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How Showing Vulnerability Makes You A Better Blogger

By Neroli Makim
19 Comments

I have an ongoing fascination with how technology has changed the way we do business and affects how we connect and communicate, and this fascination was peaked after reading Yaro’s last article.

Having only started my adventure into this online world in the last two years, I’m always learning so much from reading the articles posted here. As I spend time on this blog, and the more I see of the connection between Yaro and the readers, I get to see how Yaro models running a successful business in the new economy.

Today’s economy is a technology-based economy. It’s constantly evolving through the Internet, nanotechnologies, information and telecommunication technology and bionics. I’d like to share with you my observations of some of the elements I see that make up a successful model. They’re elements that are often unspoken, yet crucial to success in today’s hyper-connected world.

These elements are:

I couldn’t think of a more succinct way to say, “blurring the lines between business and the rest of your life” but I think you get the idea. I’m referring to the ever-present element in business nowadays where your customers want to know more about you, they want to know who you are beyond just the business persona. This isn’t something new.

When you think about it, humans once lived in small, local communities and traded with people within these small communities. Everyone did know a lot about the people they did business with. There were no clear lines between business and every other part of life. This served a very handy function, because you were able to gauge the level of integrity and value of a person in business by observing and interacting with them outside of their business persona.

(Rural communities are still like this; I grew up in one and I’m currently writing this blog post from a property in rural Australia where I’m looking after my brother’s animals whilst the family are away.)

Transparency

The blurring of the lines between your business persona and who you are in other areas of life is a crucial element in today’s economy because it’s needed to build trust and create connection. What this does essentially is create more transparency and allows your customers to have a personal experience of you in your personal life, which helps them gauge the level of your integrity and authenticity.

Even more importantly, it facilitates our primary need for human interaction and relatedness. Today’s economy is global and runs largely online, so your clients can’t get a good sense of who you are outside of business unless you share it with them.

Most of us have a common preconception that people will put on certain “appearances” if they want to be perceived in a particular way. This isn’t an unfounded belief, it’s precisely how we often behave. So we’re wired to be somewhat distrustful and sceptical about other people’s business personas, because we know they’re not necessarily a complete representation of who they are.

This is why it’s so important to allow your customers to see more of you than just your business persona, because it’s those aspects of the rest of your life that will create the greatest level of trust and connection between you and your clients.

I read Yaro’s recent post, and was amazed and touched at how many people responded to his very open appraisal of what’s been happening in his personal life lately. Yaro’s article gives a great example of how to walk the line between remaining professional yet still communicate with others in an open and candid way that facilitates a greater sense of connectedness and relatedness. And reading peoples comments shows how much this is valued by his audience.

Of course, transparency doesn’t mean sharing the most intimate details of your personal life with your clients. Even in the days when humans lived in small local communities, this didn’t happen unless you were married to the town gossip who would broadcast the family secrets daily : /  Transparency simply means sharing some of who you are in your personal life, including and especially the challenging experiences, so that clients can have a greater sense of connection and relatedness to you.

The Gift Of Vulnerability

I say “ especially the challenging experiences” because it’s those experiences that show others our vulnerability. If you want to know what creates connection more than anything else, it’s showing some vulnerability. Again, I don’t mean becoming a bleeding heart that pours out its troubles endlessly. Simply showing others that you have real struggles and challenges in life and things are not always perfect is one of the greatest gifts of humanity you can give, and it has a powerful impact on others.

Social media, like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and blogging are the most commonly used channels of communication that blur the boundaries of business and life. All of them are highly effective if you know how to balance being professional whilst still sharing openly and authentically from other areas of your life.

Living in small local communities has morphed into living online in communities we’ve chosen. The online communities we choose create the space for us to have a variety of interactions and connections; much of it comes down to fulfilling our primary human need for connection and relatedness. It’s a different version of connecting and communicating, but essentially serves the same function.

The intricacies of human connection go a lot further than this. There’s a great TED talk by a research professor named Brene Brown if you want to look into it more.


The main thing to remember as a blogger, is that you have a gift you can give your audience that will have a far greater impact on their perception of you than anything else you say. This is your ability to share aspects of your life (like personal challenges and difficulties) that facilitate a level of connection that we rarely give ourselves permission to experience. And the rarity of this in life is part of what makes it so appreciated.

Cheers, Neroli.

About Neroli Makim

Neroli Makim is an intuitive artist and writer who loves exploring Creativity and its relationship to personal fulfillment and professional success. She educates people about Creativity, what it is, why it’s important and how to access it within themselves. For more information, visit www.yourcreativesuccess.com.

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19 Comments

  • You are right on where we should be transparent, as we are not so rigid we won’t build or at least reinforce the wall, between a business side and just who we are, a person that is trying to Live in this Age. I believe the more we Share, and Really Receive, the closer we will get to what we Need….

    Thanks!

