Because A Good Title Is Hard To Find
In the next few weeks I’ll be launching my new keynote about how to deliver an exceptional customer experience. It’s called Decoding Your Customers!, which only took about 4 months for me to decide on. It took almost as long to come up with the title as it did to research, write, and refine the entire keynote. Finding a good title is hard.
Same with names. You can buy books with 10 billion names in them (all of which supposedly mean something important or powerful or beautiful or spiritual, which annoys me. Best I can tell, ‘Jeffrey’ means ‘best I could come up with on short notice, I thought we were having a girl’). So it should be easy to find a name for your kids, right? But it isn’t. My wife and I spent 7 months wandering back and forth over a list of no more than a dozen names before we finally agreed on one for our son. I doubt I’m alone there.
And if you’ve ever tried to come up with a title, then you’ll know it’s tough to cram everything you want to say into four words. You want it to be catchy, unique, informative, funny, thought-provoking – and that’s already more adjectives than the number of words you can use. It’s annoying.
But it does lead to some amusing dead-ends along the way. So on the off chance you’re interested in peeking behind the curtain to see how my brain works, here are some of the titles that got tossed around before ultimately being shot down:
- Conquer Your Customers! – imagery would have been great, I’m thinking a Conan the Destroyer vibe here, but some super-sensitive people I know decided it might be too aggressive.
- Outsmart Your Customers! – is that too mean? I didn’t think so, but maybe it is.
- Out-Customer Your Customers! – I don’t want to be too harsh, but, um, what the hell is that supposed to mean?
- Just Give Me Your Money Already! – in the spirit of honesty, isn’t this what all of us are trying to do? But I guess I should be more subtle…
- Destroying Your Customers’ Will To Resist – And now you can see I’m getting tired of this…
- Old, New, Crappy & Happy – It rhymes! People like rhymes, right?
- Taming the Tsunami – Is this a business keynote, or are you teaching surfing lessons for newlyweds? It’s hard to say.
- The Pickle Farm of Purchasing Happiness – I’m not saying that I was drinking while I thought these up, but I’m not saying I wasn’t, either.
- Title of Keynote – At one point I was ready to just go with this and be done with it.
That’s enough, I think. There were about 45 more. My advice to you? If you’re working on a research paper, news article, blog post, or anything else that needs a title, figure that part out last. If you start there, you might not ever get done what you need to do.
Hope you enjoy the new keynote. And of course, it’s not officially launched yet. So there is time to change the title if you like one of these better or have a suggestion of your own. As The Pickle Farm of Purchasing Happiness should indicate, I’m not above listening to anything.
I’m wildly annoyed by the lengthy subtitles following the maybe-OK titles of books these days. A 12-word subtitle just clutters up the book cover. And makes the author sound like a moron, in my admittedly not-so-humble opinion.
Thanks for the comment Melanie! I sometimes fall into writing titles that are too long, but hopefully I have a good proofreader that will get me to shorten it!
You forgot: Insert Title Here 🙂
I mean… I haven’t totally finalized the title so I’ll run it by the team:)