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Getting What You Want with Written Communication
by On November 19, 2008

To ensure the results you intend when you are communicating in writing, the key is to know your purpose from the very beginning of the process. Why are you writing? What is the point? What is the best way to get what you want? There are two things that come to my mind immediately.

First, it is essential that we actually know what we want. Both for us and what you want your reader to do. Too often we receive poor results from our efforts simply because we do not know what we want when we set out to write a letter or to write a request.

Without a clear target to shoot at or an end result in mind, it is difficult to lead others to see things your way and take action. Let us face it; writing is one of the most challenging mediums to communicate simply because we are not there to deliver the message. There is no body language or facial expressions, there is no vocal variety or inflections in our voice. The primary elements are all communication. We rely totally on the words and the tone that is created by the words we select. That is a challenge.

It is difficult for other people to know what we want when we do not know to start with. The other primary fact is that I find in getting what we want and getting good result is that we want to be able to clearly explain what we want people to do. Do you want them to write back, call you, meet with you, send you money? Some of the most beautifully crafted letters on the nicest stationary, they line the walls of my garbage can simply because they are vague with what I should do or they do not make it easy for me to do it.

Here are details to consider that will help you:

  • Spell out the details. Tell them exactly what, the numbers, the amounts, whatever that is.
  • Provide your phone numbers. This is key that people sometimes fail to do.  The write “Call me,” but there is no phone number.
  • Include a link to your website for emails
  • When requesting money sent to you, remember to provide your address with bold letters and who to make the check payable to. Include a postage paid return envelope (or at least an envelope with your name on it and your address.)
  • Use bullet points or a numbered list for instructions.

When you sit down to write, be clear in your mind what you are doing. If you are requesting something, know what that is, if you are providing additional information, you declare in simple style. If you are writing to complain then be clear about what you what them to do for you.

When you are clear about your purpose, other people are going to be clear as well and the likelihood of getting what you want goes up dramatically, at least as much of the standing over them in person.

Be Free!

Ken Budka

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