    Terry

    • Thanks Terry:) Glad you liked the article, cheers, neroli

  • Thank you, Neroli! Your article was very helpful and makes me believe I am now on the right track with what I’m doing. I am a singer/songwriter/performer, but I also have my own business that helps other artists and performers market themselves online. In the beginning, I was struggling with deciding who I wanted to portray myself as – heavily promoting one of the roles over the other – but I think this just confused people. And when people are confused about who you are, your credibility lessens in their eyes. I just had to accept that I AM both a creative entrepreneur and artist, and so that’s what I should be sharing with everyone. Connecting with others on a personal level using different social media channels is really key in building a database of loyal followers/readers. Great article!

    • Hi Auret, that’s a very unusual name, I’ve never heard it before:) It’s often tricky for creative people to find the right balance for both business & creativity…but it’s in great demand these days so keep at it!
      Cheers, neroli

  • I think what makes vulnerability a hit with blog readers is that, they see that the blogger is also human. The blogger is not just writing information for sharing, he is also sharing part of his life.

    • Hey GB, how’s it going? I think you’re quite right, information is great, but we’re always after that human connection as well. Cheers, neroli

  • Super sentiments Neroli. It’s all about being human. We all naturally connect with people (and businesses) that open up their human side and communicate more from the heart or share their treue emotions. We’re almost genetically programmed to respond to this at a greater and deeper level. And why not? People make the world go round and we pull and a drawn together with each other when honesty and transparency are present. It’s our gift, yes!

    • Thanks John, i know feeling connected to other people is important for me. I’m very happy spending time alone, in fact I’m on an isolated sheep and cattle station right now by myself for the week, & I’m loving the silence & time out from lots of people. But I love to be in touch with people, just to have that connection. Cheers, neroli

  • It was interesting to read about the aspects of blogging shared by you Neroli. I would like to put the issues which are now being faced by most of the bloggers:
    1. Continuity and consistency – Bloggers start a blog based on their passion or someone’s advise etc. However, you will find loads and loads of blogs which are not updated on a regular basis due to various reasons. What is the solution if some one does not find it compelling to write any more? Should that blog be deleted?
    2. Marketing of blog – there are dozens of tools available to market a blog. Again, many people don’t find enough readers at time. What’s the best suggestion you can make?
    3. Competition – Loads of new blogs being added on a daily basis. What is the value addtion or the differential factor which one can offer to stand out of this?

    I would suggest / request you to write some thing on the future of blogging too.

    best regards

    Malik Mirza
    http://wisdomfrombooks.com

    • HI Malik, those are really great questions, I’ll answer them from what I’ve learned through experience, but I’m also quite new to the blogging scene, so it would be really interesting to ask these same questions to some of the other Entrepreneurs Journey writers and see what other insights they share.

      Here’s mine anyway:)
      1. Continuity & consistency; this is one I’ve found hard to juggle along with all my other commitments, so i’ve taken a good hard look at what I am accomplishing every week, & what I have found that I really love to do and what seems to be building more momentum for me.

      Now I’m just about to renovate my blog so that I can use these same things, articles & interviews on my blog. I can’t post the articles I write for Yaro on my blog, but can link to them. I’ve started writing articles for other publications too, so I’ll use those for my weekly content as well. I’m doing a lot more interviews & I’ve found that i really enjoy them, so I’m going to be posting more of those on my blog too.

      I would say, look at what you already are accomplishing each week, what is easy & fun for you to do, then do more of it. It helps to have someone or something that locks you in to producing something. I’ve found that when I book interviews or agree to write articles for some other publication, then I always do it…that’s why I’m changing my blog, to make use of the stuff I’m already doing rather than trying to add more of a workload onto what I’m already doing.

      2. Marketing; this one is interesting…I’ve found from my own experience that the best kind of marketing or leverage I can get is through association with someone who is high profile in my niche or even if they aren’t in my niche, but can be somewhat related to my work. My profile is leveraged by association. It’s weird, because I’m the same person saying the same things, but when people associate me with someone they already hold in high esteem, then they start to take notice of me. The other thing is, I was told, everyone needs a success story, preferably a big one. Anyone who stands out from the crowd does so with a success story…apparently, that’s the golden ticket:)

      Competition; this one is tricky, if you’re in a really flooded niche, I would consider finding something less crowded. I think in order to be competitive, we need to be able to at least make a little splash, and if the niche is already really full, it’s going to be very hard to accomplish this.

      The other thing about competing is, each person has a very unique way of perceiving the world, and every person filters and stores information to match their unique blueprint for life. This is one way to stand out from competitors, in fact, you can take yourself out of the competition altogether using this.

      The trick is finding out exactly what those unique filters are that you use to perceive life and the world around you, and then know how this differentiates you from others. That’s what the saying, “Know Thyself” means, and if you can do this, you can then use this to market yourself and stand apart from your competition. I’m currently creating some surveys to help people get greater clarity about how they perceive & act in the world, but they’re not complete yet:)

      Great comment, i’m so glad you asked those questions, they’re very valid and valuable. I may even write a post based on those questions you asked, and I will write one on the future of blogging from my own perspective for sure…not sure when, but will fit it in over the next month.
      Cheers, neroli

      • Dear Neroli

        Many thanks for such a descriptive answer which has given me food for thought.

