It’s not about Me, it’s about You

When it comes to business writing, it’s always helpful to keep this in mind: it shouldn’t be about me, it should be about you.

In fact this is the single most important rule for effective writing. Too many of us have read to the end of too many documents and still haven’t a clue as to what the writer expects from us.

Don’t be that writer. Instead, be the writer whose documents people like to read because they’re clear and to the point. When you’re writing an email,  letter, article or other business document to inform, request or persuade, this requires thinking about:

1- the goal of this communication, and

2- what you need to communicate to the reader in order to achieve this.

Start by picturing in your mind the recipient and briefly explaining the purpose of your document. Then answer questions the reader might ask, such as:

What – should I do/understand?

Who – is involved with this?

When – should I do it?

Where – should I do it?

How – do I do this?

Why – should I do this?

Wrap up by summarizing why knowing or doing this will benefit the reader.

Before sending it, read the document from the reader’s perspective. Does it seem clear, positive, respectful?

Good. When it’s about you rather than me, you’ll get the results you want.

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