Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Use "In-Your-Face" writing!

Want to write for action in business? Use the "In-Your-Face" (inductive approach)! That is, give the reader the who-what-when-where-why-how-how much - in the first sentence.

Let's face it; no one has time any more to read lengthy memos, letters, RFP's or reports. Everyone wants to "cut to the chase" (in the case of RFP's, the executive summary). Why? Because we live in an over communicated society. Too many blogs, ads, e-mails, IM's and other distractions. We need a quick and simple message that rings with clarity and hits home with the force of a punch.

Want to penetrate this fog of messages? It bears repeating: Use a journalistic style. Cite the facts quickly. Give the who-what-when-where and so on in the first sentence.

Say you're on a consulting assignment and you have determined that you can close the project two weeks early and increase the return if you are given two more programmers and two new laptops at a cost of $150,000. If this is the case, write the following message to your supervisor in the first sentence: "We can complete the Widget project two weeks ahead of schedule and increase our return by $250,000 with two new staff and two laptops at a cost of $150,000."

Whatever back story you need to add (context), you can write after that first sentence. Whatever additional justification you need, you can include...after that first sentence. By writing this way, you are actually respecting the reader. Any executive I know will be pleased to receive messages constructed in this manner. Executives need to make decisions quickly and they need the evidence upon which to make their decisions. You will be helping them by giving it up quickly, by using an inductive style, by getting in their faces!

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