The politician’s guide to honest, authentic, and effective communication

Quick—what pops to mind when you hear the word “politician”?

While there are certainly exceptions to every rule, I’ll bet money that you came up with at least one or two of the following (or similar) phrases:

Are clients comfortable doing business with you?


snake-oil salesman
out for what he/she can get


The good news here is that this clichéd view of politicians can serve as a horrible yet powerful lesson on how NOT to communicate with your clients and prospects.  All you have to do is look for the behavior that’s 180 degrees opposite theirs, and you’re on your way to success.

From unprincipled to principled.

To paraphrase an observation made by Thomas Babington Macaulay, “The measure of real character is what you would do if you knew you never would be found out.”

Acting out of principle can be something as small as owning up to the fact that you simply chose not to respond to an email promptly, instead of claiming that you never received it.  Practicing principled behavior in (relatively) trivial situations makes it easier to have the courage to do so when the consequences are greater—for example, when you choose to fire a client and fully refund their payment because you’ve realized you simply can’t work together effectively.

From “What can I get out of this?” to “What can I contribute to this?”

Looking for and finding ways to be of service not only enables you to sleep well at night; it also enables you to earn a very good living by solving problems faced by your ideal clients.

Think of a time you were dazzled by a service provider who delivered more than they promised.  Didn’t that endear them to you and make you want to help them in return?  You will be that service provider when you come from a perspective of “How can I help?” and ensure that your marketing communications and actions all convey that message.

From “Yuck” to “Yum”.

There are a few companies whose very names make me gag because of the poor experiences I’ve had with them.  I describe this as having a high yuck factor.

On the other hand, there are some companies that I’m so delighted with, I’ll practically accost strangers on the street to spread the word.  That attitude is based on a number of simple (although not necessarily easy to achieve) factors: warm energy, under-promising combined with over-delivering, relentless cheerfulness (even when I know that can’t be feeling happy all the time), generously shared expertise.  Such businesses are the professional equivalent of a double-fudge brownie: The most appropriate response is, “Yum!

Success is a habit that can be developed.

So…How different are you from a “typical” politician?  How do you incorporate authenticity, integrity, service, and likeability into your everyday business activities?

(Thanks to SuperMac1961 for his picture of the sorta slimy salesman.  I found it in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)

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