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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Developing your effective written communication

Writing can be quite a task. And many do not realize this until they have to write.

I’ve seen a lot of corporate executives struggle with writing memos, proposals, and reports. The problem most of the time is how to put the information they have together to make complete and coherent sense as well as achieve their intent.

With this post, I want to put across some tips and steps you can implement to succeed with all your written communications.


It is essential that you prepare properly before taking up a pen to write or typing the first word on your computer, especially for a business communication. This is the first step.
- At this stage, you determine exactly what you want to achieve with that email, or memo, or proposal. When the purpose is clearly define, the idea-flow will be coordinated, saving you time and stress.
- The next thing is to assess your reader[s]. This will help you to avoid using words and grammatical constructions that are above their head or confusing to them.
- Then, determine the scope of your coverage of the subject. You need to know where to stop so that you do not include useless facts in your write-up.


When you are done preparing, it is then time to go fetch the information that will make up your write-up. This may include putting down the facts you know; interviewing people; checking printed sources; and browsing the Internet.


After gathering enough information, you have to organise them in a way that will be comprehensible by the reader. Here you decide what method of development best suits the purpose of your article. For example, if you are writing the history of your organisation, you might have to make it sequential, starting from the beginning to the present. Other methods of development include: comparison, cause and effect, division and classification, spatial, chronological, etc.

Writing the Draft

Now it’s time to produce your rough draft. Just write. Quickly put down all the information that you’ve got, according to the method of development that you have decided to use. At this point, you don’t care about proper introduction or grammar. Just let the information flow until you are done.


This is the point where you edit your draft. You check for unity or coherence, flow and transition from one idea to the next, clarity, etc. This is when you check spellings, punctuations, and remove unnecessary words and phrases. You generally polish your write-up at this stage.

When you are done, read through again and again. You can also give it to other persons to proofread for you [that’s if you have the time].

Mind you, your written communication represents you. Don’t make yourself look bad.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Adverts don't sell

Really, it’s a mistake to think that you can sell anything by simply advertising it.

You can hammer-in on the product’s unique selling proposition, and shoot the advert with Beyonce displaying the product. If it is such a useless and outdated product like a floppy disk or video cassette, it will not sell, at least not profitably.

Marketing is about envisaging and discovering customers’ needs and figuring out the best ways to meet them profitably. So the customer’s need, [which is an element of demand] comes first. Then the product which can meet that need comes into the picture.

People forget adverts as soon as they read them unless they happen to need the product at that time. Therefore, adverting is like offering a thirsty man a glass of cold water. The fourth or fifth glass of cold water will no longer be a temptation. He can ignore it. He is no longer thirsty.

So before you pump huge amount of money into advertising, make sure there is a demand [need + ability to buy] for it.

We once made this mistake too. My partner and I wanted people to know that we provide tasty barbecue at events. We put up a display advert, showcasing what we’ve got...

That advert did not work for some reasons. One of it is that the people in the region where we focused the advert did not need barbecue. They general could not afford hosting such parties where barbecue is served; beside they are mostly busy people.

So we had to change our strategy.

Lesson: Advertising is basically saying, “Hey, we’ve got what you are looking for.” And not “Hey, this is beautiful, efficient, and cheap. Would you buy?”