Why “business” writing is a lie.

The evidence plagues our social media channels, and so many people are not aware of their failings. Unfortunately, we've all been taught to write. But, just because you can write, does not mean you can write well.

I’ve been struggling with my business writing since I started my first business over 20 years ago. Along the way I had well-meaning business advisers tell me to “always act professional”, “dress slightly better than the people you’re meeting”, and “you can’t swear or show attitude in your marketing or during networking”.

You know all those people and all that advice. They meant well, but if it worked, they’d all be successful. So, fuck their advice!

I believe that listening to that advice has held me back, and now I have to re-learn and practice my communication skills all over again.

I’ve learnt a lot from decades of running businesses, but mostly in the last few years from observing Téa first-hand (my wife and business partner). She does the exact opposite of what I thought was right.

Téa does all of the things in her business writing that most people in business would cringe at and definitely not post publicly. Yet people seek her out for new business for this very reason. We’ve actually never done any advertising apart from testing the waters on a few platforms. All of our clients have come from Téa’s voice online, and her candid face-to-face encounters.

Telling the truth (I mean not holding back on the stuff that’s hard to say and hard to hear) is often met with surprised looks at first, but it usually ends in new business for us. It’s mostly not because of our products or services and excellent end results. It’s about being real, not beating around the bush, telling the truth no holds barred, and the style and progression of the communication throughout.

The way you talk to your partner or friends about a product, is closer to the real you than how it comes out in your business writing.

The more authenticity, attitude, and vulnerability you include, the better it will be received. Use more of the ‘feeling’ words that you say in friendly conversation, it makes it more relatable to the reader.

It’s about trust, and gaining trust is so much easier when you’re being authentic to yourself and others. Adding slang, humour, and the odd swear word when it’s suitable to make a point might turn some people off. But think about it… are those people your ideal customers? Are they who you want to do business with? The simple fact is, authenticity gains you more relationships than you lose.

Writing from the heart gives you a naturally flowing post making it easier to read and understand. You gain more authority on your topic, and over time people are more likely to read your new posts.

Even now I’m wondering if this post has ended up showing my full authenticity? Did I use passive language? Did I hold back on something vulnerable that could resonate with someone? It’s hard for me to change since the old ways have been drilled into me for so many years, but I believe I’m getting better at it every time.

Maybe it’s time to reflect on your writing style, and give a bit more of you.

Related post: Marketing is Truth and Pain aka Seriously Say Fuck Once in a While No-one Cares.

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