It’s commonly said – and very possibly true – that public speaking ranks above death in the list of many people’s fears.
From my experience working in and with businesses, I know there’s another – more hidden – fear. That fear is the fear of writing. This tends to receive less coverage than the fear of public speaking because the majority of people in most businesses are rarely expected to write much more than emails and the occasional report.
The Fear Of Writing In Business
There are two principle reasons why the people in your business may fear writing:
- They don’t believe they can write what normally passes for business writing
- They don’t want to write what normally passes for business writing
What is commonly thought of as ‘business writing’ is so different to how the people in your business talk or think that they feel that to write in this way takes training and special skills. At the same time, most people know instinctively that to write in such a manner would turn whatever passion they might have for the subject into deadly dull anti-communication.
The unadulterated fluff and self-puffery found on so many business Home, Our Services, and About Us web pages is exactly the sort of writing that many people in business have come to think of as business writing. Visit a slew of sites in the same market sector and you’ll be hard pressed to differentiate one business from another.
There Is Room For Passion
But if you were to walk into a particular business and ask someone there to tell you what the company does, the chances are that your experience would be radically different.
The disconnect between the passion and enthusiasm of a company’s people and their writing is astonishing. And troubling. And a significant contribution to a loss of business.
Fear Of Writing Means Poor Communication
This situation needs to change if the full potential of content channels – from reports and manuals to blogs and customer interactions – are to be exploited.
Writing possesses a peculiar magic. When you set aside your fear and begin to write down your thoughts, new ideas and new connections often come to mind. As more people within a company write about their jobs and their tasks and what they believe the company is doing well or could do better, a huge mass of useful information grows quickly.
Much of this can be used within the company as training and planning material. And much of it can be used externally on sites and marketing material to establish credibility and trust.
Where Does The Fear Come From?
Much of the blame for fear of writing – and the cost to business – can be traced to two causes:
- School, where we are taught to write essays as if we’re talking to people who died just before Queen Victoria ascended the throne
- Self-important keepers of the business knowledge, who prefer jargon and opacity to plain-speaking and clarity
One of the main functions of this site is to help people working in business overcome the fears and find the best ways to let their passion and expertise find expression in written form. It’s great to have staff who can produce useful and valuable content for use within and outside your company.