Yesterday afternoon, I was soaking in a whirlpool jacuzzi at Hotel Ivy with Erika. (Don’t hate, it’s just how we roll.)
She’s a business coach & confidence expert. I’m a communication pro & wordsmith. We were talking — as we so often do — about how to help more people be more awesome, faster. And (also) how to spend more time soaking in tubs.
Somewhere between my deep tissue massage & jacuzzi soak number two, I had an epiphany. Well, more like a simple-iphany.
Being an efficient, graceful & persuasive writer isn’t about “talent” or “training.”
It’s about clarifying what kind of effect you want to have on your reader, before you write a single word.
Essentially: it’s about deciding what you want them to feel, know & do.
The next time you’re gettin’ ready to write an email / love note / cover letter / business proclamation / just-about-anything, roll your brain through this 3-step formula, first.
Because when you organize your thoughts & crystallize your intentions before you start writing, you’ve already done 90% of the work. The rest is just pure expression, poetry & play.
How do you want your reader to feel?
Curious? Delighted? Understood?
If you want her to feel curious, you could open with an intriguing “did you know … ?” statement.
If you want her to feel delighted, you could open with a charming compliment, a quote or a song lyric.
If you want her to feel understood, you could open with a quick story from your own life that shows you’ve been there & you get it.
There’s a perfect opening for every emotion. But first, you have to decide what kind of feeling you want to evoke.
What do you want your reader to know?
That you’re working on a new project that’s going to be very, very useful for her?
That you’re hosting a dinner party & artistic salon — and she’s invited?
That you love her? Full stop?
Convey the absolute essential information. Which is usually about 10% of the information that you (initially) think is essential.
What do you want your reader to do?
Take action? Breathe deeply? Click-buy-share?
Embark on an adventure? Make a donation? Make a decision?
Call you? Call her mom? Just think about something you’ve said?
The simpler your call-to-action, the better. And remember: your “call” may not always require an immediate “response.”
That’s it, friends. FEEL. KNOW. DO. Your new mantra for magnificently easy writing.
Ahhh! Like chilled cucumber-and-lemon water for the mind!
Now — a (happy) challenge: Use the FEEL. KNOW. DO. formula in your very next piece of communication. Report back. Share how it felt (and what happened) for you.