Making Ideas Stick (2/6): Tales of the Unexpected

To make ideas stick, find, instead of mind, the gap

I remember – vividly – seeing a TV ad a few years ago. It was of a Volkswagen Campervan driving along a country road in the early morning. A nice peaceful soundtrack took me back to gentle family holidays.

The van seems to veer a little, now and then.

We see a dump truck coming towards it.

Just as it’s about to pass – BANG! The van slams into the truck. Dreadful mess. Shocking. See the ad for yourself, here: Kombi Night Shift Ad

Kombi and truck collide

[Image source: YouTube.com]

The ad was one of the first to tackle issues of fatigue and driving. The writers could have put up some frightening statistics: ‘35% of crashes in rural areas are caused by sleep debt’. But we kind of know that. If not the percentage, then the effect.

Once you have your reader’s attention (through a simple, clear, new thought), you need to keep that attention.

Break the pattern. Do the unexpected. Like this maths teacher did.

Seth Godin, prolific marketing author and speaker, agrees.

It’s a critical key to persuasive writing. Oh, wait! I’m running some sessions on influential writing in Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Gold Coast with Business Chicks. These events sold out in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne last year. Jump in!

Now, back to your program:

There’s a famous story about Subway, and a hugely successful ad campaign they developed. They used the story of a man, Jared Fogle, who lost 111 kg by eating Subway sandwiches – eating fast food, no less!

Find an element of surprise, use it to grab attention, and then point out a gap in your reader’s knowledge.

You’ll get to a surprise by really knowing what you’re writing about.

Here are simple ways to capture your reader’s (or listener’s) attention through the unexpected, and make your ideas stick:

1. To make ideas stick, bring numbers to life

The Airbus A380 Super Jumbo has a wingspan of 79.8 metres.

So what? That doesn’t mean anything. Try instead saying ‘A wingspan almost as long as a football field’.

Football field

[Image source: ldsseminary.wordpress.com]

See the difference? We find it hard to picture 79.8 metres, but we can all picture – and imagine the impressive size – of a football field.

Rather than a piece of equipment or project costing $100,000, it can be ‘just 2% of our capital outlay last year’.

Find a way to bring numbers to life. Just ‘the cost of a cup of takeaway coffee a day’, for example. This will help give an unexpected perspective on figures that can appear dry and dull.

2. Don’t mind the gap, FIND it

Open gaps in people’s knowledge. Gaps they didn’t even know (unexpectedly) that they had.

Before you can make your ideas stick, your audience has to want them.

Think of how TV news programs do it. They might announce that a ‘new drug is sweeping the teenage community’. And then say ‘The drug may be in your medicine cabinet right now! More after the break…’

It leaves the viewer wanting more.

Museum

[Image source: CC-BY-SA-3.0-MIGRATED; Released under the GNU Free Documentation License]

I like the story of Rebecca Fuller, a founder of an organisation devoted to creating tactile museum exhibits. She once started a presentation to a group of museum directors by suddenly turning all the lights off. As they sat in the dark, she said ‘this is what it’s like to be a blind person in most museums. Nothing to learn, nothing to experience.’

She had her audience. She’d focussed them on a problem they didn’t know existed. Now, they wanted to know how to solve it.

3. Tease, don’t tell

Your reader expects a presentation, for example, to be a series of bullet points. Each logical, and spelling out what you want to communicate.

Boring!

Instead, why not try a series of questions to get the audience thinking for themselves? That’s unexpected. How about asking, ‘What will happen if we don’t follow the new employment guidelines?’ Or, ‘How much is reasonable for us to go over budget: a) $10,000 b) $20,000 c) $50,000?’

When applying for a new position, try not to do what everyone else does: ‘What I’ll bring to the role’. How about asking them what will happen if they don’t employ you? What will be the unexpected repercussions?

When the reader thinks for themselves, it’s far more powerful.

Surprise yourself

In a world where we are inundated with messages, writing the ‘expected’ will simply turn your audience away.

What can you do to surprise with:

  • the way you present?
  • the questions you ask?
  • how you package up facts and figures?

Think unexpected, and you’ll get, and keep, their attention for longer.

