Your ideas are exceptional: a breakthrough product, a high potential business opportunity, a way to simplify a key process…but is anyone listening? Add impact and power to your next sales letter, memo, report, proposal, or presentation with these proven techniques:

1. Start with what readers need to know rather than what you want to say. What do readers already know about your topic? What are their business concerns? What will they gain or avoid losing by taking the action you’re asking them to take? What ideas or opinions will they have as they read or hear your message? Example: If your audience is likely to resist your idea for financial reasons, excite them with persuasive cost/benefit data or solid information on your idea’s revenue-generating potential.

2. Pick a theme. What’s the one message you want your audience to remember, even if they forget everything else about what you’ve written or said? “We’re more customer oriented than any of our competitors.” “This idea will pay for itself quickly.” “Two additional administrators on this account will enable us to serve this client with excellence.” “Customers first, last, and always.”

Write it on a card to keep in front of you as you work on your draft. When you reread your work, be certain your theme is coming through. If not, reorganize the draft, provide more information, and repeat this message to underscore its importance throughout the draft, and once again at the end.

3. Define success. Decide on the result that will let you walk away from your presentation, send your memo, or deliver your report saying, “I aced that one!” What do you want your readers to think, realize, or do when they finish reading your work? Be precise! “I want the group to believe that my five-step approach will begin to save us at least 10 hours of overtime a week immediately.” “I want the prospect to see that our offer is unique in these three ways…” “I want the group to understand and agree with the two reasons we ought to open a Dallas location in the next 12 months.”

Write the goal on an index card and keep it in front of you as you write. Check in with your goal periodically as you work on your draft to be certain every sentence serves this main purpose.

4. Cut to the chase. No one has the time to wade through paragraphs of text to figure out what you’re trying to say. Get to the point! “As you know, the construction of the Cleveland Distribution Center is well underway, with six to nine months until the scheduled opening. Since demand for the Center has been so high, I suggest we consider the following strategies for accelerating our pace and opening two months ahead of schedule.” Open a memo this way, and in two sentences, your readers know the purpose of your memo, the information you’ve included, and the potential benefits of your suggestion. You’ve got their attention.

5. Spice it up! Season your writing with words that add originality and style and connect instantly with your audience. Try tenacity, vibrant, peak, spirited, masterful, vivid, exceptional, and bravo! More ideas:

act
bravo!
Catalyst
Dynamic
Efficient
Excited
innovate
mainstream
panache
power
results
skill
surge
tenacity
vibrant
yes!
bold
breakthrough
courage
edge
enterprising
fuel
inspire
novel
perspicacity
productive
rewards
spotlight
swift
timely
vital
boost
brisk
delighted
effective
entrepreneurial
imagine
joy
opportunity
pinpoint
profit
sharpen
surefire
talent
trust
vivid

Avoid clichés like “easier said than done,” “the bitter end,” “that fateful day,” “a far cry” and “in leaps and bounds.” Listeners and readers pass over these phrases because the words have lost meaning through overuse.

6. Paint a picture of your idea in action. Put your audience at the scene of your successful idea. “So, picture it: You walk into our new office in Dallas and are immediately greeted by a high-tech directory board. As you find your destination, you notice the atmosphere is filled with energy and activity. Pent-up demand for our services in the Dallas market has enabled the facility to reach 75 percent capacity in three short months. The mood is upbeat; the staff is busy and constantly on the move…”

Explain difficult concepts or summarize lengthy explanations with tables and charts. Try pie or bar charts to present statistics, tables to show steps in a process, “before and after” comparison charts.

7. Be brief, be brilliant, and be done! Heed the words of writing expert William Zinsser: “There’s not much to be said about the period except that most writers don’t reach it soon enough.” Your reader or listener has honored you with his time and attention. You owe him clear, thought-provoking writing—and as much as possible—brevity.

Author's Bio: 

Doug Davin and Diana Morris are authors and coaches at breakthroughskills.com, a professional self-improvement community and webstore. Their original resources—Rapid-Read™ Handbooks and Workbooks, free BTS QuickTools?, Breakthrough Coaching, Workshops, and Telesession calls—zero-in on seven Breakthrough Skills you need to reach the highest levels of success and enjoy your work—every day.

“You know you’ve got a great future ahead of you. We know it too, and we’re serious about helping you. Contact us at info@breakthroughskills.com or call toll-free: 1-877-512-3400.” Or visit their site www.breakthroughskills.com

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