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Persuasive Business Writing


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Deck from Larry Asher's one-day workshop at SVC, Persuasive Business Writing.

Deck from Larry Asher's one-day workshop at SVC, Persuasive Business Writing.

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  • 1. Welcome toPersuasive Business Writing
  • 2. Who to blame:Larry Asher
  • 3. And you are?
  • 4. What’s your problem?
  • 5. Where we’re heading today.1. Why bother?2. How do you persuade?3. Accuracy counts4. What’s good writing?5. Grammar, sorry6. Practice makes perfect7. Tearful goodbye
  • 6. Who cares about good writing?
  • 7. Who cares about good writing?
  • 8. Good writing makes you comeoff as the smart one.
  • 9. My man-crush
  • 10. My man-crush
  • 11. Writing is thinking on paper.My man-crush
  • 12. The thinking part of writing
  • 13. Thinking1. Get what you want to say down to one sentence.
  • 14. You should (verb) (subject) because (single compelling reason).
  • 15. You should take classes at SVC because you’ll learn from top working pros.
  • 16. Thinking2. Organize according to WIFM(Watch out for we-us-our)
  • 17. Thinking3. Start with the general, the move to the specific
  • 18. Thinking4. Be logical
  • 19. ThinkingLet’s try it.
  • 20. ThinkingFirst, finish this strategy statement:We should acquire an iPad for mywork because (compelling reason).
  • 21. ThinkingSecond, write a brief outline for amedium-length email to your boss onthis topic
  • 22. Most writing is to persuade
  • 23. 1. ReciprocityIf you do what I’m asking, I’ll repay youwith something of value.
  • 24. 2. ConsistencyWhat I’m asking you to do is consistentwith what I know you believe.
  • 25. 3. AuthorityExperts and figures of power agreethat you should do what I’m asking.
  • 26. 4. ConsensusAlmost everyone in the same situationas you is doing what I’m asking.
  • 27. 5. ScarcityYou should do what I’m asking,because this opportunity will go away.
  • 28. 6. LikingYou like me, don’t you? Well, thenplease do what I’m asking.
  • 30. ThinkingNow, go back to your outline and writethat email to your boss, persuadinghim or her to get you that iPad.
  • 31. Accuracy countsIt says you’re smart and conscientious
  • 32. The writing part of writing
  • 33. My man-crush
  • 34. 1. ClarityIs the argument clear and logical?
  • 35. 2. SimplicityIs the language down to earth?Does it avoid cliches and jargon?
  • 36. The news from France is bad.
  • 37. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
  • 38. Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.
  • 39. I’m the master of low expectations.
  • 40. Text
  • 41. Warren Buffett Bill Gates, Jr. Ludacris
  • 42.
  • 43. True independence – meaning the willingness to challenge a forceful CEO when something iswrong or foolish – is an enormously valuable trait in a director. It is also rare. The place tolook for it is among high-grade people whose interests are in line with those of rank-and-fileshareholders – and are in line in a very big way.We’ve made that search at Berkshire. We now have eleven directors and each of them,combined with members of their families, owns more than $4 million of Berkshire stock.Moreover, all have held major stakes in Berkshire for many years. In the case of six of theeleven, family ownership amounts to at least hundreds of millions and dates back at least threedecades. All eleven directors purchased their holdings in the market just as you did; we’venever passed out options or restricted shares. Charlie and I love such honest-to-Godownership. After all, who ever washes a rental car?In addition, director fees at Berkshire are nominal (as my son, Howard, periodically remindsme). Thus, the upside from Berkshire for all eleven is proportionately the same as the upsidefor any Berkshire shareholder. And it always will be.The primary job of our directors is to select my successor, either upon my death or disability,or when I begin to lose my marbles. (David Ogilvy had it right when he said: “Develop youreccentricities when young. That way, when you get older, people won’t think you are goinggaga.” Charlie’s family and mine feel that we overreacted to David’s advice.)
  • 44. 3. BrevityCan you cut the length by at least one-third without losing the meaning?
