The Lesson Politics Teach About Being Personal

Throughout this political season I’ve been watching with interest the emails I’ve been receiving. I’m still on the mailing lists of some of the politicians I supported when we still lived in Wisconsin. The techniques they use to get you to open an email or to read through it are fascinating. They attempt to make it personal.


One of the things they do is send an email “from” someone who only uses a first name. For instance, they’ll send you an email from “John.” It makes you want to open it. Then when you do, the email opens with “Hi, Tom…” or “I’ve been thinking, Tom…”

That’s all well and good until you keep reading and discover, of course, that they know nothing about you. It was all just a “come on” to get you to read the email. Then they hope you’ll click on the link that sends you to a site where you can make a donation to the candidate.

All their emails were wasted on me. First of all, I don’t live in Wisconsin anymore. Secondly, I’m not making donations to any candidates this election season. Finally, their faux friendliness was just that: faux. It wasn’t really personal.

We live in a technological, social media world that presents a kind of false dichotomy. It has brought us closer to people all over the world, or even across the street. On the other hand, we are often hidden behind our computer screens.

We’ve got to be even more intentional today to be sure that we reach people with a genuine human touch. We’ve got to be more intentionally personal.

So before you post on Facebook, send an email, or tweet at somebody:

  • Think about the person on the other side of the screen
  • Write something specific to that person
  • Don’t send emails to people who haven’t given you permission
  • Engage in a real conversation
  • Ask for feedback
  • Give away valuable content

As a personal thank you for reading this post, I’m going to send a free copy of my book: Fully and Creatively Alive to the first three people who email their address to If you don’t reply in time to get one of the free books, I would be most grateful if you check out the Amazon page for the book and consider acquiring your own copy.

In the mean time, I’ll be here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday providing content on this blog that I hope is helpful and valuable to you. 

And, I hope, personal, too.

How do you keep things from becoming impersonal and anonymous online?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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