Paul

Paul and the Magneto Team

P.S. This will surprise you: Poor communication kills HALF of all failed projects. Don’t let yours meet an untimely death! Check out our courses.

P.P.S. Have you tried Credosity? It’s a new productivity and learning tool for Microsoft Word that coaches you to be a better writer. Get it free for a month!

Making Ideas Sticky (1/6): Keep It Simple

Made To Stick book

KISS me: Keep It Simple, Simon

If you haven’t read ‘Made to Stick’, it’s time you did.

Your success at work depends on how well you can get attention for your ideas, and make them stick in your readers’ minds.

In the next six newsletters, I’ll apply the Heath brothers’ ‘sticky’ ideas to your writing at work. Their research shows that ideas stick best with the SUCCESs formula:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Stories

Let’s kick it off with ‘Simple‘:

Saved by simplicity

Last year a client told me his team went to the BIG boss to ask him to approve their project. They’d worked on it for months, and had a 40-slide presentation to convince him.

But after their pitch, he said no.

When they glumly told my client, he exploded: ‘What?! But he needs this project as much as we do!’ He said, ‘Show me your slide deck.’

Of the 40 slides, he took just four, and raced into the big boss’s office. He laid the slides down, and explained the project and its benefits simply and clearly.

The big boss said, ‘Oh! I didn’t realise that. Okay, it’s a yes!’

Trim the fat

Want to simplify? Cut the excess. Trim your message to its core. Complexity loses. Simplicity wins.

‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’
Albert Einstein

Five different roadsigns on one post

Image source: funnyhub.com

It’s a good reminder that we tend to over-complicate things. especially when it comes to writing. We want our boss, colleagues and clients to appreciate just how smart we are. That’s why we get paid the big bucks, right?

So we write long presentations. Long reports. Long emails. With lots of words. And the bigger the words, the better.

But your readers are in an infobesity epidemic: Bain & Co. found that business people got around 1000 external communications in 1970. But this mushroomed to 30,000 in 2014.

It also turns out that using long words needlessly makes people think you’re dumber, not smarter.

Which is why ‘Simple’ is key to your ideas sticking:

Cut through the clutter, don’t add to it.

What’s the one thing you want to communicate? What’s at the core of your idea?

Oh, I can hear you now: ‘It’s ALL important!’

Yes, but ‘all’ may mean ‘nothing’, as in the exec above who said no to the 40 slides then yes to the four.

WWJD? (What Would Jobs Do?)

Steve Jobs mastered this.

He sailed through the IT industry’s sea of jargon with simplicity.

Here’s how NOT to do it — this, from the Pentagon, is apparently the most complicated PowerPoint slide in history:

Most complicated PowerPoint slide in history

Image source: www.wired.com

It’s easy to see how this sort of presentation slide gets produced. There’s a complicated story to tell. Let’s make it simple by putting it all on one slide. There you go: at a glance!

But what did Steve Jobs do?

He cut to the core, focusing on the ONE thing he wanted his audience to remember.

When launching the MacBook Air, it was all about how thin it was. So he introduced it like this:

Steve Jobs at MacBook Air launch

Image source: Associated Press, smh.com.au

He simply showed a picture of an inter-office mail envelope. And put a MacBook Air inside one.

Point made. And the crowd went wild.

He could so easily have decided its screen size was also very, very important. As was its RAM. Its battery life. How much of it was recyclable. Its price.

But he didn’t. He focused on its incredible thinness. Everything else can be filled in later.

Besides the principles above, here are three simple ways to keep your messages, well, simpler:

1. Big news first

If you were your audience, what would be the most important to you? What’s new? What’s at stake?

One of my uni professors said to imagine your reader is in a lift, and the doors have started closing. In your whole document, what’s the ONE thing you’d shout to them before they’re gone?

‘We’re over budget!’

‘We need a new machine!’

‘Your husband ran off with the babysitter!’

Think about the one thing you need to get across — the most important, the news, the thing they don’t know. Focus on that. Lead with that.

