How to become a better writer and communicate effectively?
A question we answered in a one hour workshop with Best-selling author & future of work expert Jon Younger Ph.D. Jon is the best selling author of Agile Talent (Harvard, 2016), HR From the Outside In, and HR Transformation. He also took two startups public and was Senior VP of HR for a top US bank. He writes about the freelance revolution and the future of work.
Jon’s Principles of Writing
1. Find Your Area Of Focus
- Think about the things you are interested in writing about and are personally connected to.
- Think about areas & topics that there is not enough good information on.
2. Just Start Writing
- Write consistently and in the same place to establish routine & focus.
- The only way to overcome the fear of writing is to just start writing and get honest feedback from people you trust.
3. Understand Your Audience & Sub-Audiences
- You are not writing for yourself or your boss, you are writing for people to read it.
- There can be many sub-audiences within your main audience. Be compassionate towards all of them.
- When you know your audience, you can choose the best platform to publish your article on.
4. Choose Your Title Carefully
- The title must match the story and encompass the entirety of the article.
- Choose something that is compelling without being ridiculous.
- Always look for feedback from people you trust in refining the title.
5. Write the Middle of the Article First
Each section of your article has a specific purpose. Take it in chunks:
- Introduction: Capture your audience and compel them to continue reading
- Middle: Inform your audience and describe what you’ve done.
- Conclusion: Make your audience remember the article by reminding them and re-informing them about the purpose of the article.
6. Always Cut the Article Down in Length
- Be less loquacious and think about what you can get rid of while still maintaining the essence of the article.
- As a rule of thumb, your article should always be half as long as you think it should be
7. Jon’s Book Recommendations
- Map of Salt and Stars
- Read the 1st paragraph to give you an idea if what every 1st paragraph should sound like
- The Elements of Style
- Whether writing fiction or nonfiction this book is a must-read
Round it up with Pixar`s Storytelling Rules
Jon’s Favorite Rules:
- 2. Know your audience
- 3. Story & title need to fit
- 5. You can’t fall in love with words (be sparing and efficient)
- 8. Just finish the article
- 10. Pull apart the stories you write
- 11. Put your writing on paper
- 17. No work is ever wasted
Want more insights? Watch the full workshop