Action is eloquence.
Ready, Set, ACTION!
How to Say It in Cyberspace -- Bright Ideas for Communicating
The Net thrives on images. And as a visual medium, the Net is changing the way we write. If you want your writing to work on the Net, make it visual.
The Visual Magic Formula:
Use strong, active verbs. Active verbs act.. By acting, they create your story's (or report's)plot.. By creating plot, they make things happen. When things happen, an image is born. Kind of like the movies.
Make Friends with Verbs
Verbs supply the guts of every English sentence. Without them, a sentence goes nowhere: "Mary cake." "I you." No verb, no story. Try adding the words "baked" and "love." Suddenly your words have leaped out of the LazyBoy to tell a story.
Active vs. Passive
Most English verbs act: Love, hate, kill, hug, caress, stop. But one verb, the passive verb "To Be," just sits there: am, is, are, were, been.
Which would you rather hear?
- I love you. (active)
- I'm fond of you. (passive)
When you have a choice, choose an active verb:
Passive: Bill Gates is rich. (Just how rich is Bill Gates?)
Active: Bill built a house bigger than Windsor Castle.
Active: Bill conquered the largest share of the technology market and earned more money than General Motors.
When your words act, you help your reader see what you see:
Murky: I am interested in learning more about ways in which my consulting firm may be of assistance to your company.
Voila: I want to know how we can help you improve/ succeed/ accelerate / profit . . . . (the possibilities go on!)
If you want to write a winning sales letter, start with actions. Forget what your product is. What does it do?
First: Our product is the best.
Better: Our product outsells all the competition.
Also better: Our product has saved lives on three continents.
Still Stronger Even among active verbs, some act more visually than others.
First: He addressed the problem through a series of talks with leading officials. Active but abstract and weak verb
Stronger: He solved the problem by talking to leading officials.
Still Stronger: He stopped the problem. (Stop really acts -- it's physical.)
Details! We Want Details! The right verb contributes gory and glorious details, helping us visualize even more:
Blah: She experienced human resources issues.
Better: Her employees arrived late every day.
Wow! She fired six secretaries in three months!
One Last Thought:
Perhaps our language has no more powerful sentence than "I love you." It's the perfect English sentence:
- Subject ("I")
- active verb ("love")
- object ("you")
I love you. We can't hear it enough.
Love is a verb. We don't just feel it. We do it. We express it. We live it. Or at least we try. Not every sentence we write can match the power of "I love you." But they can try.
Other articles about communicating well in today's marketplace:
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