Change what they say about you by Changing What YOU say about YOU!

Positive Opinions and Descriptions of your town must begin in YOUR town.

David Thornell

4/15/20243 min read

I have often said that Economic and Community Development is simple, but not easy. Okay, I've got some "splaining" to do. What I mean is, the ways that communities find success are rarely complicated or different from what other communities with similar successes are doing or have done. This means that you can (and should) study what successful communities do and find ways to adapt these winning methods and programs to fit your community. These may be based on people (workforce improvement programs), property (site and building development-availability), or the business environment you offer to reduce risks and increase profitability. By increasing the comfort level and decreasing the cost for businesses choosing your town, you make yourself an attractive option when a company is looking for a new location. Of course, multiple stars must align beyond those mentioned here. You can learn about these in my book, with each Chapter titled "It takes.......

Where finding success gets difficult begins at home, with leaders and locals. What I mean is, the clash of personalities, priorities, and level of agreement on "what we need is," "what we will do is," "who will do what," "how will we pay for it," and "who is ultimately responsible" sort of discussions take place. If you have been involved in advancing community progress, I expect you have probably learned what I stated above, IT isn't easy. Regardless, let's get back to simple, and a simple step that everyone must agree on and work on daily.

What people see and think about your town is expressed verbally, from the mind to the mouth, then to ears within earshot. These then form impressions, and on it goes. Many who do not live there are driving through your town today and, upon stopping, are hearing from locals. Many, not from your town, are reading the headlines or perhaps more in your local paper(s) . Many who want to know about your town are checking you out online, via websites and social media outlets. Many, not from your town, have relatives or friends in your town where they get the latest feedback on "what's going on."

Each person who is aware of your town, or those who have researched your place (for whatever reason) now have a reasonably informed impression. After all, it's what they heard, or what they read and learned. This impression allows them to join the locals in talking about your town. When they talk, their statements only have two ways to go, positive or negative.

Every source I have mentioned begins locally. Unless you have an outside detractor-attacker online, it is "the local talk," the local newspapers, the local websites, the locals online with a social media presence (perhaps even blogs like this one), that cast an "inside view" on what they-you think about your home.

What are your leaders and local residents saying about your town? Are they describing a place that others should be attracted to? Do their comments impress or stimulate others to pay a visit, or consider your town as an ideal place to work, to live, to start, own or operate a business? Are they describing an active place with new and positive things taking shape? Are they (YOU) bragging about the many things that you already have, or are they (YOU) constantly complaining about what is missing?

Never underestimate the power of impressions formed by what those in your town express with their words, as these are contagious. Someone you want to impress is always listening, looking and learning from what is said about your town. They may not take great stock on what a service worker says (or they may), but they will ALWAYS consider local leaders as experts who are "in the know."

SO, it's simple. Speak positively about both where you are and where you are going, in relation to your towns present and future. Then watch the magic happen when others you tell these things go forward and tell others of what they've heard. And on it goes.

From this process, you build an image that bolsters confidence in your town as well as curiosity, as those positively impressed will wonder what you are gonna do next. Positive talk will not only keep outside people interested, so that they want to "come see," but will also stir locals interest, so that they will want to be more involved, and contribute their resources of time, resources and influence. This means positive outcomes are generated with residents as well as outside prospects, whether they become tourists, residents, resident businesses or simply positive distant ambassadors.

Just remember. Positive talk always leads to positive results. Always.

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