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"Good Writing is Communication and Communication is the Substance of Life."

If youíre an entrepreneur then the ability to communicate your ideas and share concepts effectively through writing is a given. Writing is an integral part of doing business. Business owners often need to deliver strategic presentations, communicate with clients and co-workers and write reports, emails and letters. Thatís not to mention writing or overseeing the writing of advertising copy and publicity material. The good news is that the art of writing well is a skill that can be honed with fine practice. The bad news is that like going to gym, it will require a lot of discipline and routine exercise. Mandy de Waal and Andrew Miller show you how. 

Writing well is all in the ability to love words and commit to a regular workout. The first thing we tell people who want to write well is to read, read and read some more because reading offers an understanding of language and the different uses and style of language. If you want to be a good writer then you need to read multiple styles. If Cosmopolitan or Menís Health is a permanent fixture on your bedside stand and youíre deeply involved in the guts of business, you will need to develop a more engaging business style. Next time reach for a Business Day or Financial Mail to help you hone your business writing style. When writing for business, you need to adjust your tone and the way you use your language to suit a number of given situations. In some instances your writing will need to be formal, while in other instances it should be informal. You need to tailor your language to different writing vehicles and styles. This is the most basic challenge any writer faces, whether you are a professional or not. To develop a more versatile writing style, read outside your comfort zone because you get lazy when you just read in your comfort zone and donít broaden your skill set. If you can expand your horizon then youíll notice the influence on your writing immediately. You will see the different style coming through quite quickly, in as little time as a week or two.

If you want to become an ace communicator it is a matter of reading and then engaging in a daily workout. To become a good writer you need to write consistently. Write every day as an exercise and not according to need. This is a lot like going to the gym. If you want to grow muscle you must follow an exercise regime. Similarly if you want growth as a writer you must set yourself a strict exercise regime and stick to it. Humans are naturally lazy and anything that requires regular commitment and discipline is difficult because your life attention naturally wanders onto other things.

Why bother with all the effort? Why not just get a writing coach who can open the door of magical lyrical language? Unfortunately as with personal training, a coach can take you to the bar bells, show you how to use them but wonít ever be able to build muscle by bench-pressing for you. The coach is only going to help you when you are committed. If you arenít committed then a writing coach isnít going to help any. If you want to develop the skill you must read, write and have a passion for words. If you have a natural passion for language and the way it impacts on life then you will have an emotional ability to reinforce the technical exercise of writing. You need the emotional commitment to the skill you are developing to be able to flex your writing muscles.

The pay off is huge. People who can communicate compellingly in the written and spoken form become influential and successful business people. Good writing is communication and communication is the substance of life. If you can communicate effectively you will be a powerful person in business and in your normal life. This is especially true in South Africa where communicating across cultures and barriers is important. If you can succinctly express the position you come from to a person from another position you will open doors of relationship that normally stay shut.

Mandy de Waal (mandy@soulcircle.co.za) is an award-winning communications consultant, writer, public speaker and founder of SoulCircle (PTY) Ltd (www.soulcircle.co.za). SoulCircle is a company that helps people to live their best life at home, work and play through knowledge and transformative experiences. Andrew Miller is a freelance poet, writer and editorial consultant who leads workshops on writing for SoulCircle.



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Last Updated: 01-02-2007