The Write Stuff
October 2011 Volume 7 Issue 10
Let’s Get Personal
I’m not going “Dr. Phil” on you. My focus this month is on writing with personalization in mind.
Unless you’re drafting a white paper or similar report, the items you write in a business context are likely done with the intent of convincing someone to take action, i.e., buy a product or service, support your opinion, or make an investment or donation. As a result, you must “grab” people with your verbiage, appealing to them on a personal level. Here are a few tips to help you do that:
- Refrain from using “one” to refer to a vague group of people; use “you” instead:
Impersonal: How can one make intelligent decisions about the future?
Personal: How can you make intelligent decisions about the future?
- Also use “you” instead of phrases like “our clients”:
Impersonal: We focus on helping our clients be more successful.
Personal: We focus on helping you be more successful.
- Craft every communication, even e-mails, to make readers feel like they alone are being addressed:
Impersonal: All of you are invited to our client appreciation party.
Personal: You’re invited to our client appreciation party.
You should see a common thread in the impersonal examples: there’s nothing “wrong” with them…but they leave a decidedly different impression than the personal examples. You’ll be more likely to generate the actions you desire if you communicate in a more personal way.
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