I hate you

“My eldest daughter told me she hated me when she was in the second grade.”

Bet that got your attention!

Which is the point.

Most articles, blogs and books start off with blah-blah preliminaries to “set the scene.”

Forget that.

Don’t set the scene. Jump into the scene.

That article could have started out predictably with, “This is a review of Sheryl’s Sandberg new book about women in the workplace.”

Yawn. Are you motivated to drop what you’re doing and keep reading?

I didn’t think so.

But instead, that first sentence popped off the page and motivated me to read the rest of this excellent article by Katharine Weymouth of the Washington Post entitled, How Can You LEAN IN If You Don’t Have Anyone to LEAN ON?


What are you writing right now? A blog? Article? Report? Book chapter? Web copy? Marketing brochure?

Review your first sentence and paragraph.

Does it set the scene – or jump into the scene?

If you want to have readers at hello, pleasantly surprise them by JUMPING into a dialogue phrase pulled from the story that illustrates your point.

Readers will be intrigued, and they’ll want to know … the rest of your story.

“Instant gratification takes too long.” – Carrie Fischer

Thanks to Twitter, a whole generation of people now think and communicate in 140 character sound-bites.

What’s that mean for us? If we don’t learn to say a lot in a little, fast, we are taking ourselves out of the game.

Every single time we communicate, whether in a staff meeting, blog post or conversation with a 20-something, we need to, as bestselling author Elmore Leonard says, “leave out the parts people skip.”

One way to do this is to put our mind in gear before we put our mouth in motion. Before “mouthing off” with what’s top of mind, we can ask ourselves, “Is this interesting? Does this add value to what’s already been said? Does it introduce something new?”

If not, maybe it’s better left unsaid.

Enough said.