10 Questions For Better Communication
Writers construct texts to shape the response of their readers; readers react and respond to what they read.
This writer-reader interaction is fundamental. Therefore, you should focus on making it a positive and effective one.
Are you ticking all the boxes?
Here are 10 questions to ask (and to answer)
The key terms (in bold) are examined in detail below.
- Can you identify your intended audience?
- What is the specific purpose of the text?
- Does its form match your intention?
- Think about your title; what does it suggest?
- What tone have you adopted?
- Which perspective are you presenting?
- Is the content appropriate and relevant?
- What is the structure of the text?
- What language techniques have you employed?
- What is the ‘do next’ (the call to action) of your text?
For whom was the text created? You should be able to visualise and describe your target audiences, to make your interactions with them real and meaningful
Your text should have a clear purpose, which should remain your focus throughout.
For example, it might aim to:
- Sell a product or service
- Inform, instruct or explain
- Demonstrate a range of techniques or approaches
- Create an impression or convey an experience
- Convince, persuade or argue a point
- Present an opinion or testimonial
- Attract attention or raise awareness
- Incite action.
Some text forms have particular features. You should choose the form that best achieves your purpose and maintains and strengthens your connection with your reader or potential client.
Some forms are particularly well suited to certain purposes: you might seek personal engagement in a letter or email; in promoting a new product, you might produce a brochure; offering explanation or instruction might be easier in a factsheet and so on …
Ask me for my fact sheet on Text Types.
A title should offer an insight into the theme or nature of the text. If it is catchy, clever or memorable it will work better. And better still if it shows some originality.
This is connected with purpose. Your tone indicates your attitude towards the material and to your reader, just as your tone of voice conveys so much to your listener.
Is your tone persuasive, argumentative, reflective, authoritative, critical or humorous? Is it formal, friendly or relaxed?
As well as needing to hear your ‘voice’, your readers or clients need to know where you stand. Are you taking a subjective or an objective position? Are you ‘in the shoes’ of your audience, showing that you are with them and understand their perspective or needs? Or are you a more remote presenter of information or advice?
These questions are just the beginning….
Ask me about my article on Perspective: Taking A Stand.
What ideas (intellectual content) are you presenting? How are you appealing to feelings (emotional content)? What are you asking your readers to do (call to action content)?
Good writing should engage readers on all of these levels.
What is the sequence of events or points? Is there a movement from general to specific, or the reverse? Is there an argument with alternating counter-arguments?
How does the text begin and conclude? With an anecdote, a suggestion, a challenge or a summary? Is there a logical or thought/action-provoking conclusion?
There’s a whole range of language tools you can use to achieve your particular goals. It’s also essential to make sure your spelling and grammar are correct — preferably checked by a professional eye.
Ask about my resources on Language Techniques And Devices.
The ‘do next’
Make sure your readers have a ‘take-away’ — whether it’s an action to take, a plan to make or just something to think about. It should be a goal of some kind — preferably one that involves you or something you have to offer.
Ask me for my written and visual resources on SMART Goals and Making a SMART MOVE.
Your goals right now
Have you ticked all the boxes?
- Take a written communication you have already planned or drafted and examine it in the light of these 10 Question To Ask
- Contact me to find out about the resources that will help you be a better writer.