  • 45. signifi cant proprietary tools and research, etc.—yet we remain start-up nimble.17. How do you think most of your clients would describe your agency’s working style? We’re forward-leaning, flexible, forthright, and client-driven. • Forward-leaning. You will always fi nd us as the edge of our seats, proactively leading our clients’ business. • Flexible. We’re remarkably agile. • Forthright. We know our clients are extremely busy people. It’s our job to make their lives easier, and that can only happen with an honest, open partnership where we respect each other’s opinions. • Client-driven. If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.18. What things do you feel you do especially well compared to other agencies? As noted in question 1 6, we believe we offer better integrated ideas compared to other agencies because we are the only agency in the area with such a wide breadth of in-house capabilities. But integration in and of itself is nothing without creativity. The marriage of the two is what we are most known for—transferable ideas that transcend any one media application.19. Does your agency’s staff have specific experience that would be relevant to Swedish and the health care field? As noted, our experience in the health care fi eld runs deep. In addition to the robust relevant current client experience noted in question 1 5, senior management (account supervisor level and up) at DDB has worked on the following health care accounts: American Cancer Association American Heart Association American Lung Association American Medical Association Blue Cross/Blue Shield Children’s Hospital
  • 46. 4. HumanityIs your writing authentic and does ittouch an emotion?
  • 47. Dear Washington State Democrat,As much as I hate to interfere in the election of another state (other than Florida), I feel that I must write inorder to urge you to support Mark Sidran for Washington State Attorney General.I have known Mark since I was accidentally admitted to Harvard in the late 1960’s. Mark, who got in on meritand merit alone, was a classmate of mine, and has made something of himself.As you may know, he has spent the last 28 years as a prosecutor, Seattle City Attorney, and as a practicinglawyer. Mark’s experience is what I like to call one of his three E’s. The other two E’s are integrity and energy.Wait. Scrap integrity. Although Mark has it in spades, it does not start with an “E.” I remember learning that atHarvard. But I digress. Let’s get back to his experience.As City Attorney, Mark took on some of the most egregious corporate polluters in Puget Sound. I could namenames, but I may be planning to run for public office in Minnesota someday, and why burn a bridge?As Attorney General, Mark will continue his fight on behalf of citizens by doubling the size of the state’sconsumer protection division. Tired of finding out your senior citizen mother has been ripped off by scamartists? Besides telling your mom to be more alert, you can take action by electing Mark.Oh, now I remember the other two “e’s”. Endorsements and Electability. Besides me, Mark has beenendorsed by every single Democratic county prosecutor in the state. These are people, who unlike me,actually know what the Attorney General does. Bill Gates Sr., former president of the Washington State Barand father of someone who I’d like to get to know better when I get ready to run for office, has endorsed Markas well. So have civil rights leaders like Norm and Constance Rice. Others include environmentalists, led byWashington Conservation Voters, the State’s largest environmental political group, and a long list of electedofficials such as Governor Gary Locke, Congressman Norm Dicks, former Governor Booth Gardner, manycivic leaders and leading lawyers. Governor Locke, I have learned, is the only Asian American state governorto make an endorsement in this race. That alone says it all.
  • 48. I could go on and on with the endorsements. But frankly, no one cares about endorsements. Let’s move on towhat really matters to Democrats – electability. Republicans don’t want Mark to be the Democratic nomineebecause they know he will be the most difficult candidate to beat in a statewide race that isn’t fixed by the useof paperless machines. This is the first time in 12 years that the Attorney General’s seat has been open andthe Republican Party and their special interests are salivating at the chance of putting one of their lackeys inone of the most powerful jobs in your state. Mark is a common sense Democrat with a proven track recordand the clear ability to win in November or whenever the Department of Homeland Security allows us to vote.George W. Bush does not want Mark Sidran to be your next Attorney General. Neither does Deborah Senn,who did not go to college with me.In conclusion, give your vote, and if possible, your check to Mark Sidran. And if you really want to see more ofthose endorsements, check out the partial list below or visit Mark’s website, Asyou can tell from the “4,” this is one hip campaign.Sincerely,Al Franken
  • 49. How are we doing?1. Why bother?2. How do you persuade?3. Accuracy counts4. What’s good writing?5. Grammar, sorry6. Practice makes perfect7. Tearful goodbye
  • 50. Time for you to writeWrite a brief memo/email to thepeople you work with suggestingwhy it’s important for them to be ontime for meetings and appointments.