It’s called the Inverted Pyramid style of writing, championed by journalists across the world:

Inverted Pyramid style of writing diagram

 

2. Generative analogies

Once you’ve settled on your one key thought, you need to communicate it. A generative analogy — a metaphor that generates new yet familiar ideas in your audience’s mind — works well.

Let’s say you’re applying for a new job. You could say you’re the Leonardo da Vinci of Human Resources: A multi-talented resource able to turn your hand successfully to most things.

Or maybe your big project is over budget. It could be your company’s Sydney Opera House: over budget and running late, but it’ll be a prized and irreplaceable icon for many years.

Analogies help you communicate complicated ideas more easily.

3. Be brutal

Not ‘brutal’ in what you write, but in what you cut.

‘Kill all your darlings.’
William Faulkner

Be like Steve Jobs. Kill anything that isn’t 100 percent new information. Shave it down to the barest thought. It’s not easy; it’s hard. But it’s what separates great writers from average ones: they do the work.

Keeping it simple is a critical skill for you at work. Whether an email, report, job application or presentation, the simpler you make it, the more likely it is to stick.

It’s not about dumbing down. It’s about smartening up through focus.

Next up: the U of SUCCESs … Unexpected!

Paul

Paul and the Magneto/Credosity team

P.S. Here’s a simple thought: Learn more, and you’ll EARN more. The more you know how to communicate with impact, the more effective you’ll be at work. Check out our writing masterclass, starting 7 July!

P.P.S. Have you tried Credosity? It’s a super-simple, but super valuable writing tool for Microsoft Word. Make sure you at least take a peek. Or even trial it free for 30 days.

 

‘That’s simply not logical, Jim.’ The power of Logos to persuade

ethos pathos logos

 

4d20486a-cf81-4b88-9376-64d9bf602497
Velcome!

I was buckling my kids into the car the other day. It struck me that my parents — not so long ago! — didn’t have to. As nippers, we were all thrown onto the bench seat, with a couple in the ‘boot’ of our station wagon (they had six kids). And that was the norm.

70a95166-f895-4d72-b0c1-772fbd61081bPhoto source: Jen Zahigan

Then research showed that wearing seat belts reduced serious injuries by around 60 percent. So, in 1970, Victoria became the first government in the world to make the wearing of seatbelts mandatory. The rest of Australia followed in 1972.

It made sense. The evidence was clear. Now we take it for granted.

The same happened for smoking, drink driving, obesity, immunisation — and many other public-health initiatives.

Not much emotion involved in those. Just simple facts you can’t argue with.

12896f7b-aafa-48f9-9813-68baee68ebb0

For Aristotle, one of the world’s greatest thinkers and philosophers, logic — or Logos — was the most important of his three persuasive appeals. The other two are Ethos and Pathos.

Whenever you’re writing, it’s important to build your credibility (Ethos), and appeal to your audience’s emotions (Pathos).

But consider this: two politicians make a speech. One speech is full of passion, empathy and experience — but light on substance. The other is dry and boring but packed with reasoned argument, solid facts and figures. Who do you trust more?

Exactly.

THE CAMPAIGN© 2012 Warner Brothers, ‘The Campaign’

Next time you sit down to write an email, report or presentation, ladle in an extra load of logic. It’ll be far more persuasive.

Here are seven techniques to boost your results with Logos:

1. Cause or consequence

Where you can, point out the clear consequences and cause. For example, ‘Greenhouse gases from humans cause global warming.’ Even better if you can then also back it up with an authoritative source (see point #7 below).

2. Analogies

Analogies are a great way of making the topic you’re talking about sound more reasonable. Or poke fun at the opposition, as Al Gore did here: ‘George Bush taking credit for the Berlin wall coming down is like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise.’

3. Testimony & authority

Use the expertise, experience or opinion of another source. This gives your argument more weight. For example, ‘Four out of five dentists recommend sugarless gum to their patients’.

4. Use plain language

Simple language makes your argument seem more reasonable. If you need to use jargon and big words to get your point across, your audience may think you’re trying to fool them (the ‘baffle them with bulldust’ approach). Simple words. Clear language. Works every time.

