The Magical Difference Between Passive and Present Teaching

Content Creation is a 2 Way Street, Not a One Way Shout

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What an eventful October we’ve had. Facebook Meta-morphosed, Tesla’s market cap crossed the $1 Trillion mark, and Squid Game took over everyone’s Netflix real estate. 🤯 

On my end, I wrapped up my first cohort class with 30 students and soaked up some much needed family time on the weekends. With 2 months left in 2021, let’s go finish this 4th quarter strong. 💪

In today’s newsletter, I wanna riff on what I’ve learned speaking in public vs speaking in passive states like newsletters and social media. I had a good time drumming this one up so hopefully it can spark an idea with you.

This week’s setup: 

👀 The power of less and when to bust a writing myth

💡 How to build a never ending fountain of content ideas

💭 Why real-time feedback is powerful and how to get more of it 

Let’s dive in shall we?  🏊‍♀️

1) The Less Words the Better 

Schools and universities have prepared us for a world that doesn’t exist. We’re told to practice 1000 word essays and we’re pushed to constantly improve our vocabulary. 

In the real-world, “jargon” gets discarded. To make an impact, we have to meet our audience where they are. The entire concept of content creations rests upon the foundation of helping people understand something with the least amount of words

Less words = less work for readers

Not sure if you’ve been online recently, but people don’t like doing work. They like getting to Aha moments. If your writing can help them get there in less time, they’ll pick you over the other. 

When speaking to people, you need to refine and distill your message. Optimize your content for understanding, not for grammar. 

  • Be a ruthless editor: Eliminate all fluff from your content. Only essentials. 

  • Before hitting the publish button, read your content out loud. Would it captivate the audience if you were speaking to them? If not, time to edit. 

  • Ask yourself, “What will the audience feel after reading this?” People only remember the words which make them feel something. Let your writing evoke a feeling.  

2) Content Creation is a 2 Way Street, Not a One Way Shout

When we’re creating content we “assume” what the audience wants to hear. But what if you let your audience tell you what they want? 

The best writers don’t speak TO their audience, they speak WITH them. Chat with them and let them own the direction of the conversation. 

With this last month’s cohort class, my highest reviewed class by students was the one in which I initiated a dialogue with the class. I let them take the GPS system and I became the co-pilot helping with stories and advice when they were asked. It was my favorite class and our Slack Channel kept buzzing as a result of the ease.

Quick hack: If you’re running low on content ideas, ask your audience what they want to hear.

Strengthen your personal brand by building a close-knit community: 

  • Host a Q&A LinkedIn Live to have direct and active communication with people 

  • Host an intimate online meet and greet with your community to get a deeper insight into what people expect

3) The Power of Real Time Insights

Most of us are used to creating content passively: we produce it, people consume it. El fin. They might look at that post two days from now and hopefully we hear something back about what they thought of it.

The power of in person teaching is the real time feedback you get the second you deliver a phrase. Unlike a passive post, you have in-depth knowledge about how people resonate with your ideas.

If their eyes light up, you see it. If they get confused, you notice it and slow the next phrase. If they get excited, you double back on that line. 

With newsletters and social media posts, you have NONE of that. You have to guess. And I think having real time insights has dramatically increased my intelligence about what people would like to learn from me.

The added bonus? You make real-time friends. Tons of them. And content usually takes months if not years to develop those.

Now it’s your turn... 


  • Challenge for you: If you’ve been creating content passively and haven’t actively interacted with your audience, I’m giving you a little November dare:

Host a Q&A, Meet & Greet, or a webinar session on any of your social profiles and let me know how it goes at 


Zuckerberg has his priorities straight .. 🤣

Thanks for reading! I try hard to make it a newsletter you look forward to each week, so if you have any suggestions about content you’d like to see or ideas that sparked, let me know:

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 Stay outta’ trouble and catch you next week.

✌🏻 Joel

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