Dealing with sorrow – how to write persuasive material

Monday 15 August 1664

..and there discoursed with Mrs. Blagrave about her kinswoman, who it seems is sickly even to frantiqueness sometimes, and among other things chiefly from love and melancholy upon the death of her servant, [Servant = lover] insomuch that she telling us all most simply and innocently I fear she will not be able to come to us with any pleasure, which I am sorry for, for I think she would have pleased us very well. In comes he, and so to sing a song and his niece with us, but she sings very meanly...

one solution to life’s problems

I am minded to remember that in that era people were supposed to look after themselves. No such thing as therapy, counselling, support groups except perhaps in the local coffeehouse or tavern. There were such drugs as Laudanum but the common people had access to alcohol and little else. Pepys is not unlike Charles Dickens in that he paints pictures that you can imagine. It is clear that this lady  has destroyed herself through bitterness  so much so that even her singing is affected.

I’m in correspondence with the hospital group about a leaflet they propose to utter for post trauma patients which will include my offer of supporting patients who have been as part of the system.

Here begins today’s observations. If you have something to say to the public and you are involved in something, a project of note or value, this is my suggestion. Write down the following.

Who are you writing for? If you write for everybody you write for nobody.  No single utterance can answer all questions. In the majority of cases you want someone to telephone you so you can speak to them.  The biggest art is to write from the point of view of what the customer wants, not what you think they might want or need.

What is the absolute minimum  you want to say? Because you have been occupied in a matter for some years you know it back to front but that’s not the point. Keep the knowledge and wisdom and tune it to the person who calls.

Give the document to someone who knows very little about the subject matter and ask them to comment. After having accepted the valuable feedback from at least two people, yes two people, give it to a professional who has the skill to get inside the heads of the potential recipients.

The biggest mistake people make with new documents is that they give it to their friends who are far too polite to say that it’s rubbish, or they give it to those who are engaged in the same profession who know exactly what the document is about  and to say to themselves “surely anyone with any intelligence can understand the meaning of this”. The problem is, the public often can’t because one or two vital stages have been missed.

I find this with software engineers and fellow computer enthusiasts who will tell me how to do something but forget a stage that to them was so obvious they did not feel the need to say it.

The final stage is to show the completed article to half-dozen people or so who are not your friends or colleagues and if they like it then you probably have it on your hands. There is no point in spending hundreds of pounds on Vanity publishing when no one actually reads or wants to read what you have produced.

Now, I know that you, dear people, will say that yours is a very urgent and important item.  It is very unlikely that a few days will make any difference so put your ego and your pre-conceptions aside and see what comes up. The golden rule: less is more. There are exceptions to this. if you are describing the itinerary of a leisure cruise or holiday the more detail you put in the better because people look for certain things example what is included and how long the tour is. However, if the item you are selling is intangible or  novel or personal there is a greater onus on the telephone operator to explain what is going on.

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