Right on Dude! Follow Through and Follow Up: 2 Keys to Success

spicoli-hand

Kris Jenkins had it. Michael Jordan had it…many times over. Even Jeff Spicoli had it, if you consider Mr. Hand’s desire for Spicoli to merely show up for class, even if having pizza delivered to class wasn’t part of the deal.

What is “it”, you ask? Follow through, and its twin, follow up.

I’m not one to rant, though I will if given the opportunity. It depends on the topic. As you can see, I’m writing about two basic, yet shockingly absent, keys to…well just about anything: follow through and follow up. Ok, so this is about to shift into a rant. I do so unapologetically, as I believe you’ll agree that it’s rant-worthy.

Before I jump in with both feet, I should point out that none of what follows is fabricated for the sake of the post. I’m a storyteller, and love a good piece of fiction as much as the next person. That said, this post is, unfortunately, non-fiction masquerading as horror, grotesquely formed with a seemingly endless supply of appalling rubbish. Commence rant.

giphy

Obligatory Thor GIF via Giphy

 

Sorry Yoda: Only “Do”, Never “Do Not”

Raise your hand if you’ve heard the expression, “Do what you say you’re going to do”. Yeah, me too. And so has just about everyone else, from Generation Z to Baby Boomers. So, if we’ve all heard this and know it’s meaning, why is the action part – “do” – so glaringly lacking?

Follow through and follow up are two keys to success in both your both personal and professional lives. As a teenager, you proudly carried the flag of anti-tyranny rebellion, protesting any request (all of which were, like, totally unreasonable) from your parents. You learned what follow through means when you found yourself “unfairly” grounded. “I’ll never treat MY kids like that,” you growled as you skulked away to your room.

Fast forward to your adult life. Maybe you’ve married and produced some kids. Life gets busy, but not too busy to forgo disciplining your kids for whatever treasonous act they’ve committed (like leaving dishes on the dinner table). As you swing the hammer of discipline like Thor, and hear your hellion of a child shout, “I’ll never treat MY kids like that,” a feeling of déjà vu sweeps over. Wait, what’s that? Now I’m showing my kids what it means to follow through?

In your personal life, follow through means standing behind something you say. “If you don’t do your homework, you lose (insert device).” Few threats draw a line in the sand like that of taking away your kid’s device(s). It’s also the line that is challenged more than raptors testing the fences in Jurassic Park. Fail to follow through on this promise and you’ll end up with a T-Rex sized problem.

Always Be Closing (Following Up/Through)

Follow through and follow up in business and your professional life are two skills that, while not hard to do in reality, seem to be as fleeting as the evidence supporting the existence of the elusive Sasquatch. Sidebar: I keep an open mind…and let’s leave it at that. But I digress.

As Chris Farber once wrote, and something I strongly believe: EVERYONE in a company is in sales/business development. What about development or compliance, you say? Whether it’s building new functionality or managing risk and regulations, every team within a firm has a sales responsibility in that all ultimately serve clients. Fail to follow through on a client request, and whoosh, kiss that client (and likely others) goodbye. Flip side…deliver what they want and make them happy, and they’ll continue to buy your products or services.

Follow through and follow up are core competencies for successful business developers, across a wide range of roles, including corporate sales, account management, relationship management, and recruiting. Most sales take place at, or after the fifth contact with a prospect, so why not continue to follow up with your prospect until at least that point? If you tell your prospect you’ll provide something, you’d better follow through. Do it.

Filling the Gap

In the first sentence above, I mentioned recruiting. In many posts and updates I read on LinkedIn, and in conversation with colleagues, a common theme arises: a lack of follow-up from a recruiter. Someone I know well has been approached by dozens of recruiters. After an initial contact and perhaps an introductory call, only a handful followed up or followed through. The trail ran cold with no further contact whatsoever, despite follow-up by my friend. That’s no way to run a people-focused business.

Fair or not, this assessment is obvious, given the visibility of the recruiting profession. It’s a sales, business development, and relationship management role that sits in clear view, considering the number of people looking for new gigs. How hard is it to fire off a quick note to show someone they matter?

I follow up or follow through with whatever I’ve been asked to deliver, and I do so in a reasonable amount of time. What’s reasonable? Depends. One key to successful follow up and follow through: setting proper expectations. This is a topic for another post, but suffice it say: if you don’t manage expectations, you’ll find it tough to follow up or follow through timely.

