Sensible Shoes

by Jennifer Miller on December 22, 2009

in Personal Effectiveness

iStock_000006945560XSmall_shoesThe other day, I was talking with a fellow blogger.  We were discussing the types of blogs that have large readerships in the “human” arena: Human Resources, Learning and Development, Leadership, etc.  My friend observed that some of the most popular blogs are those that are “edgy” in some way.  That was really good food for thought—hmm, do edgy blogs draw bigger readerships?

I’m not edgy.  I don’t say things that infuriate, shock or annoy.  That’s just not my M.O.  Even though my personality is fairly intense and direct, my writing style and advice-giving is more on the temperate side.  Maybe it’s from my Midwest roots, or honed from years of being neutral while facilitating workshops, but somewhere along the line, I’ve developed a brand for practical, no-frills counsel. For example, I’ve surprised clients by saying, “Nah, you don’t need my services. You could easily do that in-house for less.”

All of this leaves me wondering, am I the “Sensible Shoes” of the consulting world?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Rosendahl December 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Edge definitely does draw but like you, I am not edgy in real life so would have a hard time living up to that. There’s enough room for both edge and no-frills in this space so join me, the penny-loafer, and together we will conquer the world!

Beth Weisberg December 22, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Practical, no-frills counsel works for me! Know what you mean, though, about just not being able to do that “edgy” thing. But there’s room out there for all types & styles of consultants, just as there’s room for 100’s of styles of shoes (and new ones every season!). Wouldn’t it be a boring world if everyone wore the same style shoes — and wouldn’t it be a bland wasteland if all consultants spouted the same mantras & solutions for all? In my mind, it would even worse if consultants changed their style with every season, like shoes. Let’s hear it for diversity and consistency and authenticity: just being the best you can be at exactly who you are, and distinct from all the others out there.

Alicia Arenas (@AliciaSanera) December 22, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Edgy and controversial works for a lot of people. Fortunately or unfortunately (I’m not sure which) the post I did about having one of my blog posts stolen had triple the amount of readers I normally have. But at the end of the day, people are looking for two things in blogs – great content and authenticity.Who knows? Perhaps over time you will push the envelope a little! 😉

Gwyn Teatro December 22, 2009 at 9:42 pm

For me “Sensible shoes” are often the most consistent and reliable ones and there is a lot to be said for that. Solutions are often found in fundamental wisdom and to me, sensible shoes represent the notion that not everything has to be dramatic, painful, shocking or edgy. “Sensible shoes” just have to be there when they are really needed. And, if that is what you represent, then it is something pretty awesome in my book.

Michael Krupa December 22, 2009 at 10:57 pm

I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. Based on the Twitter DM’s we send back and forth, I think you are edgy in a fun and positive way (not a shocking and annoying way). Nothing wrong with being a sensible shoes blogger but I’m not totally convinced you fit the sensible shoes category.

Jennifer December 23, 2009 at 9:46 am

Hey, Lisa, Beth and Mike,

Thanks for your input. You’re absolutely right…there *is* a place for sensible shoes out there. Variety is the spice of life. Mike, you point out something that’s really making me think: the whole public persona vs private persona. Our DM’s probably are a bit more silly and edgy, because we’ve built up some trust. Hmmm….

Jennifer December 23, 2009 at 9:51 am

Alicia and Gwyn,

Thanks so much for stopping by The People Equation; it’s always such a treat to have new perspectives.

Alicia, yes, I’m getting more comfortable “pushing the envelope” on the blog… but still have a ways to go.

Gwyn, I agree that “sensible” wisdom never goes out of style.

Thanks to both of you for your support!

Deirdre December 23, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Love it. I love your style – conversational, collaborative, engaging, interesting. When I read your stuff, it makes me think and reflect. The kind of reflection that percolates and simmers until we chat again.

I will take sensible any day. Your sensible. 🙂

Jennifer December 23, 2009 at 5:57 pm


Thanks, my friend!


Walter December 24, 2009 at 2:23 am

People oftentimes want something which they can relate. Stumbling upon an edgy style blog, they have found a place where they can feel they are never alone. 🙂

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach January 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Hi Jennifer,
I have also heard that “edgy” works because people are drawn to the “gaps” in life. Edgy is the gap between two extremes. One of my blogging goals this year is to find the “gaps” and fill them.
Having said that, there are many people online who want solid authentic content. Drawing them in w/edgy titles help them find strong content.

I also found out recently, after an SEO review of my site & blog, that Google loves highly organized content. Google doesn’t know if it’s edgy; it just knows that it is highly organized and rich in content. For great placements w/i search engines like Google, lots of hits through searches as well as frequent updates of organized content is a winning formula.

FYI: I love your title — “Sensible Shoes”!

Visit my blog and give me any ideas on people-skills posts you would like to see. My passion is helping people bridge the gaps created by differences among us — especially for customer care and teamwork.

Warmest wishes to you and all your readers for a wonderful 2010.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach

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