by Dee Dukehart (used with permission)
Spring’s the time for planting, nourishing and growing, and not just plants and vegetables.
When you present your ideas, knowledge, directions, or how to’s, plant your points into the readers’ minds with word pictures, and continue to nourish the points along the way. When you want to grow their learning, their future, and their well-being, use action verbs and descriptive information.
Describe your points with action verbs: verbs you can “see”: e.g., produce, generate, write, sell, achieve, deliver, etc. When possible, rid your spoken and written words of auxiliary verbs: e.g., is, was, has, had, have, etc. Use a strong, action verb in their place if you can.
- We had an increase in sales last quarter. OR Our sales increased by 14 percent last quarter.
- It was a great day for our team. OR We signed three new contracts today!
Which one gets you to “see” the action? Of course the second sentence.
How to Plant Word Pictures
Meetings get bogged down in minutia: a “quick” meeting can sometimes lag into hours. Make your meetings and presentations memorable with points that are worthy of everyone’s time. What seeds of information are you cultivating for them to reap personal and professional benefits?
What do you remember from last week’s meetings? What do you remember from a sales call? What do you remember from any training? When you want listeners to remember your points, plant word pictures in their minds.
How? Rid your writing of vague expressions such as these:
What pictures do you conjure up in your mind when you read those words? Can you “see” the concept of better? Understand? Soon? No. Information needs to show “color” like your garden, so nourish and feed it so you can “see” the knowledge blossom.
Consider These Variations
1) Instead of “better” use a statistic. “Your production escalates by x percent within a year when you use these tools.”
2) Your sales numbers were “satisfactory.” Instead: “Your sales numbers exceeded our goal by 65 widgets; let’s get to 100 by fourth quarter.”
3) “Understand?” Everyone understands differently. Instead: “You will recognize/identify your new time management skills by the extra hour in your day.”
4) “Improves.” By how much? By how many? By when? Instead: “Accomplish your goals in six fewer steps with this process.”
5) “Soon.” What date? What time? What quarter? Instead: “Get your initial draft to me by the end of the week. We expect to see our new product on the shelves in 45 days.”
Strive to plant a picture in your readers’ minds, then nourish your points with review and repetition. Your ideas, knowledge, products or services, and how-to’s will grow more fruit.
Here’s to your great harvest seasons of information.
Dee Dukehart is a marketing communications trainer who can be reached at 303-549-0045 or Dee@DeeDukehart.com