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10 Blogging Lessons from the Dalai Lama

This guest post is by Annabel Candy of Successful Blogging.

The Dalai Lama recently came to visit me on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Well, not me specifically but the thousands of people who drove miles, piled into buses, and waited under bright skies to hear him speak.

It wasn’t what I expected. I joined Toastmasters to learn the art of public speaking but I don’t think the Dalai Lama needs to. His speech wasn’t polished but his message came over crystal-clear, and it’s obvious why he’s built up such a massive following, even without the help of social media.

Here’s a man who doesn’t need to use blogging to build his business, earn more money or establish himself as an expert in his field. He’s already the spiritual leader of the world.

He doesn’t even write a blog, but the Dalai Lama still has a lot to teach bloggers.

1. Have a sense of humor

The prayer flags on stage hung a bit low and the Dalai Lama peeped out from behind them, instantly making the audience laugh. Then he worried that the Aboriginal dancers, clad only in a small red cloth, might be feeling the cold.

There’s already enough dry, tutorial style information around. People learn more and want to come back to a blog that’s fun to read and bloggers should make the most of that.

2. Be humble

There was a comfy sofa sitting centre stage for the Dalai Lama to recline on while he spoke. He’s an old man but he said we wouldn’t be able to see him there so he chose to stand at the front of the stage under the hot sun where we could see him better.

Blogging is all about relationships, interacting with your readers and being present for them on your blog and on their favourite social media outposts

3. Be human

The Dalai Lama wasn’t sure of the protocol. He didn’t know if he was to speak first or if someone was going to introduce him. He’s just a normal human being like us trying his best.

We all make mistakes—typos slip into blog posts or links are forgotten. Just acknowledge them, fix what you can, and do your best.

4. Smile

Be happy and show that happiness. More people will want to hang out with you. It definitely works for the Dalai Lama who spreads happiness wherever he goes.

Do you like hanging out with and working with happy people? Then make sure your blog and gravatar photos makes you look friendly and open.

Don’t use photos where you look cool or sexy … you may come across as bored or grumpy instead. Unless you’re really cool and sexy, of course.

5. Be you

You can shave your head like the Dalai Lama, wear thick glasses, and sport deep wrinkles on your face and arms. It doesn’t really matter. As long as you are you, people will only notice the good things—your smile, your twinkling eyes, and your dimples.

There’s a lot of talk about authenticity in blogging and social media and being you makes your blog stand out better than anything else.

6. Speak from your heart

The Dalai Lama didn’t need to read his speech from notes. His message is there in his heart and in his soul. We know he really believes it.

Bloggers need to really believe their message and be passionate about it. Practically you need to blog about what you love because you’ll be blogging about it long-term. Passion will shine through on your blog and in your writing, videos or podcasts.

7. Take time

The Dalai Lama didn’t feel the need to rush his words. Sometimes he had to reflect and think a bit about what he wanted to say.

Don’t rush your blogging or try to keep up with other bloggers. I only post once a week own blogs (I have two) because I have other writing to do and I like to spend time making sure all my posts are as good as they can be.

Blogging is a long-term investment so you need to be patient to see the results.

8. Get help

The Dalai Lama had a friend to hand who whispered in his ear when the right word didn’t spring to mind.

Bloggers need to get help with the bits they find hard. For some it might be blog design, others need help with content creation, others with Facebook.

Accept that you can’t do everything, do the bits you love and the fun bits as best you can and seek help for other things.

9. Have a strong and universal message

Thousands of people flock to hear the Dalai Lama speak because his message of peace and love is crystal-clear.

Bloggers will have to work out what their message is before they can share it fully with their readers.

10. Use stories and anecdotes people can relate to

The Dalai Lama used relevant stories mentioning local Queenslanders who showed co-operation, friendship, and trust by helping each other out voluntarily during the floods.

Bloggers need to capture their readers’ imagination and give people concrete examples they can relate to. Story-telling is the best way to get your readers reading and keep them hooked until the end.

Does the Dalai Lama’s popularity resonate with you as a blogger? What else can bloggers learn from him and other inspiring leaders?

Annabel Candy is a web design, copywriter and born again blogger who shares her travel stories at Get In the Hot Spot and blogging tips at Successful Blogging.

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Comments

  1. Bruce says:

    Annabel,

    Common sense stuff (and universal) from a wise man but always worth reminding and reinforcing . . . thanks for the post.

  2. Naijadotcom says:

    Are these tips for blogging or for public speaking

    • sibin says:

      I think public speaking just like blogging.In blogging we speak to our readers.Both public speaking and blogging use simple words.,otherwise no one will hear you.

      • I agree to Sibin, blogging is public writing anyways. This is meant for public consumption and should be meaningful and easily comprehensible.

        And the common rules of life apply to all walks of life.

        • Workout IQ says:

          I agree with Deepak.

          The rules listed apply to life in general and more specifically to human interactions. Whether you are teaching a course or managing a group of people, you’d be better off doing so with humor, getting help and smiling, etc.