Do: follow through and follow up. Don’t: be a Sasquatch.

 

 

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Hope: In Business and Life, Finding The Light

Wall Street

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“There comes a time in every man’s life when man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”

– Lou Mannheim (said to Bud Fox), in the movie Wall Street

In my last post, I wrote about why I believe in UFOs. Science-fueled arguments aside, the real point of the post was the powerful nature of belief. This human-only construct is how we’ve accomplished so much in our brief time on the planet. Belief underpins almost everything we do, from observing religion to rooting for our favorite sports teams. The latter could easily be confused as delusions of grandeur. Any Philadelphia Eagles fans out there know this all too well. Even so, as powerful as belief is, there’s something else with even greater juice. Hope.

Hope is the fuel for the vehicle we call belief. When we’re full of hope, we move forward in any direction we choose, believing that whatever we set out to accomplish, we will. Hope allows us to believe that we’ll become or do what we want, from finishing school to being a great role model and parent. It gives us limitless belief, which is critical in overcoming the inevitable Everest-like obstacles life tends to toss in our path. Instead of giving up, we look for ways over, through or around an obstacle.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter

Abandon

Image by someecards

Without hope, the vehicle either comes to a rest, or never moves. How many times have we heard the expression, “This is hopeless”? I’m willing to bet that in almost every one of those situations, things weren’t truly hopeless. Even Aron Ralston, the hiker and subject of the true story depicted in the movie 127 Hours, never truly lost hope. His tale is harrowing and horrific, but never hopeless.

Losing hope can feel a lot like what Hal Holbrook’s character describes to Charlie Sheen. It’s like careening toward the abyss without the ability to tap the breaks. When we look into the abyss, it’s our indefatigable human spirit, our never say die will, that pulls us back and hardens our resolve.

Adversity reveals and strengthens character. Still, there are times when we need help to find hope through the clouds of despair. Supportive people in our lives can provide that critical tether to help keep us out of the abyss long enough to rebuild hope.

Building Hope

Solitude

Image by Warner Bros

In gamer terms, hope is the ultimate health unit. A little hope goes a long way to restoring belief. Belief moves us to action. By the way, hope is not: “Man, I hope I win the lottery” or “I hope the Eagles beat Dallas”. Those represent a wish. It’s another four-letter word, but doesn’t punch at anywhere near the level of hope, which is the undisputed heavyweight champion.

So what does hope look like? Hope helps us to build our own fortress of solitude when things seem to be crashing down around us and challenging our beliefs. It keeps us going when we might otherwise give up. There are countless quotes that about hope, including Winston Churchill’s famous, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

My personal favorite: “It’s darkest before the dawn.” This tells me, or anyone dealing with challenging circumstances, that when things appear the bleakest, brighter times are just ahead. I like the visual of leaving the darkness behind and moving toward the hope-restoring light of a new day.

Hope is our ally in life. We feel its power in all we do, whether we realize it or not. It shapes our dreams, anchors our beliefs and guides our actions and decision-making. It’s not “The Force”, but it’s damn close.

I “hope” you enjoyed this post or found some meaning in it.

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Why I Believe in UFOs and You Should Too

UFO

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Anyone who’s drawn in a deep breath, uttered a guttural scream and floored it to complete a high-speed merge onto the New Jersey Turnpike anywhere between exits 18W and 6 knows what it’s like to live on the edge. I’ve run this Grand Prix race more times than I remember, as my wife is originally from North Jersey and I hail from Bucks County in PA. For those that have driven the turnpike, you know the drill. If you haven’t, well, consider yourself lucky (or maybe not).

Given my glowing review of the turnpike, you might be wondering why I’d think you might not be lucky if you haven’t driven this magnificent road. Sure, you can improve your Mario Kart skills on just about any major highway in the country. High speed merges, road rage and tolls galore! But, I ask you: how many roads offer you the opportunity to see UFOs?

One clear night, my wife and I were heading back to PA after visiting her family over the weekend. It was late, somewhere around midnight. Even at that time, the lack of other vehicles in either direction was somewhat surprising. We were debating something (neither of us remembers what) as we cruised along a section of the turnpike featuring a nice long straight track.

I noticed it first. Then my wife, seeing me staring at something off in the distance out the windshield, saw it too.

