It can be overwhelming when putting words onto the blank page.
But also easy. All you need is a laptop or tablet and to begin tapping keys. You don’t even have to know how to type; hunt and peck still works for some.
Have a thought, extract it from your mind through to your fingers and click publish on one of your favorite venues: Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, etc.
Want to update on the latest news? Scroll through most any social media feed and get a glimpse of major headlines of the day – some of it news; most of it opinion with a smattering of facts rolled in to to imply newsworthiness. Then, add your comments, a few keystrokes at a time. Watch the responses mount, your blood pressure rise, your inclination to respond emotionally increase.
Read, write, read, write. Words and more words, diluting our intellect, overwhelming our psyche and speeding our heartbeats.
This message dilution dilutes everything from business and personal communications where the all-lowercase, hastily drawn texts and emails swamp our in-boxes to career exchanges, where content is abbreviated to micro conversations, stripped of meaning and laden with hurry.
Deficient attention spans, for many, are becoming the norm, with decelerated expectations and lame banter hobbled by poor grammar. Weak strategy unravels necessary complexity to create underdeveloped, one-dimensional outcomes.
It’s imploding career communications everywhere. I see it in the everyday, watered-down career blogs and the resumes quickly dripped onto the page with an overly anxious paintbrush. I also see the empty LinkedIn tomes filled with innocuous, soft phrasing that serves not only to fill space but also to dull the reader.
I see biographies converting to buzzwords and cover letters shaven to nubs barely intelligible and rarely engulfing the reader.
So what do you do to halt the hurry, to deepen the concentration and to move more meaningfully through the business and career conversation space? How can you become not just more mindful (another buzzword hijacked by the applause of the masses), but also more capable of monitoring your words?
How can you more calmly be in charge of conversations, providing the recipient meaningful, enamoring stories? Here are 5 tips:
- Simply begin by slowing down, turning off your media streams and writing and deliberating.
- Carve blocks of time to think/work on a specific writing project, beginning with 30-minute blocks (use the timer on your device to hold you accountable and don’t ‘stop’ your focus until the bell chimes).
- Read a book. Begin with a chapter or a 20- to 30-minute period each day devoted to imbibing in whatever book you want: fiction, non-fiction, edification, whatever. Just read; swallowed up by story. Take notes if you like.
- Review your writing. When writing your next email, read it an extra time beyond what you normally would. Read it aloud. Where does the rhythm go awry? Where do you stumble? Edit a bit. Re-read. Feel the satisfaction of a 2-3 paragraph mini-story well written.
- Value your words. Don’t just give them away to every Facebook friend or LinkedIn contact or even every email-er that swamps your in-box. Slow down. Hoard your time–and your words–where you can (aside from work obligations). Carve your word stories with care and heart–and a professional flair.
Dip your toes in the water with my low-cost starter kit. Email me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.