Read It with a Critical

Even if you only have minutes to conceive, draft, revise, and produce a finished message, take a breather before your final read through. Time allows you to read it with a fresh perspective, and you're likely to spot errors you might not have caught otherwise.

Brad said, "I didn't realize that I hadn't mentioned the Illinois site even once until my final read through. Only then did I notice that my closing paragraph on diversification needed to refer to Illinois, too. I'm convinced that taking the breather saved the day. I also revised the first paragraph to streamline the resource listing." Here are Brad's original paragraphs:

Bottom line: Of the three site options, the best choice is Georgia. My analysis used proprietary stochastic simulation techniques (see attached). Incorporating data collected from over one hundred sources, from the government and other public sources to interviews, the design of the model required creativity and diligence. All data was verified by fact checkers.

Diversification. Diversification allows us to reduce our vulnerability to the potential of weather, labor unrest, zoning, or taxation issues occurring in Florida. If any of these events occur in Florida, and we have two factories there, both of them would be affected, and thus our potential exposure would be doubled. We should use objective, not subjective, criteria to make our decision. If we do that, we must conclude that the site with the highest profit potential at the lowest risk is Georgia.

Here are Brad's final revisions:

Bottom line: Of the three site options, the best choice is Georgia. My analysis used proprietary stochastic simulation techniques (see attached). Incorporating data collected from over one hundred government and other public sources and interviews, the design of the model required creativity and diligence. All data was verified by fact checkers.

Diversification. Diversification allows us to reduce our vulnerability to the potential of weather, labor unrest, zoning, or taxation issues occurring in other states. If any of these events occur in Florida, and we have two factories there, both of them would be affected, and thus our potential exposure would be doubled. Just as we've had a hard time responding nimbly to problems in Arizona, so, too, would we have difficulty responding to any of these problems occurring in Illinois.

We should use objective, not subjective, criteria to make our decision. If we do that, we must conclude that the site with the highest profit potential at the lowest risk is Georgia.

Brad took the time to carefully analyze his report, and the net result was that he produced an excellent communication that was clear and persuasive—in other words, a message that's likely to achieve his objective.

The ability to write well is crucial to business success. In this chapter you've put all the tools to work and you've seen how they help you improve your writing. Use them to write more clearly and persuasively—and to achieve your communication objectives more easily and in less time.

The writing process discussed in this book works. Use it regularly and your communications will be more likely to succeed. While the steps may seem a bit cumbersome at first, through practice they will become second nature, like driving a car. In the beginning the steps, procedures, techniques, and models will need to be consciously summoned; over time, they'll become automatic, like breathing—you won't think about using them because the process will have become so easy and natural.

Until you're able to use the process seamlessly, you may need to review some of the tools, such as the principle of FURY or the Matrix of Persuasion, while others, such as the Empathy Index or calculating average sentence length, may be more easily assimilated. But before you know it, using all the tactics described in this book will seem innate, a skill you won't be able to recall not having.

As you become more comfortable with the tools you've learned in this book, you'll discover that in addition to improving the quality of your writing, the writing process itself requires less time. In the midst of a busy workday, you'll be able to organize your thoughts, get a draft on paper, and revise it for clarity quickly and with confidence. Your communications will inspire, persuade, influence, and motivate.

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Appendix A

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