          These are basic rules for successful human interaction.

          Whether you are interacting from a stage, from blog or in person does not really matter.

    • There really isn’t much of a difference other than the medium.

      • Hi Sibin, Deepak and Chris,

        Thanks for getting in here and replying before I could. This post went live at 1am in Australia when I was dreaming in my bed:)

        So glad you found that connection between public speaking and blogging, and even linked it to general rules for success in anything as well as in life in general.

        As bloggers we need to appeal to our readers. I was inspired by the Dalai Lama, by observing those things that make him appeal and seeking the elements that we can all apply to our blog writing in order to make it more compelling to our readers.

        The Dalai Lama has huge charisma, he is a global inspiration yet his actions on stage were entirely human and that is part of his appeal. While he’s a world leader and the absolute expert in his field his message is all the more powerful because he is human and we can relate to him.

        That’s definitely something we bloggers can learn from:)

    • Lemniscatus says:

      Reuse and recode applies to environmentalist and programmers respectively. The latter use the former’s reuse principle but the former seldom recode!. The tips here, of course, can be happily used for public speaking as well as blogging. Yes, you can smile on blogs! Just like this :-)

  3. Richard Ng says:

    In fact, all these points apply to all of us and not restricted to bloggers. Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers!

  4. suraj says:

    all points are a like a universal truth. smile is best way to win the heart of the other people. i think all bloggers agree with key points.

  5. I think it’s the common sense stuff we have to study the most. I think this post is hitting on universal truths about how to live, and it is these principles that are the most important. If you do everything through the general principles, the small details will follow automaticly and inevitably.

    I’ve been incorporating more humor recently in my posts, although I write mostly how to posts, I get more people reading it and understanding it with a bit of humor.

    On thing I have to work on is refining my message though, 90 % of your time should be spent on creating the message and 10 % on telling it. Don’t you think?

    • Hi Martin, interested in your 90%/10% division of time. Maybe, because you need to spend a lot of time studying your topic and learning about it to really know what the key messages are. But I spend a lot of time planning the best way to get it across. Stories and humor make a message much more powerful and easily understood so I do spend a lot of time crafting my blog posts:)

  6. Absolutely love this post. I was lucky enough to be in the audience when His Holiness came to Ireland earlier this year and your account of him on stage tallies perfectly with what I observed!

  7. Thomas says:

    Great Lessons,
    i do the same every time. There is something to smile on some articles.
    I hope some visiters laugh too.

    Greetings Thomas

  8. Nice lessons to learn from the Dalai Lama, and yes they apply for everyone as well as bloggers!

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Rohit Sharma says:

    So common, so true and so wise! But rare at implementation…

    • Hi Rohit, as Martin said they are universal truths about how to live as well as how to blog. We all know them but how many of us actually implement them? Thanks for bringing that up:)

  10. Hi Annabel & Darren,

    Thanks for sharing such simple but very effective ways which should be applied in all spheres of life for better results. I must say that such a wise man sharing so much of experience and knowledge is so valuable.

  11. Hey Annabel – Thanks for your thoughts here. I’ve had alot of trouble writing lately and your article was extremely helpful. See, the problem is that I’ve been listening to the blogosphere talk about how you need to keyword things and write to attract the search engines, but I just need to be real and enjoy the process. Thanks again.

    • Hi David, yes, I had the same problems when I started blogging. Sometimes we get lost in the details, hanging on to the things we think are important and forgetting what really matters:)

  12. As some of the above commentators have said, most of the points discussed in this post are universal truths about ways to live life. But the one I personally like most is – Speak from your heart.

    Speaking from the heart can come only if a blogger writes about what he or she loves to write about. This ensures that there is quality and meaning in the blogger’s writing. This can come only if the motivation of the blogger is clear.

    But the portion where you discuss about ways to blog about things and matters that give a universal message to the world. Well, to some people who are already enlightened, this may come naturally. But for those who have only recently started on the path of finding their passion and have started to develop their public writing skills, this will come gradually as they learn about what they want message to convey to the world and how they should present it.

    Overall the article was informative and gripping.

  13. soubhiks says:

    It think its everything about connecting to your readrs.. humour may not work always….. you will have to try n find out what wrks best for your blog…..

  14. Yeah like this stuff. I tend to be fairly factual in my writing, but at the same time, some people prefer to be educated. I am still me in my writing however. This post really gets me thinking and is a good reminder.

    Thanks for the post!

    -Gabriel Johansson

  15. You article is really very meaningful. Blogging is an art.

  16. These 10 points are very useful.
    Another point to probably add is to not take to heart what people put in the comments section. I suppose what I mean is to have the ability to accept that some people may not agree with your post and want to show it. Even though someones post may contain a lot of content, deep thought and meaning, there will always be one person who disagrees. However it does not make your post unworthy of being viewed at all, so keep positive and look forward! :)
    Great post and thank you for sharing!