In the uppermost left part of the windshield, way up in the night sky, we both saw a round, bright, glowing yellow light. As we watched, in less than a second, it zipped across our view to the edge of the right side of the windshield. Its glowing yellow light pulsed in stark contrast to the pitch-black sky. The light zoomed to the bottom of our view out the windshield and then to the top, followed by another move to the left edge, where it flashed back to the right, before finally disappearing past the edge of the windshield. We turned toward each other and together said, “What the h*&^ was that?”

Now, I don’t know if we actually saw an alien spacecraft out joyriding. And I’m sure there’s no short supply of wannabe scientists armed with theories to debunk our sighting. That’s not important. What is important is that we believed we saw something out of the ordinary that night, even if science can muster some explanation. Note: I probably won’t buy it, but fire away.

Belief is a powerful concept. We believed we saw something bizarre, something we could not explain, and that was…well, awesome! It’s not as if I was a hardened skeptic whose life was shaken to the core. I’ve always held out the possibility that there may be other life somewhere else out there in the universe. It’s a pretty damn big place, so why not?

When we believe in something, it becomes real. It becomes something we naturally accept and move toward. Do you belief you’re going to be a lawyer? Or a doctor? Or that you’ll develop a cure for cancer? That’s the first step in accomplishing anything: belief that you can. It moves you toward your goal and helps you to create a plan of action to get there. Belief also is your ally in overcoming any self doubt or doubt others feel they need to provide.

Need a few examples?

  1. Thomas Edison devised thousands of theories to create the light bulb before finally succeeding. He believed he was going to do it, and pressed on until he did. I have him to thank for being able to sit up late at night with the lights on while I hammer out this post.
  2. The Wright Brothers believed that could get a heavy piece of machinery off the ground. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, they nailed it. Without their belief, we would not be able to go from coast to coast in about six hours (jet stream notwithstanding).
  3. NASA believed it could put astronauts on the moon. Check. It also believed it could find a way to safely return the astronauts from the nearly disastrous Apollo 13 mission (great movie, by the way). Big-time check.

Apollo 13 Astronauts

4. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” This is another way of saying that if you believe it, you can achieve it. Henry Ford believed he was going to build a vehicle that worked, and he did.

5. Steve Jobs believed he was going to change the world. Fast-forward through several iterations of the iPhone, iPad, and iMac, among others, and it’s obvious that he succeeded. I’m writing this on a Mac, while working under a version of Edison’s light bulbs.

Steve Jobs

Image by CelebQuote

The list goes on and on. The point: belief is critical to our personal and professional success. Belief gets you going and keeps you focused.

But don’t make the mistake of just believing in something. Take action. Write down goals, objectives, and milestones. These keep you on track and help you reset priorities when you inevitably accomplish one goal after another.

This is why I believe in UFOs, and think you should too.

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Using Next Level Power Questions At Events To Boost New Business

 

A short time ago, I wrote about how my kids have Jedi-like qualities when it comes to asking for what they want. While I don’t fold as easily as a storm-trooper granting Luke and Obi Wan passage, the process often leaves me just as befuddled. Perhaps it’s because of the relentless, tireless line of questioning, but when they’re peppering me with ongoing, open-ended questions, I can feel my resistance draining. It’s not a negative thing, mind you, but quite the opposite: I feel proud of their ability to keep their eyes on the prize and not back down.

In the previous post, I wrote about the value of power (open-ended) questions in getting the information we need to help move the sales process forward. Power questions help us uncover needs, potential objections and perhaps most importantly, entice the prospect’s involvement in the dialogue. As any marketing or business development professional will attest, your odds of winning new business increase exponentially when the other party is actively participating. If he/she just sits there, arms folded and uttering an occasional grunt to let you know they’re still alive (but not for long), then you’re doomed. We can do better.

Knowing what to ask and when to ask it can be challenging for anyone in marketing and business development. Timing is everything. Since situations vary, it makes sense to have a plan for the different environments in which we meet and engage with prospects (and clients for that matter). Being prepared is a key success factor. Can you remember anyone going into a test, meeting or anything without preparing, and doing well? Yeah, me neither.

Conferences, seminars and networking events are prime opportunities to meet prospects and clients (along with bringing home suitcases full of swag). If your company taps you for this assignment, prepare. Aside from watching a YouTube tutorial on how to fold a suit for travel without destroying it, take the time to come up with what I call next-level questions to ask prospects during the event.

