How To Think Like A Reader With Ann Wylie

July 1st, 2010 | Shonali Burke | 8 Comments

Yesterday was a bit of a red-letter day. It was my husband’s birthday (and he thanks you kindly for all the good wishes, both here as well as on Twitter), which is a pretty big deal in and of itself.

Over and above that, though, IABC/DC Metro (y’all know I’m current president, right? Disclosure and all…) hosted a very special event: a three-hour writing workshop, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University (additional disclosure, I teach there) and Marketwire, with the renowned Ann Wylie, who promised to teach us all to “Think Like A Reader” and “Cut Through The Clutter.”

I’ve been a fan of Ann’s writing and teaching for years, but this was the first time I got to meet her in person.

Quite frankly: she’s amazing. She’s friendly, down-to-earth and has a fabulous dress style (and her hair is pretty fabulous as well).

As you may have seen, I live-tweeted a fair amount of her workshop (with Ann’s permission). There were so many nuggets that it’s tough for me to give you all of them, but here are a few:

  • “Irrelevant information is not benign; it hurts. It costs attention, and that’s one thing no one can afford to spill.”
  • “Would you put a stamp on it?” That’s a good rule of thumb to help you decide whether to send a communication or not.
  • The definition of a paragraph: cover one idea, and then hit “return.” So think about packaging your information into smaller ideas.
  • “Go from we to you. Stop talking about yourself. ‘You’ is the most re-tweeted word in English.”

If you haven’t already, you should definitely sign up for Ann’s writing tips via her free e-zine or, better yet, Revving Up Readership. And no, she didn’t ask me to say that; I really think you should.

Here are a few more tips from the master. I’d say “mistress,” but somehow that doesn’t feel right…

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Shonali Burke
Head honcho of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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  1. [...] really started thinking actively about things like this after attending a writing workshop by the oh-so-fabulous Ann Wylie (you really should sign up, if she’s teaching anywhere near [...]

  2. [...] Writing is one of those areas I believe is critical to good PR, because the written word – albeit sometimes through micro-blogging, sometimes through long-form – is how most of us first appear to our audiences. [...]

  3. [...] 4.We have some neat giveaways, including a couple of comps to GrowSmartBiz 2010 on November 5 (disclosure: I’m speaking, and Network Solutions, one of the hosts, is my client), and something very special from writing coach extraordinaire, Ann Wylie. [...]

  4. [...] 4.We have some neat giveaways, including a couple of comps to GrowSmartBiz 2010 on November 5 (disclosure: I’m speaking, and Network Solutions, one of the hosts, is my client), and something very special from writing coach extraordinaire, Ann Wylie. [...]

  5. [...] means getting into the minds of those they are writing for. They have to not just think like a reader, but think like a [...]

  6. [...] jotted down my impressions of Ann’s workshop a few days ago, and if you haven’t been able to attend one of them as yet, I strongly recommend you do so. [...]

  7. [...] details on the event can be found at: Waxing Unlyrical, Capitol-Cast. For additional writing tips, check out other posts on the Marketwire [...]

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