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Preparation key to a clear message

WHEN managers speak, their words, though possibly not forgotten, will disappear into the ether, leaving no permanent record to praise or condemn them. However, when managers commit their thoughts to print, their competence may be on permanent display. For that reason alone it is important that a manager develops skill in written communication. Preparation • Why am I writing? What do I want to achieve by writing? • What actions do I want to occur as a result of writing? • What facts do I want to convey? • What opinions do I want to convey? • How much does the reader know about the topic? • How will I get their attention in the first paragraph and create a desire to read on? • Why is it important that they read my document? Getting started On a blank sheet of paper, describe the topic in two to three words. Using the brainstorming technique, write down any thoughts that come to your mind. Write a few key words only that relate to the thought. Write randomly and quickly. Suspend judgment. Just try to write down all your thoughts as fast as you can. Anything goes. Go for quantity. Now go through each item on your list and delete those that are not relevant to your topic or to your purpose. Now look at the remaining items and put them into a logical sequence. What is the first thing you want to write? Write the number ‘1’ alongside that item. Now what’s the obvious thing to write next? Write the number ‘2’ alongside that item, etc. Each item becomes the topic of each paragraph. Now you have the structure for your communication with a logical sequence of thoughts. Check • Does each paragraph lead on to the next? • Have I clearly stated what needs to happen in the last paragraph? • Have I clearly stated what I will do? • Have I clearly stated what I would like the reader to do? • Have I used sub-headings and highlights? Eight rules 1.Decide what to say. 2.Put it in sequence. 3.A paragraph for each step. 4.Immediately identify the subject. 5.End by pointing the way ahead. 6.Use short simple sentences. 7.Use punctuation to help understanding. 8.Use short words. From the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow Volumes 1, 2 & 3 (McGraw Hill) www.bobsbooks.com.au by Perth-based management consultant, Daniel Kehoe, creator of: The Super Thinker ® Business Improvement Tools. “The concept is brilliant”. See why at www.superthinker.com 08 9477 1135 Contact dk@superthinker.com for a free sample from the books.

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