The art of persuasion 1: Rhetoric

George Orwell once wrote that a classical education would be impossible without corporal punishment. Maybe that’s why it isn’t taught in schools today.  Classical education was demanding. It included rhetoric: the art of effective speaking and writing. Rhetoric’s goal is to persuade. Effective communication will always be a vital business skill because business is essentially… Continue reading The art of persuasion 1: Rhetoric

Distraction and concentration

Concentration is at a premium in an increasingly distracted world. And this is why writing a book is so difficult for busy professionals. Writing a book requires long periods of distraction-free thinking-time, focus, and solitude. Author, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, termed Flow as a state of hyper-concentration where we lose all sense of time. We become what we do. Focus… Continue reading Distraction and concentration

Three questions

What’s my purpose? How is what I want to say relevant to my audience? How will I generate ideas? Have a purpose Purpose, relevancy, and ideas in business writing In the 1987 comedy, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles stressed marketing executive, Neal Page (Steve Martin), is reluctantly trapped in a shared hotel room with an optimistic and talkative… Continue reading Three questions

Labels: A necessary evil

Lawyer and politician, Arlen Specter, started as a Democrat, then became a Republican, and then went back to being a Democrat again. As you can imagine, he resisted being labeled. What he actually said was, “I don’t like labels. I think they conceal more than they reveal — sort of like a bikini.” Labels limit… Continue reading Labels: A necessary evil

Plan your whole business book

“Any organization that won’t take the trouble to be both clear and personal in its writing will lose friends, customers, and money.” — William Zinsser, in his 30th-anniversary classic, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction Enthusiasm, drive, and energy are virtues. Yet unbridled drive can turn into impatience. Impatience can lead you to start writing… Continue reading Plan your whole business book

Business book titles

Why should readers read your book? Every business book has a value proposition. Writing a one-sentence reply will help clarify your thinking. Most of us form opinions quickly. And this is true when it comes to business book titles and introductions. First impressions count. First impressions have a habit of sticking. Just about every salesperson has heard that… Continue reading Business book titles

How to hire a ghostwriter

Whether you’re looking to hire a ghostwriter for business or a memoir, take your time finding the right person for you. A client-author recently explained to me how projects fail at the beginning, not at the end. Why is that? Poor initial decision-making. Don’t leave it up to someone else to make your ghostwriter hiring decisions for you. Hiring your ghostwriter… Continue reading How to hire a ghostwriter

Oh, no! Public speaking

I had a terror of public speaking until I didn’t. I needed a safe place to practice and get constructive feedback. I joined a Toastmasters International group years ago and it helped me, and then it helped me help others. I was well out of my comfort zone in the beginning. And given the choice… Continue reading Oh, no! Public speaking