Why writing skills are so important

April 16, 2018 | Writing

Winston Churchill: “History will treat me kindly because I intend to be the one who writes it.”

Writing has never been a more important business skill than it is today. Alas, too many professionals consider it secondary, tertiary or even non-essential. This is catastrophic for professionals aiming to influence the company brain trust and advance their careers. The invention of email and social media channels alone dictate that effective written communication is more important than ever.

Poorly designed and written marketing proposals, sales letters, website copy, reports, memos, PowerPoint slides, press releases and speeches result in lost business and cast an unprofessional light on companies with otherwise valuable products and services.

Everything a company does is driven by the written word. Every important initiative is communicated and documented in writing. Yet, most companies never train their people how to write with clarity, accuracy and brevity, let alone how to add power and persuasion to the important thoughts and concepts they must communicate.

What many fail to realize is that writing skills are applicable to a host of other professional and personal endeavors, because good writing is all about good thinking — clear, well-structured thoughts easily understood and absorbed by recipients. The ability to achieve that is critical to professional advancement.

We have all had the experience of knowing a bright person, only to be shocked after they produce a cruddy piece of writing, one that suggests their education is incomplete. That is not the person who climbs to positions of authority and influence. Contrast that experience with the person who writes something captivating, intelligent and persuasive, and how our estimation of such people immediately rises. That is the person stacking the odds of professional advancement in their favor. Why? Because there is almost no other skill suggestive of both technical and emotional intelligence.

There are a multitude of reasons any professional should improve their writing skills, including that it:

  • Amplifies your creativity
  • Turns you into a go-to person
  • Increases your influence
  • Gives you the power to promote yourself
  • Highlights your intelligence

When so many people write so badly, it is especially impressive when an individual differentiates himself or herself with a talent for writing.

Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing workshops to companies and business professionals. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.

You have probably never heard about these three public speaking tips

If you Google “public speaking tips,” you’ll find a plethora of articles on the subject. Some are helpful, but others not so much, writes Rhett Power in a column he penned for Inc. magazine. So, how do you distinguish between useful methods and shady tricks that will only diminish the quality of your presentation?
The short answer is to avoid the same strategies we have all exhausted. How many times have you heard “Picture everyone in their underwear,” or “Don’t over-rehearse?” The goal is to connect with the members of your audience; picturing them naked and refusing to aggressively prepare is distracting and counterproductive. Tips like “Always use a PowerPoint” and “Start with a joke” should be jettisoned in favor of more relevant strategies used by the professionals. Steve Jobs, for instance, didn’t rely heavily on slide shows. Instead, he rehearsed extensively to tell an effective, emotional story. Jobs is a prime example of a presenter who successfully avoided hackneyed presentation tactics. What are those three public speaking tips Rhett Power is betting you’ve never heard about? (Click on the headline to continue reading)

The reason we struggle when we write

March 13, 2018 | Writing

When was the last time you enjoyed reading a business document? Let’s face it, business writing is boring. In most cases, business writing is so dense it is impenetrable. Those are sweeping but warranted statements. Very few business people know how to write, and most of them are quick to admit that. What’s more, they have no idea why they are such poor writers, meaning they cannot even begin to do something about it. Why do so many of us dislike writing? Why do we procrastinate when facing a writing assignment? Why do so many of us write poorly? The answer to all three of those questions is interrelated. At the core of the problem is that almost none of us were taught to write properly during our years of primary schooling. English teachers drilled us on the rules of grammar, then punished us for every infraction we committed. It was a punitive system that sucked all the joy, freedom and adventure out of writing. A good English instructor would have emphasized that a successful writing assignment produces a document filled with … (click the headline to continue reading)

7 tips for improving your public speaking

Regardless of how you feel about public speaking, and regardless of how much experience you have, there is room to grow and improve. Even minor adjustments can make a significant difference. With that in mind, PayScale, an organization that helps employers and their employees understand the right pay various job titles, 7 TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR PUBLIC SPEAKING. They include: 1) Embracing opportunities to practice, 2) Knowing it’s normal to have stage fright, 3) Anticipating the adrenaline rush, 4) Planning a great “hook” and “clincher,” 5) Modeling the emotional response you want to elicit, 6) Taking body language into account, 7) Reflecting and recording the experience. For the elaboration on … (click the headline to continue reading)

28 of the best writing books ever written

February 27, 2018 | Writing

Signature — a site claiming that it is “making well-read sense of the world” — points out that writing is, as a general rule, hard. Defining yourself as a writer can be even harder. Sure, there are other difficult practices like law and medicine out there, but a person becomes a lawyer or a doctor when he or she passes a series of exams and graduates from a certain school. Writing doesn’t always work that way. There aren’t tests to study for and facts to memorize. Where are we supposed to learn how to write? From grammar rules to publishing advice to personal narratives, Signature identifies 28 books on writing that reveal in intimate detail the ins and outs of what it means to call yourself a writer. Sometimes harsh, sometimes funny, but always honest, they can be thought of as a kind of syllabus for writing. Whether you’re an aspiring artist working on your first drafts or a seasoned veteran in the publishing world, these are some of the best books on writing with insight and wisdom that can support you at all stages of your writing process. I have personally read many of these books and can attest there is tremendous value in becoming a student of the writing process — something veteran writers often discontinue doing, erroneously thinking they have somehow mastered the craft. Don’t make that mistake. (Click the headline to continue reading)

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