Communication Made Easy — Speaking, Editing, Writing, Marketing, Networking Answers

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but words themselves are at the basis of all communication. Whether we are communicating for business or personal reasons, our spoken and written words matter. These posts will address issues and answer questions related primarily to business communications, as they affect writing, credibility, marketing, and networking.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

You Don't Have to Be a GREAT Writer to Communicate Well

My particular literary gift is making other people's words sound better, clearer, more professional, funnier, more interesting, more persuasive. "Better" takes on all shapes and sizes because I work with all shapes and sizes of writers, each with varying degrees of skill.

Regarding the specifics of writing skills, a recent conversation comes to mind. I was talking with a woman from a networking group I belong to. She has an interesting product, and an even more compelling personal reason for promoting the product. Such seems to be the case for many in the direct marketing field, as those in other segments of sales. More often than not, people sell products or services they believe in. It just makes marketing easier if you are enthusiastic and engaged in the product or service you're promoting.

As a marketing advisor who enables my clients to use their writing to promote their goods and services, my natural first question to my friend was, "Have you ever considered writing an article about your involvement with products that promote a healthy environment for kids?" Her response to me was one I hear again and again – and the very reason I have a thriving practice:

"I can't write at all."

Let me offer various translations of that for you:

  • "It's been a long time since I've written anything and I'm just terribly out of practice as a writer."

  • "A long time ago, someone told me my writing wasn't very good."

  • "For a long laundry list of reasons, I lack confidence about my writing."

  • "I have great ideas, but it's impossible to get them out of my head, down onto paper."

  • "I always get writers' block every time I try to write something, even an e-mail."

Almost anything but, "I'm atually just a terrible writer."

And even terrible writers can still have fantastic messages. One of my longest-term clients is one of the worst writers I've ever known. But he's brilliant and has an amazing amount of information to share. Most importantly, though, he recognizes his weakness and hires someone (moi) to compensate for his deficiency in the area of written communication.

The truth is that most people just need more confidence and more practice to become better writers. Writing is like most skills: if you don't use it, you lose it – at least to a certain degree.

Another way to become a better writer is to become a better reader. Study writing that appeals to you, paying attention to sentence structure, word choices, cadence, tone, etc. Practice mimicking that author's style with your own writing.

There are hundreds of books and tools out there to help you, as well. Just Google "book" and "become a better writer" and you will almost immediately have more resource choices than you could ever hope to read in a lifetime.

One last way to make writing easier for you, if it's the writing part that has always been a struggle for you, is to dictate – speak instead of write. Services like www.idictate.com and www.copytalk.com offer unbelievable steals on dictation services that arrive in your e-mailbox like magic. So think about talking your next book or article, instead of being fearful of that blank page.

Whatever you do, make sure you share your message with the world. You were blessed with talents and skills, and part of honoring your human contract is by using them as widely as possible.

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