        Actually I am a professional accountant who is blogging on motivational/inspriational subjects. Hence, to write my accomplishments in my work won’t be of any ones interest i.e. those who are not linked with accounting won’t find it interesting at all. But yes, you are right in one sense that we need to track our story / our accomplishment and write some thing which is not the crowd mentality.

        Secondly, what I have found in the world of blogging is the lack of consistency at times which I have mentioned in my earlier comment and I am really thinking to find some way whereby video blogs or some interviews can be added, as you have pointed out.

        Finding unique filters is valuable advice and i am grateful to you for that.

        However, if you don’t mind, i would like to know your thoughts about one of the things which you have mentioned in your response about marketing. When you are ‘associated’ with some name, you get more levarage, though you are the same person. I have noticed this too. When some author with name makes a comment, he / she receives far more comments in response as compared to some one who is not known in the community. Why is it so? Are people not reading the material and evaluating it neutrally or is it because of a ‘cult’ following?

        best regards and thanks for your response

        Malik Mirza
        http://wisdomfrombooks.com

        • Hi Malik, i did find it very strange when i first began my writing & online business, that it didn’t seem to matter what I was doing, none of it got as much attention as whatever i did that was associated with a “big name” or recognized “authority”.

          This was very puzzling to me for a while, but i kept observing that this was the case, so I decided to work with it as it got the best results. One of the reasons for this is that people are so bombarded with so much information fighting for attention, I think they just can’t give an in depth appraisal of everyone’s work, so taking a recognized authority’s reference is just faster & easier. Another reason is that people do generally want to be seen as part of the “pack”, we’re wired to want to fit in as part of a survival mechanism. So if the general consensus is that person “A” is a trusted authority, and person “A” says person “B” is worth listening to, people will agree if that’s what it looks like everyone else thinks.
          There are actually a lot more reasons. but this is turning into a essay – some of it related to those filters i mentioned ;)

          It’s funny, i never used to get photos of myself with well known people I met, and I didn’t really understand why other people did. I used to think, ” Why do people do that? Having a photo of yourself next to someone important doesn’t change who you are.” But now I know how useful it is to leveraging your own profile or even just to get peoples attention, I’ve started doing it as well. It’s still strange in some ways.

          There are of course, exceptions to this, there are people who have just started from scratch and done something so amazing, they end up in the spotlight without needing to leverage themselves by association. This often requires quite an massive amount of creativity, inspiration, passion & ingenuity, so for most people profile building by association is an easier target. Important to note, you still need to have something very valuable and different to even get the profile building by association happening. In order for the high profile people to pay attention to you, you have to give them something worth paying attention to.
          Cheers, neroli
          PS, love the sound of what you blog about:)

          • Many thanks for your response.

            After gathering your comments and tweaking them a little, it can be a very good article with the topice ‘when you blog – consider this’ !

            I visited your blog and posted a small couplet as it came to my mind!

            Thanks for response and happy blogging!

            best regards

            http://wisdomfrombooks.com

    • Malik,
      I used to have a blog that I’m not maintaining any more. However, the information is still relevant and useful. I have decided to leave it online, and I only respond to emails at this point. Still, I’m receiving many questions.
      Tom

  • Dee

    If I’m honest Neroli, showing vulnerability made me better person and not just a better blogger. Naturally that flowed into the rest of my life including my blog and business, but it did take a rather large personal event, to make the better me.

    • Hey Dee:) That’s a good point, it makes a massive difference in personal relationships as well as professional. I don’t think I’m brilliant at vulnerability, but i can see how people who are seem to be a lot better off for it.

      There was an amazing TED talk by a highly decorated US army guy, I don’t know how high his rank was, but it was way up. He was speaking about leadership, and the essence of what he was saying was that his leadership role in the army had morphed into becoming a lot more vulnerable in the way he communicated in order to get the job done. Instead of top down management & barking orders, he found asking questions, asking for help and being very open about not knowing things was way more effective. Pretty fascinating stuff.

      Chat soon;) neroli

    • BTW Dee, those “rather large personal events” they always seem to make us better people, it’s almost like they’re designed for that purpose;)

  • Liz

    Vulnerability sort of brings you out of the clouds a little bit and puts you on the level of your reader. People can connect with you better if they can see that you’re not perfect, you’re really just like them. You have struggles, difficulties and emotions.

    People want to be personal with you, there’s just something about it that helps build trust.

    Who ever said, business isn’t personal?

    Awesome Post!

    Liz :-)

    • Thanks Liz, I like your analogy of “bringing us out of the clouds”, vulnerability does seem to cut through vagueness to raw emotion. It’s pretty cool:) cheers, neroli

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