3 Tips for Influencing by Writing
Ethan Lin is the founder of www.leadershipgeeks.com and www.personality-central.com. He has a passion to empower and develop people. Professionally, he is a corporate trainer focusing on sales training, leadership development and team building with his company Personality Central.
In a digital world, good writing skills can be a powerful tool. With a globalized workforce, you don’t always get to meet your staff and motivate them face-to-face. These situations is where good writing plays an important role.
Good leadership can happen through writing too because writing can influence and drive people to action. Whether by email, SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other online channel, your written words can make a tremendous difference. Good leaders need to be good writers.
So many well-meaning leaders write without realizing the power of their written word. Sometimes their emails come out too harsh or too vague, and their followers get the message misinterpreted.
A leader cannot get this wrong. Their messages must be clear – Not just the message but the intention behind the message must get through to the recipients.
Here are three important tips to influence others effectively through writing:
When writing, use straightforward and simple language. Avoid fluffy or bombastic vocabulary that may confuse people. As a rule, use language that any 12-year-old can understand. You can go to https://readability-score.com/ to do a quick check of your document or email.
After you have written your message, see if you can cut down your words to as few as possible while still getting the essence of your message as possible. The fewer words you use, the more likely your recipients will get the message you intended.
Sandwich Negative Feedback.
It is not a good idea to send negative feedback via email. Trust me, I’ve done it before. When the negative stuff gets on black and white, it is stored forever on someone’s computer or the organization’s email server.
Imagine an employee reading about your negative feedback one year after an incident. They’re going to trigger negative emotions for no reason at all! Do yourself a favor, immortalize the good stuff by writing it down, but keep the bad stuff verbal so that it will be eventually forgotten.
If, however, there is no choice, and then it is always better to sandwich your negative feedback. Start off with some praise or positive feedback. Put the ‘meat’ of negative feedback before ending off with some positive words.
Give a Clear Call to Action.
What is the intended reaction to your message? Do you want your followers to do something? Make it as clear as day. Spell it out – twice if necessary.
If you hide your call to action somewhere in the midst of a long message, you’ll find mixed reactions. Some will ‘catch’ you while others are lost about what they should do.
So, make it clear from the start, and reiterate at the end what you intend for the written message to accomplish.
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