Hey non-writer! I see you. Hiding behind your retweets and regrams. Sweating over your social media updates. Rushing out emails quick smart, with nary a re-read in sight.
I see you. I know you don’t like writing. Because you don’t like being misunderstood. You don’t like the endless to-and-fro that un-re-read emails inspire.
You prefer to be direct. You prefer to pick up the phone or meet face-to-face. You feel there’s some things that need to be spoken to be truly expressed. You want conclusions. And clarity.
I get it. I hear you. I feel your frustration.
But you still need to write, especially when in business. Writing in business is important – for far more than just marketing.
Communication is never easy – especially in business
Communication is never going to be easy.No matter how persuasive your prose. No matter how perfectly you phrase something. No matter how well rounded, nuanced, researched and thoughtful.
Some people won’t get it. Some won’t like it. And some will ignore it because it’s completely irrelevant to them. And that’s okay. We’re not evangelists, wilfully sailing forth to campaign the hearts and minds of foreign people in far-flung continents.
When writing for business, we’re seeking prospects who are struggling with a particular problem – the very problem our business solves. We are seeking to meet them on their customer journey – whether they’re barely articulate about what they’re struggling with and what they’re looking for – all the way through to knowing, liking and trusting us, but still having concerns or questions about our business services.
We’re attempting – sometimes clumsily sometimes with deftness – to demonstrate our expertise, experience, philosophy and style. Sometimes we hit the mark. Sometimes we try again. But we must try.
Your ability to talk to prospects is the same skill required to write for prospects. But the difference is huge: because your writing is scalable, permanent, easily shared and able to be referenced. The risks – of being misunderstood, of being disliked or disagreed with – are the same whether you’re talking or writing. But writing takes your impact far further.
Write to understand
We don’t write in business only to be understood by clients, prospects, colleagues and other stakeholders. We write to understand.
The practice of emptying thoughts onto paper enables us to order these coherently, explore the complexities and nuances of a particular perspective or approach, and understand how to order our message, so that each piece works in a particular sequence that builds up to a complete argument.
We write to explore the many topics that relate to our industry and specialty – topics which are conversations that our clients and prospects are having right now. We write to define the points of difference between how things are done, and why. We write to give history and context to how things arise. And we write to predict the future, in order to minimise risk for our clients and for ourselves.
Write to change reality
When you write things down – from something as humble as a to do list, to a marketing or business plan – your intent changes and things start to happen. We write to change our reality because the process of articulating something brings it into reality.
You can’t change your reality by keeping your thoughts confined to your head or heart. The process of articulation brings change, beginning with a description of what needs to happen.
When you want to change business direction, start writing about your new services, your new target market or your new processes.
When you want to be known as a thought leader, write regularly about your opinions, your insight, your ideas.
When you want to change your day-to-day reality of work or your business model, start writing about why your new structure, your new process or your new terms and conditions will benefit clients.
Clarity comes through iteration
One of the biggest misconceptions I see in business people is the belief that clarity is a permanent state – and a state that must be reached before action happens. I hear many dozens of versions of: “I’m still unclear about what my services will look like”, “I need to get clear before I start blogging”, “I’m not clear on my social media strategy yet – I have to sort that out first.”
Sometimes, this is true. A minimum level of clarity is required to take effective action. But too often the state of being unclear become permanent because what the person is seeking is impossible.
They are waiting for the proverbial lightening bolt to strike. They are expecting to experience an ecstatic state where angels sing and ease and flow are assured forever after.
What clarity is experienced isn’t trusted because it’s not put into action, or it’s not dramatic, or it changes.
My approach is different. I teach, coach and practice clarity through action – it is an ongoing practice and process that requires you to put forth your writing, your blogs, your new service offerings, new processes and business model for the world to engage with. It’s the iteration that brings clarity – each attempt a little better than the last.
When you’re waiting for clarity to strike, you’re absolving yourself of responsibility. You believe clarity comes externally, with little effort required from you. You can successfully avoid the threat of humiliation, ridicule, failure. You are simply waiting.
Don’t wait too long or you could be waiting forever. Don’t confuse talking with taking action. Before you can step on a stage, publish a book, win a massive contract or work with your most-coveted client, you need to write. Because this plants the seed of action and creates something new.
Are you ready to start writing for business?
Join me at a Blogging for Business course, in cities across Australia.