    Diane

  17. Fantastic points. Blogging is supposed to be fun and profitable, but sometimes due to lack of
    motivation and patient, we give up too early. Thanks for inspiring me!

  18. Hey Anabel,

    I love this post! Instead of the ordinary list of blogging advice you packed your info in a great story. You seldom read a list of ToDos that also tell a story at the same time. Reading yours leaves me with the impression that I actually witnessed the Dalai Lama myself.

    Your 10 points pretty much sum up what “authentic” stands for on my blog – well number 10 doesn’t really it but the other 9 do.

    Your writing is great and I’l certainly check out your blog! Already bookmarked it.

    Thanks!

  19. Princellar says:

    As a brand new blogger working to put up my first post I found the information right on time in helping me get to that place I want to be as a blogger.

  20. thanks for sharing, great breakdown, your personality has to shine through and I think the biggest mistake new bloggers make is that they tend to write for the search engines and not for their readers.

  21. That must have been a wonderful experience. Dalai Lama is a huge authority whom is respected and loved.

    I liked the comparing with blogging. It has some good tips.

    Be human. Take time. Be yourself.

  22. Sometimes it’s great to relate bloggers with some idols because blogsphere is also a world that people live in and not just a surreal world.

  23. This post makes a lot of sense to me. I believe that too many of us try to project something that we are not in our blogs. Some try to be too serious or sound smart. Others use foul language when in real life they barely cuss.

    I think that the majority of bloggers will never be seen by their readers so they can easily pretend to be someone that they are not.

    • Hi Justin, that may be true but the problem is often that we try to be what we think our readers want us to be when all they really want is for us to be ourselves!

  24. Joseph Ibe says:

    What can i say rather i am glad to be part of this community of experts on this topic.

  25. sokun says:

    Great tip, have a sense of humour. It works for anything. If you’re suffering from blogging boredom why not watch a comedy movie.

  26. GADEL says:

    Hi Annabel,

    Thanks a lot for this powerful and timely reminder. I love this especially, “Blogging is a long-term investment so you need to be patient to see the results.”

  27. Great post, Annabel! I particularly like the suggestion of keeping a sense of humor. I’ve noticed that most of the more popular bloggers incorporate that. It remind me of what a friend often said…”Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”

  28. It’s a nice surprise to see a post from you here, Annabel. It is also one of your best posts. The advice is simple and direct, and it sounds like the Dalai Lama himself would approve of everything you say about him and about blogging.

    You do a nice job of capturing his message — and yours.

    Gip

  29. I really liked this post because the message is so real and in line with my own blogging philosophy. The way you tied all the points together by telling us the story of the Dalai Lama’s presentation style and relating it to blogging was very interesting. I will remember the points you made and be able to apply them to my blog better because you related the points to a very memorable person’s behaviour.

  30. Excellent post Annabel.

    I think sometimes bloggers forgot about what’s really important and can get carried away with other priorities.

    It’s important to ‘keep it real’ so to speak. Being humble while at the same time being able to accept constructive criticism from others is also something that is important IMO.

  31. Mike Martel says:

    Nice message. Be authentic and vulnerable and your world will grow.

  32. Roblol says:

    So to the point: I am new to blogging and feel I found a good topic I really can work with. I’ve made a few posts and I think they turned out well. I’ve made forum posts on a few different areas that contain people in my target audience etc… I ask for feedback and all I’ve received was:

    “that’s good,” “funny,” “i laughed,” and the occasional “”

    I’m yet to receive any criticism. As long as it’s constructive I’m all ears. If anyone here is kind enough to spare a few minutes to read a post or two, please let me know what you think I can do to improve. Not to sound picky and needy but please stick to content related feedback. Design wise I have a lot to work on, but ultimately what I need want to focus on is content!

    Feel free to email me on the email listed in the about me section on my blog.

  33. Have to say very unusual post Annabel…and quite creative too. Being able to come up with 10 points on blogging and relating them to Dalai Lama is not an easy job. Great post and the message conveyed is terrific.

  34. Wow. The Dalai Lama should totally have a blog! Thanks for the ideas, Annabel!

  35. when i first took a corporate job i learned in one of my training sessions that smiling while speaking on the phone helps transpire the smile into your voice, tone and words….similar to being dressed at your best even when working from home (has to be psychological). i feel the same works in blogging – or at the least keeping a light, joyful mood.

  36. terry aley says:

    Being yourself always makes you more interesting. People love a good personality. One reason I see a lot of people failing on their blog posts or Twitter is that they project an image they want everyone to perceive. Rather than who they actually are. And people see through it. Real people with real flaws and problems are very likable to the masses.

  37. Karan Lugani says:

    That gives a sense that don’t care about your looks just be yourself and put up your ideas in front of people . There would be surely many who would adore you and would be there to support you to continue doing so . Dalai Lama should surely adopt a blog and I know it would be superhit if he did so.

  38. The trick is not to force but LET
    let it happen