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Got Personality?

One of the things people say about blogs they like is “personality”. What does this mean?

There are actually a few specific things this might mean. They like the writing style, they find the humour funny, the stories are amusing. It could also be an “attitude” thing.

The best example of a personality blogger I have is Scott Adams (who I have linked to a ton of times but I do really like his blog!). His stories, turn of phrase, way of looking at life – he just cracks me up.

Common sense I guess, but how does this help us?

My usual advice is “be yourself”. I have found though this is not exactly the most helpful advice I have ever given out. What comes naturally to some is a real problem for others.

Know Thyself

“Being yourself” means knowing what being yourself is like. One way to discover your “you-ness” is to understand your values, beliefs, philosophy. What are your priorities? This isn’t just important from a “personality” point of view but also it’s good to be consistent in your approach as people mistrust you if you contradict yourself.

For example if I started criticising people for being nerds, knocked people for taking pleasure from gadgets and generally railed against all things technology. Yes, highly unlikely, and possibly over exaggerated, but you get the point πŸ™‚

Make It Personal

It’s important to include some personal details for people to feel they have connected with your personality. Also people are more likely to like people who have things in common. Those personal details are the bridges between you, common ground as it were. This is one of the reasons it is good to mix in some less business posts occasionally, tell stories, share some history. You will find your audience reacts. Some will agree, you will get corrected, some will have their own stories, but most will appreciate being included.

“Oh I had a Vic-20 computer too”
“Yeah the Calgary flames looked like they were going to make it this year, whatever happened?”
“Actually Vegimite is not the same as Marmite”
“You think you had it tough? I had to walk 10 miles every day, up-hill both ways”

Write Like You Talk

When you are speaking to someone you address them. You don’t talk “at” them, you talk “to” them. You ask questions, you give them space to reply, you tend to use natural language rather than “jargonese”. This isn’t about being sloppy, your writing can still be professional and have all the correct grammar. What I am suggesting is you write like a human being talking to another human being.

Relax

The best advice is to relax. When you let your writing flow your personality will come through naturally.

Do you have favourite bloggers who you read for their personality? What do you look for in a personality blogger? Share your thoughts in the comments …

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Comments

  1. Chris,
    In case of blogging, what you write is what you sell (WYWIWYS). You are reflected into your writings. Its again a matter of personal branding. Better you reflect yourself in writing, more you brand yourself.

    Rajesh Shakya
    Helping Technonopreneurs to Excel and Lead their Life!

  2. Chris,
    In case of blogging, what you write is what you sell (WYWIWYS). You are reflected into your writings. Its again a matter of personal branding. Better you reflect yourself in writing, more you brand yourself.

    Rajesh Shakya
    Helping Technonopreneurs to Excel and Lead their Life!

  3. I am MUCH more likely to return to a blog, subscribe and comment if I feel I know the person. No personality = unmemorable. Just blending it with the crowd means I will probably forget you. I think a picture on the site is important too as you try to inject some personality.

  4. I am MUCH more likely to return to a blog, subscribe and comment if I feel I know the person. No personality = unmemorable. Just blending it with the crowd means I will probably forget you. I think a picture on the site is important too as you try to inject some personality.

  5. @Rajesh – Yes it is partly branding, it is also partly allowing people to get to know you, which some people find difficult, and it is also sincerity I think

    @Randa – Me too, I like to feel I know my regular reads, at least a little bit. Yes I can find a blog valuable without, but they never reach “favourite status” unless I feel a connection πŸ™‚

  6. @Rajesh – Yes it is partly branding, it is also partly allowing people to get to know you, which some people find difficult, and it is also sincerity I think

    @Randa – Me too, I like to feel I know my regular reads, at least a little bit. Yes I can find a blog valuable without, but they never reach “favourite status” unless I feel a connection πŸ™‚

  7. I think most of us enjoy more a chat with friends than a classroom and, if your friends are interesting enough a chat with them could be as interesting as a class.

    Writing in a friendly conversational mode in a blog always has more chances to succeed than writing on classroom tone.

    After all, you don’t have to be formal to be serious.

  8. I think most of us enjoy more a chat with friends than a classroom and, if your friends are interesting enough a chat with them could be as interesting as a class.

    Writing in a friendly conversational mode in a blog always has more chances to succeed than writing on classroom tone.

    After all, you don’t have to be formal to be serious.

  9. Very true!

  10. Very true!

  11. All of my favorite blogs are the ones where I feel like I’ve gotten to know the person through their writing. I’m always a little comment-shy, and the only ones I ever really comment on are the ones with personality, so I know who I’m writing to.

