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Is there a “me” in empathy?

by on 9 Jun, 2011

 Well there is, but of course it’s reversed…

And that’s kind of the point.

Too many writers that I meet are still obsessed with what they “want to say”, rather than what their audience  may want to hear.

They also overlook the fact that writers have to earn their readers’ attention before they can deliver the main thrust of their message. There may be a fantastic point buried deep in your communication, but if I have to wade through a turgid opening paragraph or three, then I – indeed anyone – will probably never ever reach that exciting point in your piece.

I was reminded of this last week when I asked a student to read aloud a passage that one of their colleagues had written for their B2B target market. He willingly complied, and only after the first, or second, pause for an intake of breath, did it become obvious to them both that the sentence was way too long – over 50 words in fact.

Reading aloud is such a simple test, yet time and again writers submit copy that is overlong. They also make the mistake of assuming that the reader will wade through the content, no matter how dull the writing style. Why should they? Your reader ALWAYS has something better to do, or something else to distract him.

We advise people to concentrate on only two parts of the communication triangle – Message and Audience. The third element, you the Author, should fade into the background, and so not impede the connection between your reader and the point you’re making.

So really, there is no room at all for a me in empathy.

 

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