Do you write like you speak?

 

New Orleans: Sign on tire shop on St. Claude A...

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Unless you’re delivering prepared remarks, your spoken communication is best off the cuff and a little informal. The intimate quality created by your small pauses, changes in direction or slang can cement the relationship and deepen the communication.

Aside: unless you’re using slang words like “pimpin’,” “gansta,” and “beatch.” None of these are appropriate unless you’re very familiar, or actually are a pimp, gangter or looking for a beatch. I’m not judging, but this will limit your audience and appeal.

Do pay attention, though, because if you’re like 75% of the people’s whose written communication I read, you’ll write just like you talk. The most unfortunate part of this is that over and above the pauses, slang and mid-sentence revisions which add value to in person communication, conversational speech often rambles. And even pimps, gangsters and beatches know that rambling cuts down on business.

Rambling is a sign of either disrespect or lack of expertise. Either you’re taking a circuitous route because you haven’t thought  it through yet, or because you really don’t think your reader will notice and you’re stringing them along.

Rambling as a result of unpreparedness is easy to fix: it’s called a first draft. One reason you might want a Writing Coach is to have someone read your first draft and give you ideas on what you really meant. If you have infinite time at your disposal, you won’t need someone with professional experience at sighting and unearthing your point and the best way to show it off, because the draft and sit process will work in your favor. You’ll come back two weeks later with an epiphany, and give it another go.

However, if you’re like most people, you’re writing with a purpose and perhaps even a deadline. And even if it’s just for yourself, cutting through our own shenanigans can be challenging for the most self-aware.

Rambling as a result of disrespect is both more difficult to fix, and really just a complicated form of unpreparedness – which is why you should want to fix it. The reason it’s difficult to fix is the conviction that leading the reader on is an effective sales technique. The problem with this conviction is that by underestimating your reader, you’re short selling your self or your product. If you have something of value get to it without repeating scintillating phrases. Your reader will see the value with clearer eyes, more grateful for the straightforward delivery.

Rambling takes three forms: the pointless story, the repeated lead, and the disconnected dots. Stay tuned in next week’s blogs for specifics on how to take your writing to the next level, when one of these is your obstacle.

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