    One of my favorites: Success from the Nest – Tony’s writing is interesting and friendly, and the cartoons add that little bit of extra personality that puts you even more at ease…

  12. All of my favorite blogs are the ones where I feel like I’ve gotten to know the person through their writing. I’m always a little comment-shy, and the only ones I ever really comment on are the ones with personality, so I know who I’m writing to.

    One of my favorites: Success from the Nest – Tony’s writing is interesting and friendly, and the cartoons add that little bit of extra personality that puts you even more at ease…

  13. I’ve always found it challenging to walk the line between revealing personality and maintaining a sensible amount of privacy, but may have finally found my comfort zone there. Perhaps the ‘poster child’ for someone who writes with personality upfront in a very positive way is Liz Strauss, but there are many others populating my feed reader…

    Do you sense a sea-change in this area, Chris? Is the ‘personal touch’ an asset that bloggers are finally beginning to appreciate and explore?

  14. I’ve always found it challenging to walk the line between revealing personality and maintaining a sensible amount of privacy, but may have finally found my comfort zone there. Perhaps the ‘poster child’ for someone who writes with personality upfront in a very positive way is Liz Strauss, but there are many others populating my feed reader…

    Do you sense a sea-change in this area, Chris? Is the ‘personal touch’ an asset that bloggers are finally beginning to appreciate and explore?

  15. @Sarah – you make good point about comment-shyness, I think the bloggers who put more of their personality into their blogs get the most, and best quality, comments

    @Jen – I think because many bloggers came from journals/diaries, it has always been there but I am seeing more business people add a personal touch in less traditionally “chatty” niches.

  16. @Sarah – you make good point about comment-shyness, I think the bloggers who put more of their personality into their blogs get the most, and best quality, comments

    @Jen – I think because many bloggers came from journals/diaries, it has always been there but I am seeing more business people add a personal touch in less traditionally “chatty” niches.

  17. Hey Chris,
    I got another small tip for you: don’t talk down to your readers. Thanks for the info.
    Katie

  18. Hey Chris,
    I got another small tip for you: don’t talk down to your readers. Thanks for the info.
    Katie

  19. hey Chris, I’m back from the dead.

    I think your last point to relax is something I really need to listen to. I never feel “relaxed”. Although there should be a certain level of professionalism, I think my idea of that dominates my thoughts and I end up with cramped or thrown out posts because they’re not good enough. Not that I want to put out weak content but I need to keep writing and posting regardless of how I feel about the quality.

  20. hey Chris, I’m back from the dead.

    I think your last point to relax is something I really need to listen to. I never feel “relaxed”. Although there should be a certain level of professionalism, I think my idea of that dominates my thoughts and I end up with cramped or thrown out posts because they’re not good enough. Not that I want to put out weak content but I need to keep writing and posting regardless of how I feel about the quality.

  21. @Katie – Sorry!

    @A Tentative – Yeah worrying about it doesn’t make it better, but worrying about worrying could be as bad πŸ™‚ Best thing is to just make it as good as you can without causing yourself too much stress. Easier said than done sometimes.

  22. @Katie – Sorry!

    @A Tentative – Yeah worrying about it doesn’t make it better, but worrying about worrying could be as bad πŸ™‚ Best thing is to just make it as good as you can without causing yourself too much stress. Easier said than done sometimes.

  23. I’d just add this thought, for A Tentative, that there’s a lot to be gained by steeling yourself to post, even when it doesn’t feel “good enough” – because the more you write for a public audience, the more quickly you’ll find your true voice; and the response (or lack of) from your readers will help you to guage what works best.

  24. I’d just add this thought, for A Tentative, that there’s a lot to be gained by steeling yourself to post, even when it doesn’t feel “good enough” – because the more you write for a public audience, the more quickly you’ll find your true voice; and the response (or lack of) from your readers will help you to guage what works best.

  25. I think the best advice indeed is not to think too much about it. If I was thinking about it I know I would either write utter nonsense or nothing at all. I may still be writing utter nonsense, but at least this isn’t the reason I can assure you πŸ™‚

    If you ignore it you will actually experience that your tone of voice becomes more and more clear and that you become more and more comfortable writing. At least that is my experience from a few weeks of blogging. I am not sure that I write better now than when I started, but I have the feeling that I indeed am.

    Especially when you write in a foreign language as I am there are so many other factors you have to consider that the tone of voice really have to come naturally. Even if that means that it takes longer for it to develop.

