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I’ve been writing and speaking for several decades. (Yep, I’m getting pretty old, though I rarely think it or act it.  Only my body betrays me.)

Years ago, somewhere, I was given a clever outline for writing and speaking that helps you  grab the attention of your reader/listener.  And keep it through to the end.  (If you know where this came from, I’m glad to give credit.  I have shared it with hundreds of people.)

Here it is:  Hey, you!  See!  So there!

Hey:

Catch their attention.  Startle them.  Ask a question.  Say something outrageous.  Make them want to read/listen to what you are going to say.

You:

Identify with them.  What does this have to do with them?  Use the word “you” or “your.”  Promise them something you think they desire.

See:

Make your case.  Fulfill your promise.  This is the body of what you are saying—the main thing.  Prove that you are giving them what you said you would.

So:

Elicit a response.  What do you want to happen in their mind or their heart?  Help them to recognize the benefit for them—and for others they care about.

There:

Action time!  What should they do in response?  How can they do it?

I use this outline as a guide for many of my messages and much of my writing.  I don’t necessarily follow it exactly, but it is in my mind as I write.

Give it a try.  How did it work for you?  I would love to hear how you used/adapted it.

C 2011 Judy Douglass

 

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