Archive for Business Writing

Why Do You Write?

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I received a post today from good friend, Robert Moulthrop, who writes short stories, plays and screenplays. He informed his readers that his short story “Friends in Need” has won Helen: A Literary Magazine’s inaugural short story competition. Congratulations, Robert!

Robert returned to his passion for creative writing after a long career in public relations. The title of his post is Five Reasons Why I Write.  I first met Robert many years ago when we both toiled in PR, and partnered for a while in a short-lived PR firm. Then we went our separate ways but stayed good friends. Read More→

How to Write a LinkedIn Invitation

I regularly receive invitations to join the network of other LinkedIn members.

Today I received this compelling invitation:

Good evening Jeannette, we are both members of NYEBN. I viewed your profile and based on your experience and expertise, I feel you would make a great connection. Please let me know if there is anything that I can help with.

Would you mind connecting?

All the best,
Al

I was intrigued and went into his profile and, indeed, our companies and services are highly complementary and he’s someone I’d like to know better, so I accepted his invitation. We both live in New York so I’ll be in touch to explore how our mutual interests might lead to collaborating on business or referrals to other people.

I am not a LION, or open networker on LinkedIn. Those are members who are open to connecting with anyone who extends an invitation. The original premise of LinkedIn was to connect with people you know, but that restriction loosened over time. So most members are agreeable to linking with people when it makes sense – and when the invitation is personalized.

How NOT to Write an Invitation

I don’t respond well – and most people don’t – to the default LinkedIn invitation:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

– Joe Blow

Many members delete these invitations because they are not personalized.  The canned invitation seems spamm-y and shows no interest in me as a fellow professional. Who says I want to join your network?

Give me a reason, like Al did. Notice that he offered to help me – and didn’t ask me for anything in return.

So, the next time you want to connect with someone new on LinkedIn, take the time to craft a personalized invitation. It’s only polite and will lead to better results and stronger connections.

Simplifying My Brand was So Easy – for Someone Else

[tweetmeme]It took a perfect stranger to simplify my brand.  I mean that’s what I do for a living:  help individuals and companies with their brands – the words they use in telling their stories.

I was at a networking event last evening, and took the opportunity to do a little tweaking of my message as I circulated among the guests when I first walked in.  I tried a few versions.  Here is one of my openings:  “Hi, I’m Jeannette Paladino.  I’m a business writer.  I help individuals and companies to sharpen their brands and shape the key messages they communicate to their target audiences.”  Then I proceeded to tell the little group gathered around the bar that my focus was on writing web copy and blogs, branding and employee communications. Read More→

More Powerful Business Writing Using Visual Images

Business writing can be awfully dull, especially when it’s a topic that is unfamiliar to the reader.  Haven’t your eyes ever glazed over when you’ve been trying to make sense of what something means?

That’s why imagery in the form of analogies and metaphors is so powerful in clarifying your intentions.  I decided to write about visual imagery after reading a story about the growth of China as a world power in the The New York Times a couple of days ago.

Analogies

An analogy explicitly compares two things that are seemingly different but actually have something in common.  The comparison starts with either “like” or “as.”

Take the analogy that got me started on this blog:  “China is like an adolescent who took too many steroids…it has suddenly become big, but it finds it hard to coordinate and control its body.  To the West, it can look like a monster.”  I don’t know about you, but I can just see this monster in contortions.  It’s out of control and that’s scary to the rest of the world.

That analogy is so much more powerful than if the speaker had said something like, “China is getting very large but it’s finding it difficult to manage its growth.”  Boring.

Have some fun filling in the blanks in these analogies:

President Obama is like a ­­­­­­______ pushing through health reform.

Comparing the Western world to the East is like comparing _______ to ________.

The cheerleaders are like ________when they try to energize people in the stands.

Metaphors

Unlike analogies, which compare two different things, metaphors say that something is something else.  Most often metaphors personify or de-personalize.  Using China again, “China stiff-armed us with trade barriers.”  China becomes a person and we see the powerful image of someone pushing us away.

Or, something can be de-personalized, as in “He was a beast tackling the quarterback.”  Here the human is transformed into the image of an animal.  How much more interesting than, “the defensive lineman got to the quarterback.”

Using a metaphor more akin to business, “The CEO was a bear beating the competition at its own game.”

Try filling the blanks in these metaphors:


Vice President Biden is a ______________ when he speaks.

He was a __________ piling the logs in the driveway.

She was a __________on the way to becoming head of the company.

Do you have some interesting analogies and metaphors you can share?