A previous Crossman’s Crash Course lesson set out my five basic organizational steps for writing with impact and I was amazed at the response the piece received. It really underscored for me how important clear communication is to people and it emphasized the fact that I’m obviously not the only one beating the drum for clarity in writing.
Today we’re looking at Step #1 in my personal process, which is so simple many people overlook it. Drum roll please:
Set your goals first.
Taking a moment to get a solid idea of the purpose of your document keeps your writing from wandering into irrelevant territory that might confuse or bore your audience. It also keeps you focused and selective, which gives your words more impact.
Most business communication falls into one of four categories and your goal for most writing projects will likely be to:
- Explain a situation.
- Analyse an issue.
- Promote a product or service.
- Inspire a reaction.
If you’re a writing keener and want to take it to another level entirely, bear this in mind: while your document will do one of the above it should also do all three of the following:
- Influence your audience
- Support one or more specific corporate targets and
- Deepen key relationships
Before I start to write anything official, I type a little note to myself that reads like this:
- The purpose of this document is to ___________ (answer from points 1-4 above).
- I want to influence my audience to ________.
- I need to make sure the following business goals are addressed _________.
- I want to inspire my audience to _______________.
Obviously I fill in the blanks with whatever information is appropriate.
Once I have my direction clear I can be more discerning about the development of the rest of my article and I don’t waste a second dithering. That makes me efficient and decisive and really adds to my enjoyment of the process of writing.
It’s not always as easy as 1, 2, 3 – but writing doesn’t have to be a misery.
If you missed the introductory post on the Crossman Crash Course in Writing with Clarity, here’s a recap of my personal five prep-steps:
- Set your goals.
- Know your audience.
- Collect your facts.
- Organize your information well.
- Check for what’s missing.
Want to learn more about how I can help you discover your writing goals? Contact me today!