5. Use charts & diagrams

More than half of your brain’s cortex is devoted to vision. Want to get attention quickly? Use a graphic.

A simple chart or diagram goes further — it gets attention and convinces. Think of the impact of a clear pie chart, or how effective an infographic can be. Just don’t make it too complex, or your point will be lost.

6. Personal stories & anecdotes

If you yourself are a credible source, then a personal story will bolster your argument. Your own experiences, when relevant, will be far more potent than someone else’s.

7. Cite your sources

It’s always powerful to include statistics, facts or quotes. But without the source, it means little. Naturally, your source should be credible, and up to date — research from 2013 beats research from 1973.

Finally, consider the difference between Deductive and Inductive reasoning.

  • Deductive reasoning generalises to begin with, then moves to the specific. For example: ‘All humans are mortal [generalisation]. Aristotle is a human. Therefore Aristotle is mortal [specific]’.
  • Inductive reasoning moves from a specific to the general. For example: ‘All observed crows are black [specific]. Therefore all crows are black [generalisation]’.

What do you think? Do you agree with Aristotle that Logos is the most important of the three persuasive modes? I’d love to hear your views in the comments.

Paul

 

 

 

Paul and the Magneto Team

P.S. Here’s a good argument: You spend up to two-thirds of your week writing, so your effectiveness hinges on how good a writer you are. Great writers get promoted. Lousy writers don’t. Check out this online business writing course, starting 7 July 2015!

P.P.S. Have you tried Credosity? It’s a just-in-time productivity and learning tool for Microsoft Word. It coaches you to be a better writer. Very logical, very effective! Start your free trial.

What beats a good argument every time? Pathos.

ethos pathos logos

According to research, we’re bombarded by 2,904 media messages daily. We notice 52, and positively remember only 4 (SuperProfile 2010).

Boy, are we swamped!

Add to that our deluge of emails, phone calls, social media and meetings, and is it any wonder we feel overwhelmed?!

Your reader is in the same boat. If you can’t cut through their clutter, you’ll be ignored and waste your time. With their attention so scarce, how can you get them to read your board report? To notice your budget request? To action your group emails?

One sure-fire way is to appeal to their emotions.

I just did exactly that. I appealed to a common sensation for most people — the feeling of drowning in a sea of information.

Through our shared experience, I built empathy, understanding, and a sense of familiarity between us. We connected. You felt I cared.

As Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise once said: ‘Sometimes, a feeling is all we humans have to go on’.

Captain Kirk, Star Trek

 

Of course, appealing to a reader’s or listener’s emotions is as old as time. It was Aristotle who divided the means of persuasion into three categories — Ethos, Pathos and Logos — of which Pathos, your emotional influence on an audience, is critical.

How Pathos draws your audience in

Think of communications that appeal to you emotionally:

They’re all harnessing Pathos — evoking positive feelings of love, sympathy and compassion, or negative feelings of greed, fear and envy.

Feeling first. Thinking second.
Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio said we’re not thinking machines that feel; we’re feeling machines that think. Emotions are powerful motivators for your audience. They grab people’s attention, and make them want to act.

Using Pathos is a wonderfully effective technique to use in your writing. It helps you appeal to your audience’s sense of identity and self interest.

So, here are five simple ways to engage your audiences with Pathos:

1. Sharing breeds caring

Find a connection through shared experiences.

Writing a report due on Friday? Share the fact that it’s been a long week, but ‘here’s something to make next week a bit easier’.

We all share common issues: time, money, health, relationships, the work/life balance. Harness your understanding of those issues, and you’ll provoke empathy in your reader.

As influence expert Cialdini noted, we like to say ‘yes’ to people we like and know on a personal level. Shared experiences can achieve that.

2. Once upon a time … 

Stories are a great way to generate positive emotions.

If the project’s floundering, tell them the story of Walt Disney, fired early in his career because he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas’.

Perhaps you’re working on the 5,127th prototype (it took James Dyson that many before he perfected his bagless vacuum cleaner).

Stories of historical challenges cause us to reflect on current issues, and see them for what they are: a stepping stone, not a disaster.

