Are you nuts, you can’s say that!

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If you’ve ever felt like you aren’t a good writer, or if you think you’re okay but want to improve, I have some advice.

Put people in your writing.

Facts and logic are obviously important. But people provide context and an emotional element, helping your reader understand, relate to, and remember your message.

Tell stories. Give examples. Use your cases and clients and prospects to illustrate your points.

The other day, I read an attorney’s email newsletter. There were some good ideas in it but I can’t remember any of them. The information was good but his writing was abstract and boring.

So, don’t do that. When you talk about a problem, tell me about someone who had or has that problem. How does the problem affect them? And. . . what happened?

Yes?

Now, there’s one person in particular who should appear in your writing. You.

People want to know who you are, what you think, and what you’re like as a person. Prospective clients want to know what it would be like having you as their attorney.

Put more of you in your writing.

Don’t make it all about you. Nobody wants to read that. But don’t hide yourself, either, something I see a lot of attorneys do in their writing.

I used to do it myself.

As a young attorney, my writing was stiff and formal. One day, I decided to take the stick out of my assimus maximus and write like I speak.

Less formal, less measured, more transparent.

I was afraid I might hurt myself by sounding unprofessional. I was afraid I might reveal something about myself that I shouldn’t, or say something I thought was funny and wind up being offensive.

I’ve done all of the above, but, on balance, putting more of my personality in my writing was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Try it. It may take some practice but once you get into the swing of things, once you let down your guard and have some fun with your writing, I know you’ll be pleased with the results.

One caveat: if your gut tells you you’ve gone too far, show your draft to your spouse or secretary or someone else who cares about you enough to say, “Are you nuts, you can’t say that!”

How to write a more effective newsletter

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