  26. I think the best advice indeed is not to think too much about it. If I was thinking about it I know I would either write utter nonsense or nothing at all. I may still be writing utter nonsense, but at least this isn’t the reason I can assure you πŸ™‚

    If you ignore it you will actually experience that your tone of voice becomes more and more clear and that you become more and more comfortable writing. At least that is my experience from a few weeks of blogging. I am not sure that I write better now than when I started, but I have the feeling that I indeed am.

    Especially when you write in a foreign language as I am there are so many other factors you have to consider that the tone of voice really have to come naturally. Even if that means that it takes longer for it to develop.

  27. @Katie – Huh? I didn’t think Chris was talking down. He was being more of a mentor/guide. Chris is the last person I’d think of who’d have a superiority complex. Me, on the other hand,…. Mwahahhaa.

    BTW, I love Scott Adams. The other day he was talking about having personal stories then told a whopper of one. I’ve been racking my brain every since to think of what stories I can tell from my own life. Haven’t come up with a good one yet. *sigh*

  28. @Katie – Huh? I didn’t think Chris was talking down. He was being more of a mentor/guide. Chris is the last person I’d think of who’d have a superiority complex. Me, on the other hand,…. Mwahahhaa.

    BTW, I love Scott Adams. The other day he was talking about having personal stories then told a whopper of one. I’ve been racking my brain every since to think of what stories I can tell from my own life. Haven’t come up with a good one yet. *sigh*

  29. @Jen – Agreed, only when you put your stuff out there can you hope to make any growth as a writer

    @Jan – I would love to be able to write in a foreign language .. one day

    @Hsien – I think there are very few people who can top his stories, even his *life* is funny πŸ™‚

  30. @Jen – Agreed, only when you put your stuff out there can you hope to make any growth as a writer

    @Jan – I would love to be able to write in a foreign language .. one day

    @Hsien – I think there are very few people who can top his stories, even his *life* is funny πŸ™‚

  31. Aren’t you already? Or is this all Canadian English? πŸ™‚

    Seriously I probably only speak more foreign languages because I come from a country so small that it is a requirement. Then again it is also a pleasure being able to communicate with more people in their own language or in a common foreign language at least.

    I did not even consider for a second to be blogging in another language than English. In part while I wanted to refresh it, but mostly because I wanted to communicate with the world. Not because I am a megalomaniac, but simply because it adds an extra dimension to everything you do.

    Since the Dilbert Principle I have also been a great fan of Scott Adams. His blog is also required reading. Not only is it funny, but he also gives sound advice. I have noticed how my writing have changed since reading it too. I try to write shorter sentences for example. Cutting stuff away is also something he teaches – and practices. I will never be able to get up as early as he does though πŸ™‚

  32. Aren’t you already? Or is this all Canadian English? πŸ™‚

    Seriously I probably only speak more foreign languages because I come from a country so small that it is a requirement. Then again it is also a pleasure being able to communicate with more people in their own language or in a common foreign language at least.

    I did not even consider for a second to be blogging in another language than English. In part while I wanted to refresh it, but mostly because I wanted to communicate with the world. Not because I am a megalomaniac, but simply because it adds an extra dimension to everything you do.

    Since the Dilbert Principle I have also been a great fan of Scott Adams. His blog is also required reading. Not only is it funny, but he also gives sound advice. I have noticed how my writing have changed since reading it too. I try to write shorter sentences for example. Cutting stuff away is also something he teaches – and practices. I will never be able to get up as early as he does though πŸ™‚

  33. I guess it’s a matter of perspective πŸ™‚ Ok, I would like to learn a language other than English πŸ™‚

    Scott Adams educates and entertains, he is the ultimate blogger πŸ™‚

  34. I guess it’s a matter of perspective πŸ™‚ Ok, I would like to learn a language other than English πŸ™‚

    Scott Adams educates and entertains, he is the ultimate blogger πŸ™‚

  35. Learning Languages is really fun.

    The nicest thing about it, IMHO, is that different languages are associated with different ways if thinking.

    I don’t mean different cultural perspectives, although this is an added benefit. What I really mean it to be able to learn the semantic subtleties among them.

    For instance, different languages sometimes have several words to describe different things that in your own language are all described by a single word.

    Master the proper foreign words for things that you haven’t consider as different your entire life is really a challenge, and what you learn is a great treasure for your own thoughts.

  36. Learning Languages is really fun.

    The nicest thing about it, IMHO, is that different languages are associated with different ways if thinking.