At some point, you’ll end up mingling with other attendees during a cocktail hour or dinner event. For purposes of this post, I’m using a financial services conference setting, though these questions are easily adaptable to other industries. People like to talk about themselves, so your job is to ask questions that encourage them to open up. After the typical greeting, you can create a meaningful interaction by asking questions following a logical progression. Four types of next-level power questions include:

Introductory Question

1. What is your role, and what are your primary responsibilities?

(Don’t settle for just learning someone’s name and title. This question gives them the opportunity to tell you about themselves.)

2. What’s been your experience with systems like Advent, Portia or DST?

(Insert whatever system or process is relevant to you and your company’s products/services. Again, get them talking.)

3. In what ways have client or regulatory initiatives impacted your firm?

 

General Follow-Up Questions

1. How does your firm choose a software provider?

2. What key projects is your firm considering?

3. What do you look for when implementing a software solution?

 

Functional Follow-Up Questions

1. To what extent is cost-basis accounting a key service offering?

2. What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of implementing performance systems?

3. In what ways are digital strategies impacting projects?

 

Transition Questions

1. What makes your company choose one product over another?

2. Why are those the deciding factors?

3. Who is involved in the decision-making process?

 

By no means is this meant to be a complete list. Each situation we encounter is different, and as marketing and business development professionals, we have to adjust accordingly. Being able to adjust on the fly requires preparation. In the above conference example, do your homework BEFORE you to the event. Knowing who will be there and obtaining relevant key information about these people is a powerful ally in achieving success with business development. How so? Read on.

A few years ago, while in a Marketing & Business Development capacity for a company, I attended a conference in Las Vegas. Before the event, I used a list of expected attendees to group clients and prospects by the type of service and revenue tier. With this list in hand, I gathered information on each person from our CRM system to build a prospect profile. To complete the competitive profile, I researched each person outside of our CRM system to find interesting tidbits that I hoped would enrich conversations.

For one attendee in particular, I learned that she was actively involved in many conversation efforts, including one whose goal was saving tigers. Knowing this, I sought her out during the event, since my company was also heavily involved in conservation initiatives. I was hopeful that this would encourage a productive dialogue since we had shared interests. We crossed paths, and I talked to her about my company’s conservation programs and asked about hers. I had several “Next Level” power questions ready, and these, combined with my research, moved the conversation forward. This opened a larger dialogue about my company that ultimately led to new business and revenue.

Time to level up!

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Staying Cool: 5 Reasons to Be Cooler Than The Other Side of the Pillow

The Most Interesting Man in the World implores us to “Stay thirsty, my friends.” There are many hilarious memes with variations of the Most Interesting Man in the World’s “I don’t always…” theme. One of my favorites is “I don’t always drop ice cubes on the floor, but when I do, I shamelessly kick them underneath the fridge.” Comedy gold aside, there is a real life lesson, adapted from the famous Dos Equis pitchman’s directive: staying cool in the face of adversity.

If you watched the NFL playoffs this past weekend, the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game in particular, you saw the Bengals author an epic implosion. While we can argue the merits of the plays, calls or non-calls during the last two minutes of the game, what isn’t debatable is that the Bengals came unglued at the worst possible moment. Benefitting from two personal fouls against the undisciplined Bengals, the Steelers gained 30 yards of field position without a second coming off the clock. After the Steelers kicked the game winning field goal, the Bengals blamed everyone but themselves for the stunning loss. Needless to say, Cincinnati did not stay cool in the face of adversity.

When you’re part of a team, you can’t be an undisciplined hothead. It will end up costing you and your team at some point. If you’re the team leader (coach, manager, supervisor or whatever), you have to keep your team in control and on task. In the game, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis failed to control his team, and the result speaks for itself. I coach my youth baseball, and even at the 10 year-old age (or especially at this age, depending who you ask), keeping my team focused and not unraveling when things inevitably go awry is critical to its success and the kids’ developing life skills.

With this in mind, five benefits of staying cool, whether you’re part of a team or its leader:

1. Keeps you focused on the big picture

It’s not often in sports, business or life that everything goes as planned. Obstacles will arise and challenges will emerge that threaten the objective. When you stay cool, you’re able to manage these distractions in a way that doesn’t compromise the primary goal.

2. Shows strength and character

This is especially true for team leaders, who lead by example, in one way or another. How you deal with adversity will filter down to the troops, and they will respond accordingly. As part of a team, by staying cool, you become a much more valuable resource to the team’s leader and an example for others.

