it’s because of something buried deeply in my unconscious, but I’ve found myself fascinated by all the drama playing out on the world stage during the past four years.
People are ridiculously simple and complex … all at at the same time. They’re transparent and deceitful, generous and greedy, considerate and selfish. They’re also damned scary.
Normally, I’m more of a participant than an observer. But during the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve had no choice but to limit my activities to watching and listening to other people rather than dancing around on my own. Here’s what I’ve come up with during the past three months:
The world needs more compassion and empathy. For those of you without a dictionary:
Compassion is being concerned about how other people suffer and experience difficult times.
Empathy is being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
I’ll use myself as an example because, like most people, I’m my favorite person and my thoughts and feelings focus primarily on myself. I am:
The firstborn of 4 siblings
Because of inherent traits I have no control over, I do not know what it feels like to be male, 6’ 7” tall, an only child, blonde, or childless. I will never know what it feels like to have a penis instead of a vagina, be able to reach the boxes on the top shelf in the kitchen without a stool, have all my parents’ attention every day, be the butt of stupid blonde jokes, or to not be blessed with the joys and pains of childbirth.
I will never know what these things feel like. I am not responsible for this deficiency in knowledge. It is a fact of nature. My traits are immutable. I have no control over them. However, I can be concerned for men and how they suffer. I can imagine what it must feel like to be a 6-foot-tall 13-year-old girl who towers over her classmates.
You can draw up a similar list of things that describe you, traits and characteristics you were born with or experiences that can never be reversed.
My list will be different from yours. But my list is no more or less important than yours is. My traits and feelings will be different from yours. And my traits and feelings are no more or less important than yours are, either. They’re just different.
This world contains billions of people, each of whom is different from everyone else. Do those differences prevent us from sharing traits and feelings? No! Many other people in the world are also short women who are mothers, women who have younger siblings and have brown hair. Regardless of whether you or anyone else shares these traits with me, every single one of us has been the victim of prejudice, bias, scorn, and mistreatment.
Nasty stuff happens. To everyone.
I believe we need to focus on the similarities rather than the differences. And when we can’t focus on a difference–when it’s too large, too scary, or too nasty to be surmounted–we need to practice compassion and empathy.
This doesn’t mean we have to accept certain behavior, or forgive it, or forego the pursuit of justice. It means we need to be concerned for other people. No, we don’t have to embrace them and take them into our homes. But it does mean we should listen to them and respect their basic, human rights.
None of us wants to be controlled. Not by our government or other people. None of us should be controlled–by anyone.
Living by rules society has agreed to adopt is not being controlled. Being forced to live by rules a small segment of society insists on adopting is being controlled.
Why do some of us believe we have the right to control others, even when the majority of society does not agree with us? Because we don’t have compassion for others. We’re so focused on our own perspectives and pain we’re unable to step into the shoes of other people and imagine what it must be like to be them.