MINDFULNESS, for most people, conjures images of meditation--eyes closed, relaxed, concentrating on each breath in a peaceful environment...
That's fine. Who am I to argue with an ancient, healthy practice? (Some of the earliest written records of meditation [Dhyana], come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism around 1500 BCE.)
But wait a sec....doesn't MINDFULNESS imply how we interact with other people and with our environment? Doing yoga and closed-eye meditation, as I said, is awesome, but what about practicing mindfulness in our everyday contacts at work, under stress, with co-workers and customers? Can't do that with eyes closed very easily.
Did you ever consider the on-the-job writing you do every day as an opportunity to practice mindfulness? Interaction with others is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to being mindful. So what better way to practice than through our daily workplace writing...or, as I think of it, eyes-wide-open meditation?
If you want to do Powerful Writing (or Powerful Editing/Reviewing) you should have a systematic approach for developing a document draft and making it truly powerful. This post gives you guidelines for Powerful Writing, for developing any workplace document, from a simple email to a complex report….
By definition, “editing” appears to be a reactive exercise—we have a text and edit it, finding and fixing weaknesses and whoppers. But some of the most important, time-saving editing editors can do should come before any words are written, or, to be more precise, before any drafts have begun. How does that work?
What does a good report sound like? Does it sound like this?
Or like this:
Over lighting is an international concern, with much of the Earth’s population living under light-polluted skies, which, if you live in an urban or suburban area, all you have to do to see this type of pollution is go outside at night and look up at the sky.
Maybe a good report receives great applause and appreciation from its audience and sounds like this?
Or like this:
In this special report there is the inclusion of recommendations whose intention is to improve the cost‑effectiveness of state programs, such as the Department of Health Care Services, School‑Based Medi‑Cal Administrative Activities programs audit that identified weaknesses in the contracts between the local educational consortia or local governmental agencies and their claiming units that effective Health Care Services’ oversight should have prevented.
Come on folks, we can do better than this.
Treat your sentences…paragraphs…sections as though they were alive, as though they were spoken aloud to the invisible (but easily imaginable) actual report reader, face-to-face! Words are actually magic. (http://themindunleashed.com/2015/03/magic-and-the-power-of-words.html)
Why don’t sentences in a lot of workplace writing—from email to complex, team-generated reports (and probably this very blog) SING? And how might we allow them to croon and warble just a little more pleasantly?
SO MUCH WRITING ADVICE includes the following: Write S-V-O sentences for greater impact. Here’s one of my favorite S-V-O sentences (subject-verb-object):
Our lack of pertinent data prevented determination of committee action effectiveness in fund targeting to areas of greatest assistance need.
Wow. That’s a prize-winner for sure. And it IS an S-V-O sentence. (S=lack; V=prevented; O=determination). So what’s going wrong?
It’s not enough to say write S-V-O sentences because even those can go wildly awry. What IS important is writing sentences with a strong sentence core.
Here’s another version of that S-V-O sentence, this time written with strong cores in every clause.
Because we lacked pertinent information, we couldn’t determine if the committee had targeted funds to areas that needed assistance the most.
Not as much fun, I know…but way more clear. So what is the sentence core and how does it work its revisionary magic?