  • 51. The joy of good grammar
  • 52. Commas separate adjectives and verbs that each act singly. It was a fascinating, fast-paced day.
  • 53. Commas separate adjectives and verbs that each act singly. It was a dreary Seattle day.
  • 54. Commas separate adjectives and verbs that each act singly. The panda eats shoots and leaves.
  • 55. Commas separate adjectives and verbs that each act singly. The panda eats, shoots, and leaves.
  • 56. Commas separate independent clauses joined by a conjunction.The lecture was good, but the instructor rambled a bit.
  • 57. Commas set off a long, introductory clause from the rest of the sentence.After reviewing your proposal in greatdetail, we have decided that hiring you would be a big mistake.
  • 58. Colons are used before a list, a formalquotation, in the salutation of a business letter, or to separate clauses when the second explains the first. Dear Mr. Asher: As Ben Franklin wrote: “Early to bed.” I think I grasp his meaning: Life can be exhausting.
  • 59. Hyphenate two words to form anadjective if they precede a noun. long-range goals state-of-the-art equipment first-class customer service
  • 60. Don’t hyphenate an -ly suffixed word.The early-morning schedule seemed quite manageable.
  • 61. Don’t hyphenate an -ly suffixed word. It was a mercifully-short class.
  • 62. Put commas inside quotation marks. Bob said, “Please don’t fire me,” when Iconfronted him about stealing the pencil.
  • 63. Use ellipses and exclamation marks very sparingly.The best thing that ever happened to ourcompany...that was when we went broke!
  • 64. Use ellipses and exclamation marks very sparingly.The best thing that ever happened to our company was when we went broke.
  • 65. Watch for subject and verb disagreement.The length of my lectures vary.
  • 66. Watch for subject and verb disagreement.The length of my lectures varies.
  • 67. Watch for subject and verb disagreement.Each of them know the correct answer.
  • 68. Watch for subject and verb disagreement.Each of them knows the correct answer.
  • 69. Watch for misplaced modifiers.I want new computers for my assistants, preferably ones with more memory.
  • 70. Watch for misplaced modifiers.I want new computers, preferably ones with more memory, for my assistants.
  • 71. Use pronouns correctly.Mom took the picture of he and I.
  • 72. Use pronouns correctly.Mom took the picture of him and me.
  • 73. Be alert to common misspellings and incorrect usage. affect vs. effect compliment vs. complement its vs. it’s less vs. fewer principal vs. principle their vs. there vs. they’re who’s vs. whose
  • 74. When using an abbreviation, explain after the first usage.We’re not certain if the CPM (cost per thousand) of this direct mail list is correct.
  • 75. Use your spell-checker, but watch out for homonyms it won’t catch.We couldn’t figure out why they’re was a big black spot on it’s back.
  • 76. A very few thoughts about style.
  • 77. Avoid the passive voice.John recommended the budget cuts.
  • 78. Avoid the passive voice.A mistake has been made.
  • 79. Avoid long and run-on sentences.
