Leadership Lessons Learned in Pursuit of Connecting with Readers

Leadership Lessons Learned in Pursuit of Connecting with Readers

Guest Post by Leadership Expert and Author, Dan Albaum

Exceptional leadership has never been more needed, and valued, in today’s business world of unexpected change and constant volatility.  Even In a sea of digital devices and exploding video content, the written word remains powerful and is an opportunity for each of us to positively impact the lives of others.  Sharing your learning and perspective with others through authoring a book is the ultimate gift.

Putting others first with a servant leader mindset is the inspiration I drew from to write my first book The Impact Makers.  Having more than three decades of marketing leadership experience taught me much about myself and helped shape my world view, but the journey in writing my first book delivered a whole new set of lessons in pursuit of connecting with readers.  Here are eight that made a difference:

  1. Have a Goal. Set a specific target deadline for book publication and share it with at least one other close confidant. This will create accountability, a sense of urgency and encourage carving out dedicated writing/planning time needed to make measurable progress.
  2. Be Transparent. Nothing is more important than authenticity and transparency. This means opening the curtain and showing vulnerability through your actual life experiences. People do not want theory alone, they crave actual experiences that are relatable, imperfect and a reflection of real life written plainly. Do not second guess yourself and overthink before applying it to the page! Being open about your personal struggles, facing challenges and overcoming adversity is about being human, approachable, and genuine. Augmenting that honest expression with similar examples from others makes it an even more compelling read.
  3. Keep Readers’ Interest. Creating a “constantly in motion” narrative that keeps readers excited in anticipation of the next page, the next chapter. Is also key. This comes back to having a clear purpose, the “why” behind a book. For me, demonstrating the positive impact of a servant leader mindset through actual stories and actual voices of the leaders that lived through them around the world, brought a diversity and element of surprise that readers have told me made a huge difference for them.
  4. Offer Key Lessons. Another way to deliver author impact is making it easier for readers to remember the most important “key takeaways” from your book. Inserting specific “key takeaway” summary notes at the end of each chapter is a very straightforward way to do this. I have gotten a lot of positive reader feedback in appreciation of this “Cliff Notes” variation.
  5. Illustrate Your Points. Using visuals to offset the text is another way to keep readers interested and stimulated. Even in a non-fiction book on business strategy, images that represent your concepts and ideas—it is ok to inject some humor—keeps readers engaged.
  6. Find Beta Readers. After publishing, actively seek reader feedback on your work, both informally and formally through ratings and reviews. Hearing the direct voices of your readers is the ultimate “learning lab” that will give you honest feedback that can make your future work better.
  7. Ask for Help. Do not be afraid to ask for help on your author journey. Having an objective voice as a sounding board and advisor from your original concepting of the book through content review to publishing process is invaluable. Find someone you trust and has lived through the book journey themself who can constructively challenge your pre-conceived notions of what this is all about, who can ask the right questions to make sure that your “why” is compelling and can save time with some timely advice on how to navigate your route to market (hint: self-publishing can be an amazing, liberating experience).  Ask other published authors how they approach marketing their work, so you do not have to reinvent the wheel in coming up with promotional ideas.
  8. Make Routine Your Friend. By setting up “no interrupt writing sessions” on consistent days and times on your weekly schedule for your book project (writing and planning) you will see a real boost in productivity.
  9. Expand Your Impact. Carve out time to offer advice and mentor others. When you pay your book journey forward you will be amazed at how good it feels to help someone else who has similar aspirations and questions.
  10. Share Your Gratitude. Lastly, take the time to show gratitude to those that have helped you and include in the acknowledgement section of your book, in follow up emails to contributors and helper alike. Giving thanks is a fantastic way to stay humble that will serve you well in your future writing and in life.

Taking on writing a book, especially your first, can seem daunting at the beginning.

There is no getting around the fact it is a ton of work to author a book well, which is a process that will test your discipline, energy and patience.  But by having a clear sense of your “why” and being open to learning, and adopting, best practices will make the accomplishment more exhilarating than you can ever imagine.

Dan Albaum is an accomplished marketing leader with experience launching new products and driving world-class results in global technology companies including Verizon Wireless, Cisco, and Honeywell as well as in the Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG) and non-profit space.  His first book published in late 2022, The Impact Makers: Voices of Leadership, includes the experiences of other exceptional leaders sharing his passion for a servant leader approach to building and developing teams.  

A founding co-partner of marketing consultancy Market Impact, he is the host of the weekly podcast series Market Impact Insights, recognized by Forrester as a Top 100 Channel Podcast, sharing leadership best-practices from around the world.

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