SneezerThe best way to spread a virus is through sneezers. Sneezers are people who infect others with whatever they’ve caught. Although the analogy sounds a bit gross, that’s exactly what you ought to be looking for as you reach the world with your message – sneezers. *shout out to Seth Godin for the terminology

If I give a copy of my new book to my neighbor Bob and Bob reads the book and enjoys it, that’s great! Now, when I see Bob he tells me, “Great book! I really enjoyed it.” That’s nice, Bob’s a fan. I feel good.

Problem is, Bob is a retired software engineer and a bit of an introvert. Bob loves my book, he tells me that every time he sees me … but he doesn’t tell anyone else. Bob isn’t a sneezer.

On the other hand, let’s say I give a copy of my book to my pastor Hank and another copy to Wanda, the lady who cuts my hair. Hank and Wanda both love the book too (they ought to, it’s a great book!). Now I’ve got three fans, Bob, Hank and Wanda.

Like I said, Hank loves the book. In chapter three there was a particular point I made and the way I worded it, that really struck Hank. He shared it with the congregation as part of his sermon last week. We go to a decent size church, about five-hundred people show up on Sunday. I shared my book with Hank and last week Hank shared it with five-hundred others. Hank is a sneezer.

Wanda isn’t much of a reader. She started my book, got to page eighteen, but then put it down (I know! How could she?) meaning to get back to it as soon as business slowed down a bit (her salon has been packed every day this week). Wanda may not be much of a reader, but she’s a talker. She loves the idea of knowing a real bona-fide author. It gives her something to talk about and some status at the salon. Wanda keeps my book on the Salon’s lobby table and, somehow, the fact that the author gave her this book and how wonderful that is, works it’s way into the conversation with every client who sits in her chair. Wanda is a sneezer.

When you share your message, whether it’s a book, a song, or a vision for your company, ministry or charity, look for sneezers. Let them help you spread your message. When a message (or a virus) goes ‘viral’, it’s because others have spread it, not you alone.

Who are the sneezers in your life? Who can catch your message and is bound to share it with others?

Here’s an experiment: make a list of ten ‘sneezers’ with whom to share your message. They can be people you already know, but they don’t have to be. They just need to be likely candidates to catch and share your message. I’ll do the same and share my results with you … but you’ve got to share your results with me. Let’s see what happens!