3. No-one is perfect. Not even you!

Admit to your mistakes. Nothing is more off-putting that someone who passes the buck, or hides bad news in business buzzwords.

The only emotions you’ll evoke there are anger and frustration.

Come clean, and you’ll be amazed how often your reader will sympathise.

In fact, try a little MDA: Minor Damaging Admission. Admitting that not everything to do with your proposal is perfect (as long as it’s a minor issue) helps your audience trust you.

4. A picture’s worth a thousand words

Hey, I know we’re talking about words, here. But let’s not forget the power of an image to evoke emotions.

You can say the project is going well. Or you can show a rocket taking off.

Many more emotional pathways are opened when you see the image than when you say the words.

5. Make ’em laugh!

Humour, especially in a business context, evokes joy and surprise. It also makes the reader like you, which is a key component of influence.

JB Hi-Fi

Sharing a funny quote or experience shows you’re human. We can all empathise with that. Just be careful about the style of humour and your audience. Know the limits of taste.

 

To recap, Pathos is one of three key persuasion elements Aristotle identified: Ethos and Logos being the other two. Combine them seamlessly and you’ll get your way more often than you could have imagined.

What about you? How do you use Pathos to engage your audience’s emotions? We’re keen to hear your experiences: Comment below to see how happy it’ll make you!

Paul

Paul and the Magneto Team

P.S. There’s something you should get emotional about, and that’s your writing ability. Your career depends on it. Check out our next online course, starting 3 March 2015!

Is your character convincing? The role of ‘ethos’ in influence

ethos pathos logos

What’s the most important part of an email?

If you said, ‘The subject header!’ you’d be wrong.

When you get an email, you don’t look at the subject header first. You look at the sender. You’ll open an email with NO subject header if it’s from your boss.

And when you’re arguing for something (a proposal, a request), your success depends on your reader’s perception of YOU.

As Deepak Chopra said, ‘WHO you are speaks louder than anything you can say.’

But he didn’t say it first. Aristotle did, 2300 years ago.

How Ethos impacts your influence

Aristotle said the character of the arguer — Ethos — is critical. A dodgy used-car salesman might have the arguments (Logos) and passion (Pathos), but he fails to persuade because people don’t TRUST him.

I can hear you now: ‘But Paul, I’m a great guy/girl. Of course my reader/listener trusts me!’

I’m sure you are. But perception is reality. Do they, deep-down, know you’re trustworthy? Are you omitting things that could help them trust you more? Are you doing or saying things in ways that make them doubt you?

The infobesity epidemic we’re in makes your readers incredibly time-poor. They make snap judgments constantly, including about you and your cred — your ethos.

So how can you boost your ethos? Here are 5 ways:

1. Specifics sell

Mealy-mouthed salespeople spout generalities: ‘Our system is the best on the market!’ Really? By what standard? Is it the best quality? The most efficient? The highest selling?

Readers trust you more when you quantify: ‘System X is twice as fast as its nearest competitor.’ More credible. Stronger ethos.

2. Immaculate data

Years ago I ran a networking group called the Last Thursday Club. One day I wrote excitedly to my database to say I’d secured a New York Times best-selling author to speak to our group. Many wrote back and said, ‘Great, Paul! … When is he coming?’ I’d forgotten to include the event date. Hardly immaculate data.

So help readers trust you more by showing you’ve covered all their likely questions. (Another reason why it’s important to know your audience, and their reactions, well.) Like a journalist, answer the ‘5 Ws & H': Who, What, Why, When, Where and How.

3. Worst first: Go ugly early

A pharmaceutical company CEO once told me he can sense when his staff are hiding bad news. When they try to butter him up, dwell on minor good news, or evade questions, he calls them on it. He wants the worst news first so he knows where he stands, rather than have it drip-fed to him.

People are more likely to respect and trust you if they know you’ll tell them the truth instead of what you think they want to hear. It’s about being a trusted advisor. And it boosts your ethos.

4. Tell them who, not just what

One of the most common errors we see in our course attendees’ writing samples is passive voice. That’s where you say WHAT was done, but not WHO did it.

