When you ask yourself, ‘Why am I writing this?’ before you start an email, you might be surprised at the answer.
Most people are often just not sure of the purpose of a specific piece of writing. What then of the reader? How must they decipher what you mean or what you want, when it is not even clear in your own head?
We have all received emails like this, where you are just not sure WHY this was sent to you. 90% of the time this is because the writer didn’t think about WHY either.
We live in a high-paced, always-on world. People have to prioritise and focus fast in order to do things. When you start to think about WHY you are writing and place it up front in your writing, you begin to allow people to connect with the purpose of your message and therefore make it clear to them what is important for them and how this message matters.
Does this sound crazy? Consider that quite often people are just going through the motions… in order to have the feeling that progress is being made, an email needs to be sent, a report needs to be written. When we write like this, the WHY is simply to look busy.
But when you connect with what the reader needs, with how this message helps you move forward, suddenly your writing takes on a new dynamic.
It feels more personal, it is more goal-oriented. These two things give your writing more energy, make your reader feel included and can be really inspirational.
All of that without really working on your writing skills… just thinking a bit before you start about the PURPOSE of what you are about to write and share.
There is an added bonus side effect: You really look good. Keeping purpose in mind DOES make you more goal-oriented, it makes it clear that you know where you are at and where the reader needs to be. This tends to make you sound/appear more professional, up to date and on the case.
Before you write your next email, document or letter, stop. Think a bit about what effect or impact you want to make. What are the reasons for writing this? Then think about what reasons your reader might have for reacting well or badly…. THEN start to write.
Up the impact of your writing, first think about WHY: what’s the purpose. And then write to that.
David Chislett, senior trainer business English
(c) Taleninstituut Nederland