The Simple Sentence To Remember When You’re Writing Anything At All

12th January, 2018

The Simple Sentence To Remember When You’re Writing Anything At All

Hmmm, how do I imagine you right now?


Sitting back in your executive chair with a mug of steaming coffee, feet on desk, having held all your calls, email and meetings for at least an hour until you have fully consumed and digested all my words of wisdom?  Maybe you’ve slipped into your onesie and slippers for the full Zen experience?


God no.


If I’m lucky, you’re reading this on your phone on the train to work, with only your neighbour’s body odour to distract you.


But more likely you’re at your desk flitting between this article, 200 unread emails and 5 other jobs including your tax return, annual appraisal document and a YouTube video on ‘How To Get A Six-Pack Without Doing Any Exercise’ (ok, maybe that last one’s just me).


You’ll probably be skim reading, with just a few minutes (or seconds) to spare.


That’s how I imagine you.


Why?  Because I know that you’re just like me.  Busy.


And you want value, fast, just like me.


So that’s why I try to make my articles to the point, entertaining and above all USEFUL.  I may not always succeed, but I always try.


  • But I see so many businesses that have forgotten that their readers are busy people.  Because they do things like:
  • Starting sales emails with just-kill-me-now snorefests like: ‘Allow me to introduce my business.  Founded in 2006, we are the leading providers of [insert industry] solutions…’
  • Treating their website like an information dumping ground with no way for their clients to find what they want quickly or easily
  • Beginning sales meetings with a turgid 30 slide deck that is literary Temazepam


Such. A. Turn. Off.


The Simple Sentence To Remember When You’re Writing Anything At All


Drum roll, please….


No-one has to read a single word you write.


Gulp.  They really don’t.


Not your colleagues.  Not your clients, prospects or employees.  Not even your children, partner or parents.  No-one.


It’s not like when we were kids and our parents cooed over our first scribbles.  Or when we were at school or university and teachers and professors were paid to read our essays, however bad they were.


No.  Today you’ve got to work so much harder if you want anyone to read what you’re writing. You have to try to make your writing engaging.  Relevant.  Funny. Smart.  Accessible.  Interesting.  Concise.


And you can’t be verbose.  Boring.  Unoriginal.  Dry.  Irrelevant.


So now I’ve held your attention to the end of this article, you know I’m right, don’t you?  So the next time you sit down to write something, don’t assume anyone’s going to read it.   Because everyone’s busy, just like you.


University of Cambridge


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