Time Is Valuable! Get to the Point, Please!

Time is valuable! This demonstrates a writing technique from the multiple award-winning book "Write to Influence!" -- Place the Horse before the Cart

Time is valuable. Begin with most important data. Place the horse before the cart … a Word Sculpting Tool from the multiple award-winning book “Write to Influence!”

Time is valuable … and fleeting, as is your opportunity to capture the reader’s attention. Therefore, present the most critical information first.  This applies to NGOs soliciting a grant, a company bidding for a contract, and everything in between. Fail here and your message is likely to fail, too. Solution: my Word Sculpting Tool, “Lead with the Basics — Horse before the Cart.”

Authors often encumber readers with excessive text (aka, “the cart”) before reaching the main point (aka, “the horse”), suffocating the message and frustrating the reader. You’ve undoubtedly experienced this at the sentence, paragraph, and even document level.

Why do people write thus? Some think being direct is rude. Others use excessive, prefatory material to “set the stage,” justify the message, or establish their credibility. Result, readers flee before reaching the central thought.

This malady, however, is easily rectified! Simply ask, “Given only 90 seconds, what must I convey?” Sequence the data based on criticality to the reader, then follow with ancillary or background information.

Test your skills on this challenge, designed specifically for this newsletter. Can you find the horse?  (5 min to read and assess)

I prepared an additional challenge at the document level. (15 min to read and assess)