Motivate Your Readers to Action

Some professional writers say that they write their last sentence first—so they'll always know where they're heading. It's an interesting approach. Think about it this way: You expressed your purpose in writing as a statement of action—your objective. By writing the end first, you can use it to guide you as you write your communication.

For example, if your objective is to have all team members submit their activity reports by the 15th of the month, you might consider closing your message by saying "Your activity reports are due no later than March 15."

Notice what we didn't say: If you have any questions, please feel free to call. This is a cliché and ineffective. If, in fact, you want to end with a statement like that, make it specific: "If you have any questions, I'm available at (phone number here) between 2:00 and 4:00 most afternoons." Specificity adds interest and encourages action.

The following three approaches to closing your communications are proven techniques:

1. Give a specific action instruction.

2. End with a question.

3. Close where it ends naturally.

Select the style of closing that's appropriate for the media, your objective, and your personal style.

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