Writing to build reputations and inspire commitment is a key part of corporate communications and decades of writing experience have taught me that there are many variables involved. Solid organizational skills, excellent research abilities and a great command of grammatical conventions are all important – but they’re only part of the story.
As a writer, you can maximize your impact by ensuring the language you use targets all members of your audience and not just the ones who think exactly like you do.
Here’s the thing: when we communicate with others we tend to default to language that represents our own model of the world. But when we step outside of ourselves and consciously use words and phrases that celebrate the communication styles of other people, we develop strong rapport with them and they will connect much more readily with our message. This is a powerful skill that must be used with integrity.
Here are some examples:
- We know from the field of education that people are kinesthetic, visual or audio learners. I pull this information into my writing to make sure people “see what I mean,” “hear what I’m saying,” and “feel good” about my topic. Actually, there is a little-known fourth pattern that I incorporate as well, if only because it’s my own default pattern: five per cent of the population is highly analytical and these people need to simply “understand” your message.
- Some people focus entirely on setting and achieving specific goals. They are forward thinking and focused but they don’t always see obstacles in their path. Other people are focused on the exciting aspects of problem-solving in their work; while they are fabulous trouble-shooters, they may not be driven by the end result. To appeal to both personality styles, I make sure I use language that shows how a client’s product, service or program will help people “meet their objectives and solve their problems.”
- Ever noticed that some people find it easier to make a 10:00 meeting than others? Punctual people find tardiness irksome but there are those among us who feel that a 10:00 meeting actually means “10-ish.” Professional people make every effort to be right on time regardless but if I want to appeal to people’s innermost sense of who they are, I need to use language that allows for both perspectives. My language will blend the two tendencies and I might say, where it’s true, that: “this will help you keep to your schedule and leave room for flexibility.”
There are many other language patterns I use to ensure I’m speaking to all audiences, and although I follow a number of specific conventions to ensure I’m doing it all correctly, I also find myself playing with the information to see how it works best. The goal in all cases is to ensure I bolster my clients’ reputations for caring about their audience while at the same time inspiring readers to connect with the message.
Comments? Questions? Feel free to contact me to find out more.