  • 80. Avoid long and run-on sentences. In the event that the Purchaser defaults in the payment of any instalment of purchase price, taxes, insurance, interest, or the annual charge described elsewhere herein, or shall default in the performance of any other obligations set forth in this Contract, the Seller may: at his option: (a) Declare immediately due and payable the entire unpaid balance of purchase price, with accrued interest, taxes, and annual charge, and demand full payment thereof, and enforce conveyance of the land by termination of the contract or according to the terms hereof, in which case the Purchaser shall also be liable to the Seller for reasonable attorneys fees for services rendered by any attorney on behalf of the Seller, or (b) sell said land and premises or any part thereof at public auction, in such manner, at such time and place, upon such terms and conditions, and upon such public notice as the Seller may deem best for the interest of all concerned, consisting of advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or city in which the security property is located at least once a week for Three (3) successive weeks or for such period as applicable law may require and, in case of default of any purchaser, to re-sell with such postponement of sale or resale and upon such public notice thereof as the Seller may determine, and upon compliance by the Purchaser with the terms of sale, and upon judicial approval as may be required by law, convey said land and premises in fee simple to and at the cost of the Purchaser, who shall not be liable to see to the application of the purchase money; and from the proceeds of the sale: First to pay all proper costs and charges, including but not limited to court costs, advertising expenses, auctioneers allowance, the expenses, if any required to correct any irregularity in the title, premium for Sellers bond, auditors fee, attorneys fee, and all other expenses of sale occurred in and about the protection and execution of this contract, and all moneys advanced for taxes, assessments, insurance, and with interest thereon as provided herein, and all taxes due upon said land and premises at time of sale, and to retain as compensation a commission of five percent (5%) on the amount of said sale or sales; SECOND, to pay the whole amount then remaining unpaid of the principal of said contract, and interest thereon to date of payment, whether the same shall be due or not, it being understood and agreed that upon such sale before maturity of the contract the balance thereof shall be immediately due and payable; THIRD, to pay liens of record against the security property according to their priority of lien and to the extent that funds remaining in the hands of the Seller are available; and LAST, to pay the remainder of said proceeds, if any, to the vendor, his heirs, personals representatives, successors or assigns upon the delivery and surrender to the vendee of possession of the land and premises, less costs and excess of obtaining possession.
  • 81. Always, always edit.> Read it aloud> Hand to a friend> Hire a pro
  • 82. Let’s practice.Correct the errors in this announcement.
  • 83. Taxpayers in the greater Seattle Tacoma area of Washington State have a new sourcefor premium tax preparation services. "Many tax preparation services focus only onreporting last years tax data. ABC Tax Service offers much more." said Barney Fife,Owner of ABC Tax Service. "We endeavor to educate every client and provide themwith resources to take advantage of the myriad of tax saving opportunities available toseniors and those saving for retirement." "Each client is treated like theyre are most important client!" said Fife. The customerexperience at ABC Tax Service is like no other. Clients are greeted by a comfortableprofessional and private office. A personal accountant then meets with each client andprepares them a tentative tax return using the information provided. The client is theninvited back in a week to review and file there final return. "The additional weekprovides us time to perform proper research and make sure all tax savings strategiesare explored." Fife adds. Mr. Fife then personally delivers the tax return and presents educational options forclients in either printed format or an invitation to a one on one planning meeting."At $49 for people 50+ and $149 for those under age 50, ABC Tax Service is providingexcellent value at very low price". explains Mr. Fife. "We believe that in these economictimes, companies like ours should step up and offer the best value and service to helppeople reach toward a fruitful and relaxing retirement!"
  • 84. Some random thoughts on email.> Clear, compelling subject lines (try Tweeting)> One topic per email> Make “how to respond” clear> Consider the pass-along reader> Write, proof, wait, then send
  • 85. Some random thoughts on PowerPoint.> Speak with power, have a point> Keep slides simpler than this> Don’t read> It’s not a handout> Use presenter tools
  • 86. reallybad-1.pdf
  • 87. Where to get help.Get a grammar buddy.
  • 88. Where to get help.Hire a professional editor.
  • 89. Where to get help.Read about writing.
  • 90.
  • 91. My man-crush
  • 92.
  • 93.
  • 94.
  • 95. How are we doing?1. Why bother?2. How do you persuade?3. Accuracy counts4. What’s good writing?5. Grammar, sorry6. Practice makes perfect7. Tearful goodbye
  • 96. How you can practice. Write a blog. Start Tweeting.Answer LinkedIn questions. Thank one person a week. Ask an expert.Send me a before and after.
  • 97. How are we doing?1. Why bother?2. How do you persuade?3. Accuracy counts4. What’s good writing?5. Grammar, sorry6. Practice makes perfect7. Tearful goodbye
  • 98. Thanks so much for @larry_asher