Beginnings matter. Whether you’re an executive communicating a leadership message, a team leader building morale, or a solopreneur bringing your self to market, you’ve got something important to say. But. If you’ve got a great product/message/idea but can’t communicate it clearly, you’ve lost before you even get started. A decade’s worth of writing Get-it-Done Guy scripts taught me some things about clear writing.

This week I’ve seen a resume, an investor pitch deck, and an article that were full of great information. All three were presented in ways that would cause eyes to glaze over, because they were nothing but a mass of details.

The opening sentence and framing are the key to effective communication:

  1. Know what you want to communicate. Can’t write it in a single sentence? You either don’t have the sentence yet, or you’re trying to do too much.
  2. Start with a big picture statement that makes someone want to read more. Show your audience why it’s relevant. If you’re writing for multiple audiences, this can be the hardest thing to write, since you’re motivating multiple audiences who may have different, competing agendas.
  3. Eliminate jargon and acronyms. If your big picture statement is “Our ACRS system is adding an unprecedented 240 basis points to our operating earnings,” and your audience doesn’t know what ACRS is, what a basis point is, or what operating earnings are, then you’ve lost them before you’ve begun.

It only took a few sentences, applying these tips, to make all three pieces of writing much more engaging.

3 Keys to Effective Communication

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