A few years ago, I had a decidedly pleasant encounter with one particular Terms of Service.
Yes, you read that right: terms of service--that dry legalese that hardly anyone ever even looks at, let alone reads (at least, that's how I operate).
It was for Patch.com. At the time, I had been hearing rumblings of Patch for months and was noticing veteran journalists, including at least one former editor of mine, joining the company.
As I dug deeper, I decided to click on the link for Patch's terms of service.
I was treated to a living, breathing narrative that communicated all the required points (read: legalese), but it did so in a way that was a downright delight.
"You are responsible for the security of your password and will be solely liable for any use or unauthorized use under such password. Therefore, if you share a computer with others, don’t allow your Internet browser to automatically save your password. Also, don’t write your password on a Post-It note and leave it on your desk for all to see."
Later, after spelling out some of the no-nos that will get your butt kicked off of Patch, there was this simple summation:
Instead of trying to memorize all that, you might boil it down to three main policies: “Keep it clean,” “Don’t try to trick people,” and “Treat others as you’d like to be treated.” Easy, right?"
By the end of it all (and by now you shouldn't be shocked to learn that I read to the end), my regard for the company had skyrocketed. Bear in mind, at the time I knew little more than what I've already described. Thus a halo effect took root, and to this day still lingers over the operation.
At a recent event in Chicago dubbed Dream Night, sponsored by World Wide DreamBuilders (WWDB), Glen and Joya Baker as well as Ron and Georgia Lee Puryear embodied this principle. The couples, longtime leaders in the Amway business, injected humor throughout their wide-ranging talks to connect with hundreds of people who descended on Renaissance Chicago O'Hare Suites Hotel.
How would you like your customers, clients, audience base, fans, whomever, to begin with that kind of overwhelmingly positive impression?
That's the power of effective--human, humorous, real--communication.
So what are you doing--in your e-mails, in your voicemails, in any interaction that you're having with others--to do that little something to bring a smile to someone's face?
Do people dread or look forward to hearing, or reading, from you again? The answer lies at least partly in whether you take the extra effort that, in Patch.com's case, inspired me to give them this rousing shout-out.