3. Demonstrates leadership

For better or worse, team members will follow their leaders and mimic the behavior they see. By keeping calm when responding to adversity, you show the team the stability many will need when in managing the situation. Overreacting tends to produce difficult-to-reverse decisions, or at the least, decisions that result in people questioning your ability to lead.

4. Promotes accountability

Staying cool in the face of adversity allows you to acknowledge the situation and respond in a positive fashion, without attempting to cast blame. People instinctively want to help others, so when you’re able to keep calm, you’ll be able to accept responsibility which will endear you to others, and elicit their help.

5. Advancement opportunity

In sports, business and life, people that stay cool are respected, valued and rewarded. We’ve often heard one or more variations of “…is a pressure player, and plays his/her best when the spotlight is the brightest.” The same applies in business and life. When you can stay cool, you show the type of leadership that people appreciate and will follow.

By no means am I saying that it’s easy to stay cool and focused. I can appreciate the frustration of seeing things crumble before your eyes, when you’ve worked hard to get to that point. We’re human beings, and for whom emotions and rationale thought separate us from the rest of the creatures on the planet. I’m also not advocating that we transform into cold, emotionless robots. However, by staying cool, we help not only ourselves, we help others too.

As such, and in a nod to the Most Interesting Man in the World: Stay Cool, My Friends.

 

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Improvise, Overcome & Adapt: 3 Keys to Successful Business Development

 

Like many people I know, I’ve slipped a movie quote or two into more conversations than I care to count. While some may view it as an unnecessary distraction, I see it as an art form. Knowing when to crow bar a movie quote into a conversation takes skill!

I’ll give you an example. I coach my son’s baseball team, and not too long ago, I threw batting practice. At one point, when throwing to my son, he hit a scorching line drive right back at me. Instead of ducking behind the screen, I turned to my left and tightened my right arm to absorb the hit. It hit me flush in the middle of my upper arm, which immediately began to throb.

When I got home, my son was overly excited to tell my wife that he had drilled Dad in the arm. After yelling at me for being macho instead of safe, she offered ice and asked where it hurt. The movie quote guy in me responded with a line from the classic Chris Farley flick, Tommy Boy. Pointing to various spots on my arm, I said, “Well, it hurts here. Not here, or here so much. But right here.”

Another movie I’ve found quote-worthy many times is Heartbreak Ridge, the 1986 Clint Eastwood vehicle. Early in the movie, Clint’s character (Sergeant Highway) takes command of an undisciplined group of Marines, and has them assemble outside the barracks first thing in the morning. Sgt. Highway is wearing an olive shirt, while the platoon is wearing all different colors. The dialogue that unfolds:

Highway: “Strip off those T-shirts.”

Marines mumbling, as one says: “Say what?”

Highway: “You’ll all wear the same T-shirts.”

The following morning, the Marines gather outside the barracks, all wearing the same olive color shirt. Highway, however is wearing a red shirt. This scene plays out as follows:

Highway: “Strip off those T-shirts.”

Marine: “Gunny. We’re all the same.”

Highway: “Same as me?”

Different Marine: “How the hell are we supposed to know what kind of T-shirt…”

Highway: “You improvise. You overcome. You adapt. Now get off those god-@#$% T-shirts now.”

Later in the movie, the Marines do exactly as Sgt. Highway directed: they improvised, overcame and adapted by figuring out which T-shirt Highway would be wearing the following morning.  Sgt. Highway’s mantra has real-world application, no matter the industry, job or task.

When it comes to business development, being able to improvise, overcome and adapt are three keys to success. Each has its own meaning, but all point toward the same goal: winning new business. While it’s a job responsibility and task given to a specific team, business development touches every group within a company, as Chris Farber deftly notes in a recent post. It stands to reason then, that the three keys mentioned above also apply across corporate groups.

Improvise: to make, invent or create something using whatever is available.

It’s not often that the business development process unfolds as planned. Things often go awry, from rescheduled meetings to unexpected people in attendance that threaten to derail the process. A business development pro can improvise in a rapidly changing environment, but do so while maintaining credibility. Perhaps you’re presented with new information during a meeting that will quite possibly change the direction of the conversation. By asking power questions, you’ll elicit the information you need to improvise.

Note: improvise also refers to speaking or performing without preparation. My suggestion: don’t do this. Always prepare. Leave improv to the comedians.

