Good enough is good enough for business writing
Over the last fifteen years, I’ve listened to hundreds of entrepreneurial experts share their muse, read shelf-loads of business books and enjoyed a wealth of wise and witty one-liners. I’ve started with why, learned the seven secrets to everything, built my business in ninety minutes a day and am abundantly aware that change starts with me.
My favourite motto of all, however, is one of the simplest. I first heard it used about sales copy for websites or marketing, but it is widely applicable throughout every area of business and life: especially for perfectionists. (By practical definition, a perfectionist is someone who is afraid of failure.) What I love most about this inspired one-liner is how its provokingly blasé tone hides such a profound truth. You see, it doesn’t mean what you first think it does.
Good enough is good enough!
Good enough is good enough! It almost sounds like – any old rubbish will do. I’m a writer, and this post is about writing, so let’s apply this phrase to words for now. But I would encourage you to experiment with it in other areas of your life later. Is your writing good enough? I’m not talking perfect punctuation, gorgeous grammar or seamless syntax and sentence structure, blah, blah blah (there are no red pens here). It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be good enough. See the difference?
The quest for perfection has stopped many a good idea from getting started. That is sad, and as I mentioned earlier, that type of perfectionist behaviour is usually a cover-up for being afraid to start. What is almost as tragic is when a great idea flops because the delivery was so poor (not good enough). You see, your business writing does not have to pass an English exam, but it does need to pass your readers’ eyes. And that means it needs to be good enough to impact their ears, heart and mind and to get their attention.
Good communication is what it says: Good communication. There genuinely are no rules if you can get your message across effectively. It just requires a little bit of thought and effort to make it stand out. Crafting a clear message with tone and pace that greets your reader on their level is worthy of your time. Try these ‘good enough’ writing tips and tricks to improve the quality of your written communication:
Avoid redundant or overused words: Words like just, that, very, really, amazing and quite, etc., are often unnecessary. Just delete a few in your next post and see that your message really remains amazing and but just feels crisper. (Delete a few in your next post and notice the message remains, only crisper.) Cull the filler and be kinder to your readers’ ears.
Engage and entice your readers into the story: Use interesting words and phrases to send pictures to their mind rather than your message to the bin or delete button. I don’t mean big words to make ‘you’ look clever but creative ones so ‘they’ feel involved as they see what you mean.
Assume… yes, I know the old saying, but it is nonsense! If you identify the ideal ‘who’ for your message, write as if you know them and understand what they want. Make informed assumptions and demonstrate you grasp what your audience needs. Before you begin, attune your ears to the questions on their mind.
Good writing requires more time but the rewards and return on investment make it worth the wait in gold.
“I apologise for writing such a long letter: I didn’t have time to write a short one” Mark Twain