Thursday, September 2, 2010

7-9 of the Top 10 Techniques For writing Like a Pro

Here's 7-9 of Barbara McNichol's 10 Top Techniques For Writing Like a Pro.

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#7. Talk Directly to Your Readers
Speaking directly to your readers is accomplished, in most cases, with a “you” orientation (not “I” or “we”). Using the second person “you” directs your communication to one individual and allows you to use commands that cut to the quick. E.g., Stop. Look. Listen. (Because reading is solitary, never say “many of you.”).

Note: At times, using a “we” orientation feels more inclusive and perhaps less bossy. You might use a generally accepted statement that calls for “we,” e.g., “We’re subject to the vagaries of the weather.” But as a rule, don’t mix “you” and “we” in the same paragraph. Why?

Because you abruptly shift the point of view and require your reader to skip around. Instead, start a new paragraph to signal a shift in the point of view.

#8. Pursue a Parallel Path

Don’t let a mixed bag of parts of speech wiggle into your writing. Here’s what I mean: “His attitude makes a difference in changing, succeeding, and when he wants to move on.” Throwing in a non-parallel phrase at the end forces the reader’s mind to shift gears unnecessarily. Why?

Because it breaks an expected pattern.

Instead, strengthen the sentence by saying this: “His attitude makes a difference in changing, succeeding, and moving on.”

Note: This rule of good writing taps into the power of three, which adds a rhythm and cadence that just feels right. E.g., Earth, wind, and fire. Winken, Blinken, and Nod.

#9. Set a Clear Objective

You might think writing requires just letting words flow like water out of a faucet. Not so.

Sentences are more likely to dribble and spurt than overflow like a fountain.

Answer these questions before you write the first line:

Target Audience—Who will read this? What do you know about them?

Purpose—What succinct, clear message do you want to send?

Benefits—What’s in it for the readers to read this and take action?

Call to Action—What do you want the reader to do, think, or remember as a result of reading your message? E.g., Attend this important meeting. Contact me.

Logistics—What logistics need to be spelled out? E.g., June 22 at 3 pm Eastern.

Hope these tip are helpful.

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