The Bookworm Part XIII by Ben J. Pritchett
This issue I’m operating a bit of a handicap, I’m in the process of moving my home office to not just another home, but another City, so my book collection is sitting in 100 file boxes in my garage for the next few weeks. So, I’m going from memory rather than being able to grab my books to review physically.
My topic for the next raft of books is writing. Not just writing well but writing in a manner that is easy for your readers to read and understand. In the age of multiculturalism, we deal with many people who don’t speak English as a first language and we also deal with people who have varying levels of education.
What’s the best solution? For me, it has taken years to get to a point where I can comfortably write conversationally in my business correspondence, articles and books. Back in my college days we were told – in no uncertain terms – that we did not use contractions in business writing.
Then I met a couple of mentors who informed me that my writing was very stiff. They said to think of your writing as if you were talking to the person. If you really think about it, would you say “will not” or “won’t” in a conversation? How about “is not” vs “isn’t” … “I will” or “I’ll?” I tried to say that I didn’t use contractions when I spoke, but I lied! When I took the time listen; I was contracting my little heart out.
What’s a person to do? Learn to write like you speak and your writing will become more readable and you might even become a better speaker too. Writing well and speaking well are essential skills in the business world; becoming better at it will benefit any aspiring Six Figure Coach.
If you wish to improve your writing skills, start with the following selctions:
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
By Stephen King
This may seem like a strange book to recommend in an article about business writing, and I must admit that I’ve only read a couple of King’s books, but stick with me here. Few can argue with the extreme success that King has experienced in his long career, so he must know a bit about the art of writing. I will also admit that much of this book is a memior, but woven through his memoir are gems about writing habits.
You may be thinking: “But Ben, I’m a business coach, not a writer!” Probably very true. For the same reason I recommend you become a regular reader of quality business books to become a better coach, I think you’ll be a better coach if you become a better writer.
Writers have to learn how to research, how to organize their data, how to compile it and how to be persuasive in the process. Think you could use those skills to be a better coach? Absolutely. While you’re at it, maybe you’ll produce some great blog posts, website content, and magazine articles. Perhaps you’ll craft an awesome salesletter. *** GASP *** Maybe you’ll even write a book of your own.
Most marketing experts will tell you that having a book is the ultimate credibility builder. If you walk into a meeting with your book – maybe even your bestselling book – and your competitor walks in with a business card, who do you think has the most credibility? If you walk in with a well-written proposal and your competitor walks in with vague promises, who do you think has the edge?
Worst case scenario is that if you read this book you’ll have spent a few hours reading the memoirs of an interesting fellow who has enthralled millions of people around the World with more than 60 best-selling novels.
By William Zinsser
Alright, I admit it, neither King nor Zinsser were particularly creative in the naming of their books. However, this book has been on the market for about three decades and has sold more than one million copies. This is a big deal. Most books go out of print after that length of time and only a small percentage of one percent of them ever come close to selling that many copies.
Zinsser has written all sorts of things … newspaper articles, magazine articles, multiple books and this classic. This book isn’t Shakespeare, it is a well-written book on writing well. Appropriate, right?
It’s very well-organized into many useful chapters. While I’d recommend that you read the whole thing, you can jump to specific chapters on topics that you find most useful to you. As a matter of fact, this one is going back onto my re-read list for the not-too-distant future.
By Annette Simmons
While a book may be the ultimate credibility builder, the ultimate selling tool in your arsenal as a coach or business owner is your story! The ability to tell your story and tell it well is going to be linked directly to your ability to sell yourself and anything you may wish to promote.
There are a lot of books and articles out there on this topic today, this is one of the best that I’ve come across.
Whether you’re religious or not, you know about Jesus and his parables, whether you’ve read comics or gone to the movies in recent years, you know the background of superheroes, and you know what happened “in a galaxy far, far away …” Stories grab our attention, they draw us in, they influence us.
Think of all the great and inspirational people out there … now imagine them without their stories. What if you knew nothing about them, their history, their triumphs, their adversities, their childhoods, their lives … Without those elements they’d be strangers, they wouldn’t influence you, they wouldn’t inspire you. Stories build relationships and make us memorable.
Final thoughts …
Mastering the art of storytelling, along with the principles of good writing, you could become unstoppable in your quest to become a Six Figure Coach. They’re a one-two punch to garner attention and get remembered. They’re a part of your roadmap to success.
These books will get you started down the road to becoming a better writer, speaker and coach. Happy reading (and writing too).
About Ben Pritchett
Ben Pritchett started his first business at the age of 15, and began his own consulting practice in 1991. For over 25 years he has worked with clients in many industries including restaurants, direct sales, software development, tourism, dimension stone (granite quarrying and manufacturing), aviation, and optometry, just to name a few. Companies coached by Ben have nearly doubled and tripled their revenues in a single year.
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