How to Waste Your Reader’s Time (or how not to)

The following is an excerpt from our occasionally-annual “Three and a Triage.” To get the whole story, visit Three and a Triage dot com

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HOW DO YOU TELL A STORY PEOPLE WILL BE INTERESTED IN?

Presenting them the dots to connect and getting the dots just far enough that they want to connect them, but not too far that they don’t know how draw the line.

HOW DO YOU TELL A STORY PEOPLE WILL BE INTERESTED IN?
Good timing.

HOW DO YOU TELL A STORY PEOPLE WILL BE INTERESTED IN?
One feeling at a time.

HOW DO YOU TELL A STORY PEOPLE WILL BE INTERESTED IN?
Help them see what you saw.
Help them feel what you felt.

HOW DO YOU TELL A STORY PEOPLE WILL BE INTERESTED IN?
You don’t. You tell the truth.

Before we jump in, let’s talk about what we’re setting out to answer. This question of “how to tell a story people will be interested in” also has an unwritten second part to it: How to tell a story people will be interested in that will also be useful in some way.

Anyone can tell a story. But not all stories are informative.
Anyone can communicate information. But most information is not memorable.

We want to achieve both.

Nothing is promised in this world. Most especially anyone ever reading your copy. Actually, let’s make that point number one.

Point number one:    If you’re going to take the time to write something, or write anything for that matter, and you expect someone else to read it, don’t waste your reader’s time or your own time.

If it is important enough to warrant that budget someone put the work in to get approved, your effort and time to think it through and write draft after draft, probably someone else’s time to edit at least a few of those drafts—and if it is expected to interrupt some stranger’s day (often times not by choice), and to not only stand out, but also deliver a persuasive message, ultimately driving someone to act in some way (oftentimes requiring some exchange of that person’s hard-earned, already taxed income), you should probably try your best to make it worth all our whiles while you’re at it.

To learn points two through infinity, visit Three and a Triage.com.

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