Ease in Writing
Writing Tips from Full Circle Communications
May 2008
In This Issue
Writing a Darn Good Speech
Visibility Tactics
Attention, Authors!
Ease in Writing?

"Ease in writing" comes from a poem by Alexander Pope, the British poet:

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.

Note he (and I) didn't say "easy writing." But just like dance lessons can help get you around the floor with your partner more gracefully, the goal for this newsletter is to share a tip or two each month so you can improve how your organization communicates in writing.
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Writing a D.G.S. (Darn Good Speech) 
The audience is trickling in after a coffee break. Does the idea of stepping behind a microphone give you the willies?

Here are a few ideas to ease the pain--whether it's a speech for yourself or for someone else:
  • Consider audience and venue. Get as much information as you can beforehand about the interest and knowledge level of the audience and the setting for the speech. You may need to do some digging, especially if you are writing the speech for someone else. This information helps determine the right tone to connect with listeners.
  • Pick one big idea you want to get across. Write it out simply. Voilą! You have the thesis (main purpose) of your speech.
  • Take your big idea and start "populating" subsections. A version of what I do may work for you: Take a pad of paper and write out the subtopics that support your big idea. Leave space in between them, then start outlining some of the points you can make in each one. Leave the introduction and conclusion for last.
  • Write short. No one ever complained because a speech was shorter than expected. As a very general rule of thumb, 120 words equals 1 minute of speaking.
  • Read your drafts out loud. I am not talking about rehearsing your delivery, which is, of course, also critical. Focus on the words themselves. Do they flow when spoken? Any unexpected tongue-twisters or double entendres? Will it take longer to deliver than you expected?
Need to know more? For tips or more tailored help with speech delivery, check out two experts I have worked with: Ann Timmons or Don Rheem. For speech writing, Painter's Keys has a link to lots of quotations to get your juices flowing. Or e-mail with any questions.

How Come No One Knows About Us?

A common lament for organizations that want to raise their visibility to attract donors or customers, advocate for their issues, or otherwise meet a goal that a higher profile will help accomplish.

In his soon-to-be-published book with that title, Robb Deigh suggests helping reporters (and yourself) by ferreting out the compelling stories in your organization.

  1. Trends in the industry/field: With yours as an example
  2. Milestones: Anniversaries, other special events, or accomplishments to spotlight
  3. "First in a Series": The first in a series of reports or a new column means a reporter has to find good content for the second, etc. in the series
  4. Outside interests: Employees or volunteers with interesting hobbies, talents, or back stories that would make for good features
  5. Write a column or op-ed: Somewhere in your organization is a white paper or speech that you can cut to 800 words and submit as an Op-Ed or "expert" column to a trade publication or local business journal
The book How Come No One Knows About Us? will be out in June, but you can pre-order and save a few dollars now.
Attention, Authors!
Have you written a book or article? Do you have a communications-related blog or newsletter? I would love to share the information with others. Let me know what you have created!