Last week I taught a writing workshop to teenagers who want to find and use their authentic voice in their writing.
I don’t typically work with writers but rather businesses who want to write better.
The distinction was clear when I started with these teens.
They were passionate and they understood themselves in ways my clients never do, at least in the beginning.
Needless to say, I was impressed. Very impressed.
What surprised me most though is that they understood the key element of authenticity without me having to teach it to them.
One of the key elements of authenticity is finding your voice and making the distinction of what it sounds like.
Where I find that people sometimes fail is the balance between making your content sparkle and sounding, well human.
Let’s get one thing clear, you’re not here to impress your audience.
You’re here to inspire them, to engage with them and above all, which is my number one goal, to provide value.
So here are three techniques to help you engage and energize your readers...
- Get Rid of the Corporate Mumbo Jumbo
Listen here, I don’t know how many times I’ve repeated this but here it is again…
Nobody wants to read that corporate mumbo jumbo.
Here’s an example of corporate Mumbo Jumbo
“We regret to inform you that due to circumstances beyond our control the event has been postponed until a later date.”
Naw… Scrap that now, please. Here’s a more human approach.
“I’m sorry but the event has been postponed, we’ll have full details soon.”
See that? Easy peasy.
My general rule of thumb to get rid of the corporate lingo is ask yourself this “would you use those words if you were directly talking to someone?”
If not, throw it away and start all over again.
Truth me when I tell you, your audience with thank you for it.
2. Be more Conversational
Have you ever had a friend that talks on and on and you can’t get a word in?
Like you could literally put down the phone and she wouldn't even know.
I think we all have one of those, it’s pretty annoying am I right?
Your writing should be a conversation between you and your reader that is more about them than about you.
One of the techniques I use often is to turn in back to them.
I do this by asking a question.
When you ask a question in the midst of your content it slows the reader down giving them the chance to pause and think, before continuing.
Questions also make the reader pay attention. Right?
Ha! See what I did there?
3. Feel the Rhythm
Does anyone remember watching the 90s classic movie “Cool Runnings?”
Based on the story of the Jamaican bobsled team that went to the Olympics this movie was essentially about rhythm.
and how these four men needed to find their rhythm together to win, among other themes of course.
Before their competitions they would say:
“Feel the rhythm
Feel the ride
Feel the power
It’s bobsled time..."
Then they would take off.
Rhythm led them as they flowed together and found their groove.
Such is the case in writing, everything must flow to the rhythm.
If you want to add a little bit of spark to your sentences, up your game and try shorter sentences.
It’s been proven that the use of shorter sentences, make reading easier and more appealing to the reader.
Good writers are always changing.
Inspiring your reader starts with understanding them.
Fears, loss, hesitations, issues, problems and secret wishes.
It’s your job to know these things and then know what direction you’ll take to address them.
You should understand when to be authoritative and when to be compassionate because it all matters.
Your approach must vary because that’s when the true magic happens.
That’s where you begin to engage and energize your audience with your words.
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What are some of the strategies you use to Engage and Energize Your Readers with your words?