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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Facebook Updates Can Teach You about Business Writing

Occasionally I encounter a business person who writes like a long-winded person speaks:  many words that stretch out into a long spate of time.

It feels real long in real time.

When you are reading lots of words that exist in real time, too, you have an advantage over a person who is politely listening.  The polite person keeps listening.  The in-a-hurry reader who needs to be several places at once and whose attention is split in that many directions and will simply stop reading long prose.

For that reason I think that Facebook and Text messaging have been good for business writers.  You will not see better or easier-to-read big ideas telegraphed so swiftly and in some ways more entertainingly.

That's what business writing is supposed to do:  telegraph big ideas fast to people for whom time is money--and fleeting.

More and more, I pay attention to really good writers on Facebook and other social media sites who have a real knack for condensing a story that needs to be told. 

The effectiveness of these headline/updates often works because of the writer's ability to understand who the reader is--and trust that reader.

You don't hear much about that trust of readers in a business writing class, but the dynamic exists.  Central to successfully communicating a lesson is the ability to know that the reader will fill in the gaps you leave by writing with brevity and clarity.

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