Please think before you speak, and certainly before you write something, says global leadership expert, author and businesswoman Mindy Gibbins-Klein
Please think before you speak, and certainly before you write something. You may have noticed many people seem to post content without putting enough – or any! – thought into it.
If you’re like me, the person doing the posting loses credibility in your eyes and that is such
a shame if they had an important message to share. Wouldn’t it be great if you could
improve the quality of your writing and the impact at the same time? You can, but it requires
an extra investment of time and a decision to be thoughtful.
“Now in a disconnected, lonely digital world, we all need to feel affection and to feel relevant to others.”
PLEASE is an acronym I use when I am planning content, to make sure I am not just putting
any old thing out there and adding to the noise. I thought everyone did this or something
similar, but I have discovered that hardly anyone employs any real rigour in planning
content. So, I’ll share my model with you, and I hope it helps you be more intentional with
P = Personal (Have I made it as personal as I can for the context?) As Penny Power OBE
has pointed out, Business is Personal. In her book that goes by the same name, she shares
incredibly raw stories of life as an entrepreneur. Treating people in business with love has
always been her mantra, and it has worked. She says, “Now in a disconnected, lonely digital
world, we all need to feel affection and to feel relevant to others.”
L = Less is More (Have I got the entire message across, without any excess?) Here’s
where short-form communication comes into its own. When you are forced to keep your
message to 140 or 280 characters, it requires clarity as well as brevity. It’s great to get rid of
fluff and padding in your writing (and speaking!) but it’s a problem when you go too far or you don’t get the entire message or across. I believe this is why 99% of tweets garner no
engagement at all.
E = Engaging (Have I thought about how my reader likes to engage with me and my
content?) There are many factors to consider, and if you think about even one or two of
these before you write, you will be streets ahead of most other people. There’s the platform
to consider, and my feeling is that you should aim to be active on the same platforms as
your ideal clients. Then there is the frequency. Get the balance right and communicate
frequently enough but not so much that people tune out. A third factor to think about is how
to make it a conversation, not just a one-way broadcast. A well-known blogger does not
allow comments on his blog, which I think is a big mistake. Who knows what he could
achieve if he let others really engage with his posts?
A = Answer (Have I answered a big question or concern for the reader? If not, it’s just
noise). These days, more than ever before, no one has time to waste. You certainly don’t
want to be the person who wastes the reader’s time. The reader is concerned about many
things these days, but one concern probably stands out in their mind. If you address that,
you will be appreciated and rewarded for your efforts.
S = Sync (Is this in sync with the rest of my content, my style, my profile?) Consistency is
key, but people often forget to check whether their content matches what thas been
published previously by them. Develop a consistent style, approach and message to your
market, so people begin to recognize you and your content. If you have done any personal
or professional branding work, you have a head start, but you can create a strategy for your
writing and speaking content even without a full-blown branding exercise. Just get in touch if
you want to know more.
E = Exciting (Have I shared the most compelling information and used the most
compelling wording possible?) This last challenge can be the hardest if you are not used to
analysing your own content. You may need some input, guidance or feedback from a
professional and/or your target market. Don’t be arrogant and assume what you write is
compelling; that’s always in the eye of the beholder.
You may not be surprised to learn that I spent more time on this short article than many
people would spend on a much longer one. You may have heard the Mark Twain quote, “I
didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one”. Putting extra care and effort
into your content actually takes more thinking time. That will pay off when people reading
your content or listening to your message appreciate the care and thought you invested in