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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #66: March, 2009

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC

Here is how to write persuasively, whether an article, a position paper, a book, or whatever:

  1. Determine your fundamental premise. That is, what value or information do you want to convey?
  2. Identify the audience to whom you want to convey it. Whom do you want to read the material?
  3. Establish what improvement the value will create for the reader, and break it into manageable techniques to attain the improvement. For example, if you're writing about staying calm in crisis situations, then think about the four, six, or eight techniques that people can use to stay calm.
  4. Support each point with your reasoning, an example from history and/or contemporary society (to keep it practical and not solely conceptual), a graphic or illustration if that helps, and your suggestions for implementation.
  5. Create an opening that is powerful and "seduces" the reader to want to hear what's next. Note that creating the opening AFTER you've creating the body of the work is quite helpful, and many authors write an introduction after the book itself is completed. A sample opening: "It's all right to be scared in a crisis, in fact in can be helpful, but it's never good to panic. That's the difference between how you feel and what you actually do."
  6. Create an ending which is a combination of a summary and a call to action for your readers.
  7. As appropriate, include your contact information and always your copyright. A work is actually copyrighted as soon as you produce it (assuming it's your original material) but placing the information that I have on the bottom of this column helps you if someone reprints it or circulates it. (The only reason to file copyright notice with the government is to enable you to sue for damages if your work is plagiarized.)

The greatest mistakes made by ineffective writers:

  • They attempt to tell you everything they know instead of only what the reader needs to know. Good writing is succinct and tight.
  • Lack of examples which results in completely conceptual points which people don't believe are pragmatic.
  • Too much focus on them and not enough on the reader.
  • Poor use of language, syntax, and punctuation; poor vocabulary; lack of metaphors and analogies.

Writing is a great marketing tool. You might as well become a great writer

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