Words have power. The power to move, to hurt, to heal. Historically, words have been used with great effect to galvanise people around a cause: some rooted in hate and fear, some rooted in love and acceptance. Whether used for good or evil, words have the power to affect how people feel, which means they have the power to influence outcomes in the workplace.
Effective business writing skills give you the power to sell your idea, to get support (and capital) for your project and, ultimately, to influence your career trajectory. Why? Because, put simply, effective business writing skills have the power to influence people’s thinking and – more importantly – their behaviour. I think we can all agree, that when it comes to business, that’s important.
Whether you’re writing a report asking for capital for a project, or an email trying to influence a decision or sell an idea, your success all boils down to how well you can tell the story. Make no mistake, that’s what all good business writers do; and there is most certainly a place for storytelling in business. Anyone who is successful is already doing it. If you’re not and the person competing with you for the same funds (or the same job) is, they’re going to come out ahead of you – every time.
If you’re still sceptical, consider this quote from Brene Brown: “Maybe stories are data with soul”.
Quite simply, stories can bring data and research to life. They can provide compelling reasons for change: they can make people care because they appeal to people’s emotions.
Christine Comaford, neuroscience expert, author and leadership and culture coach, tells us that more than 90% of human behaviour (and decision making) is driven by emotions. So, it should come as no surprise that when people read or hear stories, their brains release the trust/feel good hormone, oxytocin. They start connecting with the content in a way they wouldn’t if it were all just numbers or research.
While storytelling in business may not provide us with the opportunity to tell super emotive tales of love or war, they can certainly help us connect people to our content in a way that makes make them care about the outcome. And let’s face it, nobody changes their behaviour unless they’re given a reason to care.
Trying to get people on board for a change project?
Make them care by showing them what it will look and feel like when you get there.
Trying to secure capital for something that’s competing with more business-critical projects?
Make them care about how this will help the business deliver on its strategy or purpose.
Trying to bring people along with you to reach a certain target?
Make them care about what’s in it for them when they do.
We know that telling the story well makes people care. Science tells us it does. So, if science is part of the business case for effective writing skills, what’s the solution?
Our solution to improving people’s writing skills at One Tribe is a little scientific too. Science is rooted in observation and experimentation and, over the past couple of decades specialising in business writing, we’ve certainly done a lot of that. We know what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to effective business writing. We’ve packaged up all our knowledge into tried-and-true processes that are simple to follow and transformational for people’s business writing skills.
In our course, Business Writing for Influence, we teach the science of telling the story well. You don’t need to be a great writer to learn how to do that. If you already are, it will only improve your skills. It’s as simple as breaking your writing into PARTs. You start with your ‘Purpose’ (your ‘what’ and your ‘why’) and follow the rest of the letters from there to have great bones for your story.
Then, it’s all about making sure the flesh on those bones is good, lean and healthy. We call it getting your writing into the right STATE, starting with ‘Simple sentences’ and tips for keeping yours as healthy (and engaging) as possible.
Being ready to stand back and look objectively at our business writing skills is the first step in our training. Having a growth mindset when it comes to something you’ve been doing for so long can be challenging for some. But we’ve seen the benefits that come when people do. Why? Because business writing skills matter and having a growth mindset when it comes to them does too.
How much do your business writing skills matter to you?
Sure, they’ve got you this far, but could they get you even further? So that you can have more influence in the workplace?
At One Tribe, we think the answer to that question is academic (and a little bit scientific).
Check out our Business Writing for Influence course to find out more.