The art of persuasion 2: How to argue

Six structures of argument (Rhetoric)

What is an argument?

In the Argument Clinic, a sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, an absurdist comedy series, a man pays for a five-minute argument. The customer goes to a room where a man behind a desk hurls abuse at him. The customer interrupts saying he paid for a five-minute argument, and this is not an argument. The abuse hurler apologizes explaining this is Abuse, Argument is next door. Continue reading “The art of persuasion 2: How to argue”

Distraction and concentration

Focus

Concentration is at a premium in an increasingly distracted world. And this is why writing a book is so difficult for the busy professional. 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 or distraction become habitual.  But concentration is a skill we can develop with practice. An incremental approach works well. On the other hand, constant interruptions weaken our ability to focus and to think through complexity. When it comes to concentration it’s a case of use it or lose it.

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Purpose, relevancy, and 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 curtain-ring salesman, Del Griffith (John Candy). Del can’t stop talking about the boring details of his life. Eventually Neal loses his cool. After a long tirade, he shouts, “And here’s another thing: Have a point! It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.” Continue reading “Purpose, relevancy, and ideas”

Perfectionism stops you from starting

Perfectionism will kill your writing. Perfectionists are quick to judge, and that can be a good thing under certain conditions. But not when writing the first draft. First drafts aren’t meant to be publishable. Writers must learn to tolerate half-baked ideas and ill-constructed sentences in the beginning. Writing is rewriting.

Perfectionists tend to have unrealistic expectations of themselves and other people. Yet mistakes are a necessary part of learning. We should be kind to ourselves because we all have to start somewhere. Think about how infants learn to walk. They don’t give up the first time they fall down. An infant doesn’t think, “This walking stuff is not for me. I’m no good at it. I’ll crawl through life.” Continue reading “Perfectionism stops you from starting”

Should I write a business book proposal?

Publishers want a book proposal, not a finished manuscript. A publisher’s business model seeks revenue from book sales. But business people see the value of their book in terms of what it will do for them and their companies. Self-publishing has many advantages for the business author. However, in this article, I’m going to tell you about the book proposal: what it is, and why you may not need one. 

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