    I don’t mean different cultural perspectives, although this is an added benefit. What I really mean it to be able to learn the semantic subtleties among them.

    For instance, different languages sometimes have several words to describe different things that in your own language are all described by a single word.

    Master the proper foreign words for things that you haven’t consider as different your entire life is really a challenge, and what you learn is a great treasure for your own thoughts.

  37. I hadn’t thought of that, interesting. Another mind expanding aspect of learning and traveling, two of my favourite things πŸ™‚ I will dig out the french audio course … écoute répète

  38. I hadn’t thought of that, interesting. Another mind expanding aspect of learning and traveling, two of my favourite things πŸ™‚ I will dig out the french audio course … écoute répète

  39. Unless you almost only travel to France would I never start with French. Forget German as well as it will screw up everything you know about any other language as well. πŸ™‚

    I would instead start with either Spanish or Italian. Both have a lot of words that have great similarities with English words (I have language courses for both based on that premise). Besides is it said that when you learn one the other one will come more naturally. And if you are then still hooked on French you will also more easily learn that.

    Spanish is spoken in about as many countries as English I would think and Italian is well… Italian… If I just could find the time those are the two languages I would learn next. In my case probably Italian first, but either way is supposed to work.

  40. Unless you almost only travel to France would I never start with French. Forget German as well as it will screw up everything you know about any other language as well. πŸ™‚

    I would instead start with either Spanish or Italian. Both have a lot of words that have great similarities with English words (I have language courses for both based on that premise). Besides is it said that when you learn one the other one will come more naturally. And if you are then still hooked on French you will also more easily learn that.

    Spanish is spoken in about as many countries as English I would think and Italian is well… Italian… If I just could find the time those are the two languages I would learn next. In my case probably Italian first, but either way is supposed to work.

  41. ok cool, I will check out amazon and some podcasts πŸ™‚

  42. ok cool, I will check out amazon and some podcasts πŸ™‚

  43. @Jan – I don’t agree with you. The three languages (French, Italian and Spanish) are Latin languages and have many things in common and I think the words in all of them are more or less equally different from English.

    Anyway, I think when you are learning a language just for fun, you should study whichever more appeals to you, just for the sake of it.

    Maybe a practical factor that should be considered is how much movies, books, music and TV on that language you are able to get.

    When I studied French I was able to watch TV5, listen to a lot if nice French music and watch many many great movies.

    When I studied Italian, I had good movies galore, but here where I live, the only TV in Italian I had was RAI (which is pretty bad, in my opinion) and I found it difficult to find Italian music beyond Gianni Morandi (which I am not quite a fan as well).

    So on the overall, if I knew only one language and was keen to learn another one, just for fun, I would chose the one that has more TV/Movies/Music/Books that I would like to be immersed in.

  44. @Jan – I don’t agree with you. The three languages (French, Italian and Spanish) are Latin languages and have many things in common and I think the words in all of them are more or less equally different from English.

    Anyway, I think when you are learning a language just for fun, you should study whichever more appeals to you, just for the sake of it.

    Maybe a practical factor that should be considered is how much movies, books, music and TV on that language you are able to get.

    When I studied French I was able to watch TV5, listen to a lot if nice French music and watch many many great movies.

    When I studied Italian, I had good movies galore, but here where I live, the only TV in Italian I had was RAI (which is pretty bad, in my opinion) and I found it difficult to find Italian music beyond Gianni Morandi (which I am not quite a fan as well).

    So on the overall, if I knew only one language and was keen to learn another one, just for fun, I would chose the one that has more TV/Movies/Music/Books that I would like to be immersed in.

  45. That decides it, I will dig out my michel thomas french CDs πŸ™‚

  46. That decides it, I will dig out my michel thomas french CDs πŸ™‚

  47. Sorry everyone, I didn’t mean it like Chris was talking down to us. I meant it is simply a good idea not to talk down to your readers or they’ll feel insulted. Once again I apologize for the confusion. Just trying to drop in my two cents. I’ll make it clear next time.
    Katie

  48. Sorry everyone, I didn’t mean it like Chris was talking down to us. I meant it is simply a good idea not to talk down to your readers or they’ll feel insulted. Once again I apologize for the confusion. Just trying to drop in my two cents. I’ll make it clear next time.
    Katie

  49. Thanks Katie, it’s a good point and thanks for clearing that up πŸ™‚

  50. Thanks Katie, it’s a good point and thanks for clearing that up πŸ™‚