Imagine standing with strangers discussing the weather. These strangers are of average to above-average intelligence. You want to make a good impression because they appear to be strangers who may soon become your colleagues. Instead of talking confidently and in a clear structure; relating relevant information about the weather, you stand there and suddenly scream:
“This green face weather all about. The long rain comes among inside around here. What the wrong sunshine. Hot cloud. Let’s sunbathe!”
Put yourself in their position. I think you’d walk away. I know I would! Imagine that’s your business making its first impression either online or in print (for example, your business plan).
It doesn’t matter how much we love the concept of a business or a product, a service or an idea, if we present it to others in a way that lacks written structure and professionalism, the likelihood is that any response will reflect that impression – automatically, we are lowering the tone of our business. Words and the structure of them are letting us down. They appear to be our enemy.
Words are not your enemy. They can make or break you so believe in yourself and get them right first time. Invest some time in learning these techniques to really sell yourself and your business, service or product; do yourself the justice you deserve.
- Write what you want to say down – obvious but get it all written briefly. Whether that be the pages of your website or just your ideas. Make bullet points if it’s easier.
- Read it back to yourself – aloud. Does it sound right? Is it how you would speak normally. Does it connect with your audience properly? No? Make changes appropriately.
- Get a dictionary or if you’re writing on a computer/smart phone, do a spell check if it’s not automatic. Check the automatic spell checking.
- Restructure. Ok, so it seems like a bad time to restructure but in fact, this is the perfect time. Put the most important points first – the first sentence should sum up what the page/plan/idea is about. Your audience will very rarely read more than the first paragraph or two.
- Add/remove any unnecessary paragraphs or sentences. If they are obvious and you don’t need to say them, don’t, you’re wasting valuable time and waffling.
- Read aloud again. When you feel yourself pause for a breath, there’s probably a comma needed there or a full stop. Read up on correct grammar and always get your apostrophises in the right place.
- Get someone else to read it. Always helpful. You can spend days looking at the same text but your brain will become board so won’t be as critical. Others will notice errors more easily.
- Get more people to read it – family, friends, colleagues etc. or get a professional copywriter to help (charges may apply).
These points, I hope, will help you build your business and say what you need to say in a way that is effective, efficient and delivers the impact needed.
We can’t always afford professional help. I’ve had to say no to a lot of people who’ve wanted free copywriting and editing services because it’s time-consuming and as much as I want to help, I can’t help everyone.
These points are a very basic way to structure any writing you’ve got to do. Don’t be afraid of words. Get it right first time and make an impact. I’ve seen too many website pages that are full of spelling and grammatical errors – there’s no excuse for it.
Don’t rush. Concentrate. Proof-read what you’ve written and stay calm. Ask others for help.
Feature Image: By Petar Milošević – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,