In my weekly essay out today, I explain three ways to build emotion, starting with eight techniques for getting people's attention right away. Read it here.
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Two problems with jargon:
1) some people don't know what it means, and
2) those who have heard it often have probably stopped thinking about its practical meaning.
Good writers try eliminate jargon, but sometimes clients insist on using an obscure term anyway. If that's your situation, improve the piece like this. Use the term, then follow it with an explanation in simple words: "We need greater policy coherence. Consider all the added value when we coordinate those individual policies toward their common goal."
Non-experts get an easy bit of education. Experts get a humanized reminder of why they do what they do.
Paul Feig helped bring you lots of things you love, such as Freaks & Geeks, Bridesmaids, and The Office.
These shows are unlike their competitors.
Paul Feig says that creative material that works is almost always the vision of one person. Teams are great at lots of things, but creating something that is emotionally inspiring is rarely one of them.
If you hire a writer or a creative type, give them latitude to do what they do best. You might be able to improve it with tweaks near the end, but in the messy heart of the creative process, stay out of the way.
And if you're a writer or a creative type, stand up for your vision. If you don't, you may keep the gig but what you produce will typically be second rate.
Paul Feig's a smart guy. (Funny, too.)
Writing is an art, even the writing we do for business. One way we get better at our own art is to examine art from other people.
I recently shared some thoughts from Nile Rodgers, founder of the band Chic and the creator of some of the most carefully crafted and memorable (and happy!) music of the second half of the 20th century.
Another lesson from Nile Rodgers? In the middle of the excess of the disco era, Rodgers threw on the brakes.
Listen to one of his biggest hits, "Good Times." He reduced the recording to the foundational elements of the genre: the bassline, nuanced percussion, and his own "scratching" rhythm guitar. In this way, the few "extras" -- the well placed string flourishes and the keyboard licks you're remembering right now -- are forced to stand out, highlighting how interesting they are.
This recording is so strong that you've heard pieces of it copied or even lifted outright in other famous recordings such as "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Rappers Delight."
Here's what writers and speakers often believe that is just flat-out wrong: "This material is so valuable that all I have to do is provide it and they'll listen."
No, they won't.
Listening is hard.
Unless you make your talk compelling on its face, all the life-and-death power in the world won't get the audience to listen, let alone take action.
Don't kid yourself. Your first task is *not* explaining stuff. It's not even persuasion. Your first task is **getting them to pay attention.**