Overcome: to successfully deal with or gain control over something.

Obstacles. Objections. Business developers encounter these roadblocks at every turn in the process. What separates the pros is their ability to move past these challenges and keep the cycle moving. Overcoming objections (a topic for a future post) might require the business development pro to improvise. Knowing your product and its benefits (not features), along with your prospect’s pain points is one way (for starters) to successfully overcome a client or prospect’s objections.

Overcome also has another meaning: to defeat someone. If you approach business development in this way, the only defeat that can be ensured is yours. Don’t; just don’t. Business development is a collaborative process, not a one-person war.

Adapt: to change something so that it functions better or is better suited for a different purpose.

Darwin’s theory says that survival goes to the fittest. In business, this is only partially true. Survival and success goes to those that can also adapt to new regulations, changing industry demands and rapidly evolving technology.

For a business development pro, having the ability to adapt is critical to success. It’s not the same as improvising in the face of new information received during a prospect meeting; rather it refers to changing the overall approach as directed by client and prospect feedback. In the financial services industry, frequent rule and regulatory changes can have a dramatic effect on firms. Getting ahead of these developments by adapting the business development process to focus on new requirements demonstrates credibility and adaptability.

So as Sgt. Highway commands: “Improvise. Overcome. Adapt,” or he’ll tell you to strip off that business development T-shirt.

#improvise #overcome #adapt #winning

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Like Fingernails On A Chalkboard

Word usage, or more accurately, improper word usage, can undermine your credibility in communicating with employees, colleagues, clients and prospects. It happens with an alarming regularity, ranging from small blogs to global company newsletters, all with equally off-putting results. I considered the humor in writing this post with brutally incorrect word usage, but the writer in me would have none of that. Besides, it would be painful – on par with being forced as a kid to eat my veggies before leaving the dinner table. Now that was painful!

Improper word usage or grammar tends to create one of several undesirable perceptions of you or your company  – lesser intelligence, careless when communicating, lack of respect and polish, diminished or lack of power in negotiating, and more. I’m not the grammar police, but I don’t see why we can’t make the effort to produce higher quality communication. With that, read on: below are a few examples of common, fingernails-on-a-chalkboard mistakes seen far too often in a corporate setting.

1. Your / You’re 

If "you are" key opens...

If “you are” number…good luck with that.

 

  • Tops the list as a result of the stunning frequency with which this gaffe appears.
  • “Your” is a possessive form of “you”…your house, your car, your reputation.
  • Quick test to see which form to use: replace either term with “you are”. If it makes sense, then you can use “you’re”. If not, go with “your”.

2. There / They’re / Their

Someone else didn't learn, either.

Well done.

 

  • With three possible ways to flub this, it’s hardly surprising that it occurs so frequently.
  • There is a term inferring direction, hence “reading there books” makes no sense.
  • They’re is a contraction meaning “they are”. What are they? They’re books
  • Their is a possessive form of they. Whose books? Their books
  • When in doubt, follow the simple test above, using “they are” in place of any of the terms. If the term makes sense, you can use “they are”.

3. Personal / Personally

  • Ugh…not sure why, but I find this more grating than the others – maybe it’s personal.
  • Personally is an adverb that refers to one person having done something, or about to do something.
  • Personal is an adjective, and refers to a specific person.

4. Lose / Loose

  • This head-scratcher has appeared at an increasingly alarming rate, and I have no idea why.
  • Lose has approximately fourteen definitions (if you count slang), but not one of them indicates a lack of tightness, as does loose.
  • The team did not “loose” the game (believe it or not, I’ve seen this many times and still can’t wrap my head around it), but they did “lose” the game. Simple enough. 

5. It’s / Its

  • This one can be a bit tricky, but we still need to get it right. While many possessive terms contain an apostrophe (Dan’s car, the wolf’s pups, etc.), this does not.
  • It’s is a contraction meaning “it is”.  
  • Its is a possessive form: “Its rugged exterior and powerful drive train made the Jeep the choice of off-road driving enthusiasts.”

Well, there you have it. It’s my hope that you see how much you have to lose with improper usage and that you don’t take my comments personally, as they’re intended to be helpful. Oh, and by they way…you’re welcome! One last, mind-numbing example is this image of a resignation letter I received from a member of a team I managed several years ago.

Oofa toofa.

Oofa toofa.

 

 

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