How to be a Wordsmith, Part 2

Welcome back, Smithy!

(FYI, if your name isn’t Smithy, please read Part 1 of this series before continuing!)

Today we’re going to continue our discussion on Wordsmithing, one of my favorite activities.

Over the years, I’ve been accumulating quite the collection of derivations, origins and etymologies of key business terms.

The other day I (finally) finished going through all of my articles, chapters, blog posts and writings from the past six years (yikes!)

And what’s fascinating about Wordsmithing, especially etymologies, is how your entire philosophy on something (say, “customer satisfaction”) can change once you figure out the TRUE meaning behind the word.

So, we’ll do six today and seven tomorrow.

Let’s get our Smith on…

1. The world APPROACHABILITY comes from the Latin apropiare, which means, “To come nearer to.”

LESSON LEARNED: it’s a two-way street — sticking yourself out there AND getting them to come to you.

QUESTION: Are you doing both?

2. The word DEPRECATION stems from the Latin deprecari, which means, “To avert by prayer.”

LESSON LEARNED: self-deprecating humor avoids threatening, offending or alienating people.

QUESTION: Are you making fun of yourself enough?

3. The word DOMAIN comes from the Latin dominium, which means “property.”

LESSON LEARNED: he who owns the domain, owns the idea.

QUESTION: What’s the first thing YOU do when you get a new idea?

4. The word SATISFY comes from the Latin satisfacere, which means, “Content, to do enough.”

LESSON LEARNED: satisfaction proves nothing.

QUESTION: Do you (really) think “satisfied” customers are telling their friends about you?

5. The word LOYAL comes from the English leal, which means, “faithful.”

LESSON LEARNED: loyalty trumps satisfaction.

QUESTION: Why are YOU loyal?

6. The word INSISTENT comes from the Latin insistere, which means, “To be demanding and repetitive.”

LESSON LEARNED: insistence trumps satisfaction AND loyalty.

QUESTION: Do you have customers or fans?

What’s your favorite etymology or word origin?

Share it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Things I Don’t Understand, Pt. 2

PICTURE THIS: you get an email from someone you’ve never met.

Let’s say his name is Matt.

He’s read your blog.
He introduces himself.
He tells you what he does for a living.
Then he asks you to check out his website (if you have time).

Perfectly fine, right?

Nothing wrong with reaching out to someone new!


THEN, let’s say Matt asks, “Could you please blog about my website?”

How would that make you feel?

– – –

Now, if it were me, I’d feel curious.

Curious why someone would have to ASK another person to spread word of mouth about his idea.

AFTER ALL: if an idea was sticky, cool, remarkable and word-of-mouth-worthy, people wouldn’t NEED to be asked to spread the word, right?

KNOW THIS: people are going to tell their friends about your stuff because they connect with it, because there’s an easy story to share and because it’s remarkable.

Not because you asked them to.

In fact, asking might even work against you.

Asking might cause someone to think you’re DES-PER-ATE.

That maybe your idea isn’t worth spreading.

“Well now that he ASKED me to spread the word about his idea, I’m not going to!” someone thinks.

Now, I fully believe that the answer to every question you DON’T ask is no.

Nothing wrong with asking for referrals.


People don’t want to be told what to talk about. They want to decide on their own.

That’s what makes word of mouth the #1 marketing medium on the planet.

Because it’s proactive.
Because it’s authentic.
Because it’s unsolicited.

And yet, businesspeople continue to say things like:

*Please forward this email!
*Could you check out my site and blog it?
*We love referrals!
*Please give this extra copy to someone who might be interested in my services!
*Send this to 10 of your friends!
*Can you pass this on to everyone on your mailing list?

Stop. Please.

Put your tongue back into your mouth. You’re getting slobber all over me.

DON’T: focus on asking people to spread the word for you.

DO: concentrate on making your ideas, products and services self-evident. Build remarkability into them ahead of time.

That way, you won’t HAVE to ask.

People will just do it.

– – –

P.S. If you could link this article and post it on your blog, I’d really appreciate it.

Pretty please with sugar on top?

Do you think WOM need to be solicited?

Think about the last five products or services you told your friends about. Did the company ASK you to do that? Or did you just do it because they rocked?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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