For example, ‘It is suggested that …’ is passive voice. But, ‘The legal team suggests that …’ is active voice, because you now know the ‘actor’ and not just the ‘action’.

Clarity and trust take a quantum leap with active voice. So does your ethos.

5. Near enough is bad enough

Nothing says ‘I’m average’ more than sloppy work.

I once trained a telco sales team. Their sales manager submitted his proposal for feedback (we do this for all course attendees). He and his team had worked for months to win this account, and he’d already sent the proposal to his prospect. But it was full of typos; he hadn’t run spellcheck over it before sending it. And worse, he’d left the previous client’s name in it — twice! 

Oversights like that drop your ethos and credibility to your ankles. Proofread with fresh eyes. And with Credosity (which we’re about to release as a beta!).

I could add more to the list, but your scrolling finger is tiring. What else do you think is critical for building ethos? Go on, boost your cred by sharing your thoughts in the comments.

Paul

Paul & the Magneto team

P.S. Here’s how to build trust in your intimate relationships, from psychologist and author John Gottman.

P.P.S. If you haven’t ‘followed’ or ‘liked’ our LinkedIn or Facebook pages, you’re missing out on a LOT of extra tips and offers! Check them out.

Flying Solo interview: Influence for Small Business

I was honoured to be interviewed recently by Robert Gerrish for Flying Solo‘s podcast.

We delved into Dr Robert Cialdini‘s six influence principles and how small-business owners can apply them to their writing.

Whether you’re a solopreneur or run a micro or small business, you’ll get insights into persuasion and influence you can apply to your proposals, website copy, and client emails.

Enjoy!

Weird Al’s hilarious grammar lesson: 9m views in 5 days – #WordCrimes video

I'll try to educate ya

A grammar intervention

 

If you love decent writing and grammar, this is for you.

If you don’t know your “you’re” from “your”, this is for you.

Weird Al Yankovic’s “Blurred Lines” parody called #WordCrimes made our week. I promise you’ll love it, like the other 9 million people who watched it in the last few days.

We need to hire this guy!

Watch #WordCrimes by Weird Al Yankovic

What do you think? Add your thoughts below!

 

Paul

Webinar: Tame the Email Beast

Lion

Limited seats: Book now

Date and Time

Friday, July 18, 2014 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM AEST

Description

(Attend this for FREE! To receive a discount code to attend ALL our webinars as our guest, just subscribe to our free writing tips.)

JOINT WEBINAR: Paul Jones (copywriter & corporate writing trainer) with Dermot Crowley (email-productivity expert)

Far from enhancing productivity, half your day can easily slip down your inbox’s throat. Email should make you more productive, not less. But is that your experience? If you’re like most people, email rates high on your ‘scourge of humanity’ list.

It’s time to tame the email beast!

This practical, interactive seminar reveals a professional copywriter’s insights into how to write more effective, more persuasive emails.

You’ll also learn powerful keys to efficiently managing your email from productivity expert, Dermot Crowley of Adapt Training.

Paul will cover:

1. Get Opened: How to write irresistible “Read me!” subject headers; use the Preview Pane to your advantage; what to know about your reader before clicking “send”.

2. Get Actioned: Get more kick from your keyboard (persuading via email); structuring and presenting emails for clear, fast communication; a good email’s a short email (how to be brief).

Dermot will cover:

3. Get Control: How to master your inbox and time; key strategies to help you get to Inbox Zero and stay there (yes, it’s possible); the systems you need to do the right work at the right time.

PRESENTERS
Award-winning copywriter & corporate writing trainer, Paul Jones, and email-productivity expert, Dermot Crowley, whose clients include Deloitte, KPMG and CBA.

WHO THIS IS FOR
This webinar is for anyone who uses email at work. Um, yes, that’s a lot of people. Okay, more specifically, it’s for you if you’re:

  • sick of sending emails and being ignored,
  • tired of wasting time chasing people for replies to your emails, and
  • stressed because your inbox is out of control.

LIMITED SEATS
100 seats only — Book now.

If you miss out on a seat, email us and we’ll add you to the waitlist.

Please only book if you intend to join us — don’t block others from attending.

Grab your seat now!

