Writing something that is easily read can be quite a challenge. The popularity of the Internet and other interactive, screen-based media brought a new set of rules and challenges to communicators.
My Mother taught me …
“Proper grammar and enunciation are like a secret handshake. They are like keys that help open the door to an exclusive club full of interesting people and opportunities.
What you do once the door is opened is up to you.”
Flawless grammar and perfect punctuation are rarely seen or expected in today’s environment of Instant Messaging, Tweeting, Texting, Blogging, Facebooking and other social media.
In this environment, credibility is everything, and credibility suffers when ideas are presented in a less than credible manner. I’m certain that you have experienced this.
Have you ever been reading a blog post and right up front the writer screwed up a word.
“There going to have trouble beleiving me an him took English together.”
The writer’s point might be strong, and their logic impeccable, but if the Silver lining is wrapped in a dark cloud, many people will never see it.
What I hope to do here is kick-start your thinking — not about your message, but about the way you present it.
When discussing controversial ideas, or trying to sell your own, presentation is crucial.
Hostile opponents often turn to criticizing the presentation of an idea, thus taking attention away from the content, or calling the competence of the writer into question. In any case, proper presentation can only lead credibility to your message.
The Prime Directive: Know Your Audience!
This “rule” is one of the few constants across all media and forms of expression.
You must communicate in the language of your audience. This item should be understood, but many writers and presenters craft their work to please their own and/or their boss’ ego, or based on preconceptions and stereotypes.
Though your message might be the same for engineers and artists, men and women, or doctors and accountants, the way you present that message will vary for each group.
If possible, have a member of your target audience proof and comment on your copy. Clear up any vague or hard to understand items before you publish.
Bloggers, Boarders, Tweeters and Facebookers Note:
Though you might not have an expert handy who can proof your work, you should still follow this directive. Before you reply to a post in any social media, read the original post completely, and follow the responses.
This will keep you from being one of those irritating people who either misses the point, strays off-topic, or posts something that has already been said and/or beaten to death.
It’s OK to come to the party late, just do your homework first.
Your readers will be glad you did.
In any communication, be it graphic, written or verbal, do it as if ,,,
“You’re Sending a Telegram to a Moron
at a Thousand Dollars a Word!”
Part 1: The Prime Directive
Part 4: Odds, Ends and Pet Peeves