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The Key to Strategic Business Writing: The YOU Attitude

2 min read

What’s the difference between good business writing and strategic business writing? Both are clear, concise, and error free, right? Yes. So, one might assume that a strategically written message adds something else to the mix? Yes, again! But what might that be…? Stumped? Maybe an example will help.

Consider the following introductory paragraph targeting a prospect in the pharmaceutical industry

I would like to introduce you to Ariel, a company specializing in developing communication skills. Emotional intelligence has emerged as a critical skill in today’s business environment. Improved communication skills deliver measurable gains in productivity and engagement.

Clear? Check. Concise? Check. Error free? Check. Effective? Answering a question will help you decide:

If you were the reader, what would you do next?

  1. Keep reading?
  2. Smile and say, “how nice?”
  3. Hit DELETE at the speed of light and never look back?

Now, consider this revised introduction to that same prospect in the pharmaceutical industry

“We are committed to providing our clients answers that matter—through medicines and information.” Your website says it all. You have best-in-class and first-in-class pharmaceutical products, and a global team of dedicated employees to get the message out. How well-equipped are your professionals to communicate your solutions—and your unique value—clearly and effectively in their daily writing?

See the difference?

The first example is all about me, me, me. The second example is all about you, you, you. Wouldn’t you rather read something that is relevant to your world than be fed information about mine?

Strategic business writing drives action and wins sales

The average reader considers an email for just a few seconds before deciding whether to read, delete, or forward the message. If your reader isn’t compelled to finish your message, you have no hope of driving your desired action.

Adopt the YOU attitude—it works

  1. Think about your reader and the action you want him or her to take.
  2. Craft a strategic YOU-focused message to make it happen.


This blog was originally published on June 28, 2011 and was updated June 26, 2018 for accuracy.


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