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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Is this gibberish REALLY how to communicate? Hard to believe – and I have a suggestion

Do you feel successful? I don't.

Yes, I have moments of euphoria, usually after I’ve written something pretty good – but it’s not long before I decide I’m useless.

So I read about a seminar in “power talking” and “communication skills” with great interest - especially when it said that 80% of people fail at work because they don’t “relate well” to other people ...“a clear case of failed communication”.
Well, the seminar was cheap, the course leader is practically a genius – “multi skilled as an Occupational Psychologist, Executive Mentor, Presenter and Counsellor” - and the subject is highly relevant.

But the copy put me off. As far as I or anyone else who cares for the English language might be concerned it was indeed a case of failed communication. It had more clichés and jargon in it than a politician’s speech.

I was promised “user-friendly, high-level skills” and “solution-focused communication techniques”. There was obsessive use of expressions based on the word “impact” – “impacts on”, “impactful”, “high-impact” and “positive impact”. And naturally that shop-soiled word "engage" popped up (why not "intrigue" or "interest"?)

If that's how people who teach communication write, it explains a lot of the mindless tripe we all have to plough though - in documents, on the internet, in meetings: everywhere.

Every day you are trying to get colleagues, bosses, customers – maybe family – to do what you want. Whether you like it or not, life is one long sales pitch – and most of that selling is done in writing.

So how do you avoid boring the hell out of people? How do you write well? It really matters, as two old colleagues, Ken Roman and Joel Raphaelson, revealed in their splendid book “Writing that Works”.

It seems that when the Chief Executives of top U.S. firms were asked what they would most like to change in business, the majority pleaded: “Can someone please teach people to write better?”

Now if you’re wondering where all this has been leading, let me ask you a question.

Would you or your colleagues be interested in three short webinars on how to write better? I have been teaching this for nearly 30 years, and my normal rate is £5,000 per day. But if enough of you are interested I will do them for £39 each.

In my time I’ve written books, scripts, articles, ads, brochures, presentations, speeches, emails, editorials – you name it – and got paid for them all. I’ll tell you what I’ve learned.

The last time I did a seminar on this subject it was for the world's largest conference organisers. People said the were "inspired". I can't guarantee such giddy heights of joy, but I think you'll find it worth it.

Can you take a second to email me and say if this interests you? Just write saying yes or no to Drayton@draytonbird.com.


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