When writing for your job or your career, you can become a powerful writer. The principles of great business writing are simple.
State your subject in the first sentence. A sales manager once told me that Procter & Gamble sent him to Cincinnati for a two-year assignment to teach him how to write.
I thought I knew how to write before I met this person. I majored in English. As a collateral assignment during the time that I served on active duty in the Navy, I wrote articles that the Navy released for publication to the media.
However, until I worked with this former Procter & Gamble sales manager, I did think about the purpose of an opening sentence. Great opening sentences introduce the subject.
Using a catchy opening sentence is terrific provided that the sentence also helps the reader understand the subject.
Even in fiction writing, great writers introduce the subject in the first sentence.
“If you really want to hear about it…” J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
“He was an old man who fished alone…” Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
“He was ten. But it had already begun…” William Faulkner, “The Bear”
Stick to the subject. On the Internet, people communicate in short sentences or sentence fragments. They send texts that are little bursts of content. To hold a reader’s attention, keep your content simple, direct, and to the point.
One principle of writing great email is to have one subject per email. People scan email looking for the point. If you are going to have multiple subjects in an email, state in the opening sentence that the email has multiple subjects and list those subjects in the opening sentence.
Use simple English. Simple words make your writing easy to read and understand. Winston Churchill won a Nobel Prize for literature. He was famous for his using basic English words.
Close with a summary of what you have written. Your closing gives meaning to what you have written. Reinforce what you want the reader to think or do.
You can write as effectively as anyone. Keep your writing simple. Stick to the subject. Help your readers know what you want them to understand or what you want them to do.
“The World’s Most Noble Headhunter!”