What if you learned that your writing and communications skills are really are sub-par? Would you want someone to tell you? Here is an example– An IABC e-mail just reached my inbox. The lead sentence says, “I’m excited about…”
That is sub-par writing and public relations. It is shocking that public relations people cannot write a lead sentence for a news release and that they continue to use tired, old clichés. It makes me wonder if their public relations teachers accepted this as good writing in college.
Effective communications focuses on your customers or your audience. However, every day while teaching media training or in message writing workshops, I see PR people and CEOs all making inward facing comments, rather than external facing comments. They focus on themselves by using words and phrases such as, “I’m excited to announce…” or, “We’re pleased to tell you…”
Your audience, however, is excited and pleased when your opening sentence says what’s in it for them.
Ironically, the e-mail was promoting an IABC event, which likely needs a session on writing without clichés.
Take a moment to search through your e-mails and news releases to determine if you are guilty of using these clichés, especially in your lead sentence. Akin to this is the sin of writing a fake quote from the CEO that says, “We’re pleased and excited about this event,” says CEO Pat Jones.
If you find you are guilty of these sins, write to me at email@example.com and confess your sins. I’m willing to conduct an intervention on your behalf… or should I say, “I’m pleased and excited to help you stop saying pleased and excited in a lead sentence.”
By Gerard Braud