Clarity of thought creates flow

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne.

-Ain’t that the truth!

I wrote a lot of documents in my previous work as a management consultant. If you think that was boring, think, for a moment, of what my boss had to go through – she had to review all of them. From proposals to presentation decks & speech drafts; the list was almost endless. The best thing about them was the lesson on getting clarity of thought and a smooth flow: come up with one-pagers before writing the draft.

Writing one-pagers (or half-pagers, in some cases) forces me to focus on the ONE THING that I need my reader to take away from the piece. Deciding what to cut out is always tough, but think of the outcome: your reader taking that desired call to action. Worth it, don’t you think?

Go back to the last document you wrote. It could be an email, a report or even a newsletter. How did you answer your reader’s question of:

“What’s the one thing I need to know about this thing I’m reading?”

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2 thoughts on “Clarity of thought creates flow

  1. Love this idea, Faz. Going to try it with the next thing I write (tomorrow!).

    It’s a very different concept from an outline, because an outline is the whole thing, in skeleton form. A one pager, in stark contrast, is the takeaway.

    It’s a different exercise with a different outcome. Can’t wait to give it a whirl.

    Susan

    • Thanks Susan. This one-pager thing started with an outline, before we realized that what we needed was a summary. A really good summary is very professional in its contribution to a good discussion. My former boss would start by asking me “what made you say this? or what did they say that made you think this is what they had in mind?” and more. It’s much more effective than the usual he-said she-said meeting recaps. Do let me know how you get on!

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