By Carla D. Bass, Colonel, USAF (Ret)
I’ve seen it … I’ve done it … throughout my thirty years active duty in the Air Force and several years thereafter in government. Powerful writing opens doors to promotion, fellowships, internships, scholarships, grants, career-broadening opportunities, competitive training, and so much more. In each case, influential writing is key to success. A well-crafted, hard-hitting, influential message often tips the scale in your favor.
On the flip side, you might be THE most qualified candidate—hands down—but if the competition is better at telling a story … you lose. I witnessed this as a squadron commander. Time and again, talented squadron members were passed over for quarterly and annual awards, not because they were underserving but because supervisors could not write compelling nomination packages.
This is equally relevant from an organizational perspective. Have you ever read a paragraph in a report, then read it again, and yet a third time … still unable to ascertain the author’s point? Of course, we all have! Wading through textual muck is time consuming, counterproductive, frustrating, and the bane of today’s business products.
Facing cuts in budget or staff? Need to obtain resources to expand a program? Preparing that critical annual report? Clear, concise writing is the lifeblood for private business, corporations, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies that:
- Rely on influential communication to grow business
- Employ a large staff, especially one geographically dispersed
- Deal with abstract ideas (e.g., analysis of social, economic, and political trends)
- Account to the public, to other institutions (e.g., Congress), and to history, and must explain and record their activities accordingly
- Face the possibility that an error caused by poor writing could be damaging either financially or to important national matters (Mortimer Goldstein, Disciplined Writing and Career Development, 1986)
These are the challenges. Your task is to WOW! the reader, leaving that individual nodding in agreement with your message, wanting to read more. In my guest blog article next month, I’ll share some tips from my new book, Write to Influence!, on how to make each word and every second of the reader’s time play to your advantage.
For more information or to schedule Carla for an interview or seminar, see www.carladbass.com.
Write to Influence! will be available for pre-sale on Amazon beginning in mid-Oct and will be published on 3 Jan 2017.