Powerful Writing Correlates to Success—Professional and Personal
Powerful writing can change your life! You may be the best qualified candidate—hands down—for a job, promotion, academic scholarship, or other goal, but if the competition is better at telling a story, you lose. Why? The competition wrote better! Simply stated, powerful writing correlates directly to success, personal and professional.
What do I mean? Here’s an example. An application form for competitive school allocates a limited area–sometimes 3” by 5”—in which to make your case. In this finite space, you must respond to a question such as:
- “How will you benefit from this experience?”
- “How will your parent organization benefit by sending you?”
- “What in your professional background supports your selection for this opportunity?”
In essence, you must explain why you—not your competition—should be afforded this opportunity. Bang … the race begins. The victor? The individual who musters the most influential response. In this type of writing every single letter of every single word COUNTS!
Consider this from the perspective of businesses and organizations. Often they, too, deserve to succeed but fail. Why? Inability to write persuasively often holds them back. For private business, corporations, non-government organizations, government agencies, and the military in particular, accurate, clear, and concise writing is the lifeblood for effective operations.
Have you ever read a paragraph in a report, then read it again, and yet a third time … still unable to ascertain the author’s point? Of course, we all have! Wading through textual muck is time consuming, frustrating, counterproductive, and the bane of today’s business products.
As an employer or an employee, you are invested in the success of your organization. You must write well to help advance its goals, meet mission objectives, and–if a private business—turn a profit. Influential writing is fundamental to:
- Projections for the next fiscal year
- Annual reports
- Building public support for an issue
- Attracting talented job applicants
- Publicizing an upcoming conference
- Selling products and services
- Proposals for new programs
- Precluding cuts in staff or budgets
- Responding to congressional inquiries or Congressional Directed Actions
Powerful writing is based on five foundational principles:
- You have limited opportunity to make your case and influence the audience. Make every word and each second of the audience’s time play to your advantage.
- Empathize with the audience. Make your product easy to read, understandable, and unambiguous.
- Quantify and be as specific as needed to make your case. Ensure the product conveys the “so what” of the communication.
- Avoid jargon.
- Proofread! Presentation and administrative quality are paramount. Bad grammar, incorrect punctuation, and misspelled words lose the audience no matter how compelling the content.
Write to Influence! is designed to help you compose with impact:
In Part 1, I provide ten writing techniques, each with ten examples and ten exercises. You learn to write powerful sentences in which every word is significant.
Part 2 offers “Strategies to Influence” and consists of three chapters: “Set the Hook,” “Make the Case,” and “Clinch the Deal.” Hooking the reader is examined from the perspective of various types of products and addresses the importance of opening words, titles, and opening sentences. “Make the Case” provides strategies to help the author assemble substantiating data that will make the product Pop. “Clinch the Deal” addresses eleven tips for organizing information so your audience is nodding in enthusiastic agreement at your product’s conclusion.
Part 3 is “Write to Influence! Applied Daily” and examines writing techniques and strategies for effective resumes, email, and presentations.
Part 4 provides 100 additional exercises and answers. “Exercises—Test Your Skill” includes a “Graduation Exercise” with a solution.
To the individual, you spent years (and significant funds) establishing expertise in your chosen field. Spend a small fraction of that time to strengthen your writing skills to become more effective … and competitive … in that chosen field!
To the CEO, wouldn’t it be wonderful if your employees could write as described above? Write to Influence! can make that happen!
With my next blog, I’ll throw down the gauntlet and present some “Before” examples and one of the Word Sculpting tools. You can test—and develop your writing skills!