Writing with Less Stress: Three Tips

In business, you are expected to write. The act of writing can be very stressful, especially if it involves spending hours on information that readers then ignore or misunderstand. Here are four ways to reduce the stress of writing:

Method 1. Don’t write, call. I happen to be a writing person; I stumble when I’m forced to talk spontaneously. You may very well be just the opposite–a person who shines when you talk. In any case, these days we spend way too much time writing to each other (or leaving voice mail) and not enough talking directly, when any miscommunication can be easily cleared up and our words have an immediate impact. Surprise someone: talk to them.

Method 2. Consider your readers. Remember that everyone’s first question is, “How does this affect me?” Let your readers know right away what is in it for them; then launch into the explanation. Once you explain the benefits of your product, service, or solution to readers, they are more likely continue reading.

Method 3. If you are asking a question, make sure there’s a question mark somewhere in your text. Otherwise, you are forcing readers to guess that you want answers. If you’re answering a question, make sure your answer comes first, before you offer details and caveats. For example, in the executive summary of a proposal, readers are interested first in the answers to their questions and then in learning how wonderful you and your solution are–not the other way around.

If you are frustrated by the results you get from your marketing collateral, proposals, letters, and emails, review them to decide whether you might be better off with a face-to-face meeting; whether you have given primacy to your customer’s interests; and whether you have clearly asked-and-answered.

Do you have tips for reducing stress in your business life? Join the discussion on LinkedIn at Let’s Talk Health Care or leave your comments here.

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post. However, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn and Let’s Talk Health Care.