*Sigh* “I just don’t know what happens to me when I write a post or an email. I never end up sounding like myself. It’s so formal and stilted. Maybe that’s why I don’t get any response.”
If you’ve ever had this thought about what you’ve written on your blog, your web pages, or in your emails, I congratulate you — because for the most part, people don’t realize that they’re being more formal and stilted than their audience is comfortable with.
It shouldn’t be surprising, because we’ve all been taught in school how to write an essay… how to write a report… how to write a letter… and we think that’s what we’re supposed to do when we want to connect with our clients.
Things have changed since we learned that, and the operative word here is “connect.” I don’t ever remember hearing about “connecting” when I was in school, but I know now that you can’t really connect with anyone when you’re coming from the old-school model of how to write.
The key to connection is to write as if you were having a conversation, rather than writing a report for publication in a journal.
That’s easy for me when I imagine that I’m writing to a single person. So — right now, I’m imagining that I’m talking to someone specific. I can see the person’s face, and I’m looking for clues that my point is getting across and that I sound like me.
I watch for that glazed-over look, and if I get it, I back-track and rewrite. When I see the person nodding, I know my point is getting across. I keep an eye out for body language… is there a lot of shifting going on, or is the person focused on me? If not, I read what I’m writing out loud to see what doesn’t sound like me and rewrite so that it does.
You can do it, too! Imagine your best… your favorite client, sitting in the room with you, and tell that person what you want to talk about.
Make it easy on yourself! Drop the formality and write as you speak — your audience will get to know more about why they want to work with you, and your life will be a whole lot simpler!
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