Paul

 

Webinar: Trim the Fat – Keep Decision-Makers Engaged!

Abs

Limited seats: Book now.

Date and Time

Friday, August 29, 2014 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM AEST

Description

(Attend this for FREE! To receive a discount code to attend ALL our webinars as our guest, just subscribe to our free writing tips.)

Those with the power to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ to your projects are extremely time-poor.

That means your project is going nowhere unless you can get — and keep — decision-makers’ attention.

In editing 4000+ writing samples for our course attendees over the last seven years, I’ve seen the same readability problems in almost every attendee’s sample. It’s unbelievably consistent.

In this webinar, you’ll learn what these issues are, and how to correct them to make your writing a pleasure to read, not a pain.

You’ll learn:
1. Tricks to writing concisely
2. The ideal average sentence length
3. Keys to deleting redundant words
4. What ‘plain English’ really means (it’s not what you think)
5. The two biggest factors that affect readability
6. Why nouns cross-dressing as verbs make your writing ugly
7. And more!

PRESENTER
Award-winning copywriter & corporate writing trainer, Paul Jones. Paul is a dynamic presenter whose copywriting and training clients include NAB, Westpac, BHP, Fairfax and IBM.

WHO THIS IS FOR
The more educated you are, the more you need this webinar. At school and university you had to write to a word count. You therefore likely developed bad habits such as waffling on, not getting to the point, using big words to impress, and writing in long, complex sentences — everything that turns off readers.

If you want specific tools to trim content to make your writing more engaging and readable, here’s your chance!

LIMITED SEATS
100 seats only — book now.

If you miss out on a seat, email us  and we’ll add you to the waitlist.

Please only book if you intend to join us — don’t block others from attending.

Grab your seat now!

Paul

 

Research shows poor communication kills projects

Sinking ship

Research: Half of all failed projects die due to poor communication

 

If getting more projects over the line is important to your career and business, this is for you.

Research from the Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s biggest not-for-profit project-management association, shows quality communication is crucial to projects succeeding. One in two failed projects die because of ineffective communication.

PMI says: ‘Consistent success of projects … stems from mature project management practice that is rooted in sound fundamentals, including effective stakeholder management, transparent communications, engaged project sponsors, and strong alignment of projects and talent development to high-level strategy.’ (emphasis mine)

Here are some tips to help you with the bolded ‘communication’ points above:

Effective stakeholder management
Adapt to your readers. Once size doesn’t fit all. Consider their:

  • Personality type, e.g. more detail for Analyticals, less for Drivers; be friendly to Amiables;
  • Seniority — focus on their interests, e.g. senior managers want higher-level ‘strategic’ content, not lower-level ‘operational’ content; and
  • Values — emphasise what will resonate with them; e.g. some are tuned in to getting stuff done, some to what the ‘right’ thing is to do, and some to career advancement and visibility.

Transparent communications
Naturally, the best currency is trust. You build more trust by:

Engaged project sponsors
To keep your readers engaged:

  • Communicate regularly, concisely and in the mode they prefer, e.g. some prefer phone calls to emails, or PowerPoint decks to Word docs;
  • Lead with their need, and tell them what’s in it for them (WII-FM);
  • Use your reader’s name and personal pronouns, especially ‘you, your, yours';
  • Ask questions and listen to their answers — don’t make all your communication one-way.

Be our guest: Winter Webinar Series

Our next two webinars tackle workplace communication that’s critical to your projects succeeding:

  1. Tame Your Email Beast – Get opened, get actioned, get control (joint webinar with productivity guru Dermot Crowley)
  2. Trim the Fat – Keep Decision-Makers Engaged! 

E-zine subscribers get VIP access to our webinars. Sign up now — each webinar is limited to 100 seats.

EOFY special

Book in-house training for your team before 30 June 2014 (for delivery any time this year) and your team will get free access to private recordings of our three most popular webinars so far:

  • Influencing Up (how to persuade senior decision makers)
  • Pitching on Paper (how to hike your proposal ‘hit’ rates)
  • CPR for PPT (how to revive your presentations)
Just mention this offer when you book. Why not get in touch now?

Paul