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How to write simply and get your point across

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Andy Black

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Chris asked how I explain things simply, and Mattie asked how to not ramble when writing.

I can definitely ramble, but hopefully this ramble will help budding copywriters or entrepreneurs.

 

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Thanks Andy!

Amazingly helpful, the way you're showing while you're telling. (With the intro, "why" into "tactics" and story style.)

I found Insanely Simple by Ken Segall gives a great system of techniques and tactics Steve Jobs used to simplify.

As people say Mark Twain said, probably translated from Blaise Pascal:
“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter."
 
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devine

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Simple is GOLD.

If your words are targeted at clueless audience, the idea is to make them catch first, then bring in the details.
I work with kids a lot and the first thing I try to do is pick up what they are most passionate about, what makes them fascinated immediately, then they ask questions themself. 7 year old kids that I work with understand how their voice works, much better than regular 50 year old vocal teachers do. How I'm so sure? Because they can explain it in 10 seconds.

Simplification is explained and discussed all over the book called "Made to Stick" by Dan & Chip Heath: http://heathbrothers.com/books/made-to-stick/
A must-read book for everyone who takes his work, business and life seriously.
 

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#AndyTalks 022 - Simple explanations

Chris asked how I explain things simply, and Mattie asked how to not ramble when writing.

I can definitely ramble, but hopefully this ramble will help budding copywriters or entrepreneurs.


I couldn't have put it better myself, great minds ! ;):)
 

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#AndyTalks 022 - Simple explanations

Chris asked how I explain things simply, and Mattie asked how to not ramble when writing.

I can definitely ramble, but hopefully this ramble will help budding copywriters or entrepreneurs.



Looking for some aw-shucks, down-home wisdom from a good storyteller? Yes!

Looking for a good lead-in technique to use on your landing pages? Yes!

Looking for the best way to give directions? Yes!

Watch the video at the top of this thread!


Great thread, Andy, but then if it wasn't great, it wouldn't be your thread.

Keep rambling!

'57
 
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Andy Black

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Looking for some aw-shucks, down-home wisdom from a good storyteller? Yes!

Looking for a good lead-in technique to use on your landing pages? Yes!

Looking for the best way to give directions? Yes!

Watch the video at the top of this thread!


Great thread, Andy, but then if it wasn't great, it wouldn't be your thread.

Keep rambling!

'57
Ha. I should get you to write my copy!

Thanks for watching (and applying) @FiftySeven
 

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#AndyTalks 022 - Simple explanations

Chris asked how I explain things simply, and Mattie asked how to not ramble when writing.

I can definitely ramble, but hopefully this ramble will help budding copywriters or entrepreneurs.

Thank you. My takeaway.
Show don't tell.
Tell stories because people like stories.
Start with something they agree with and work your way up.

Edit: Also The most important takeaway is that your aim should be to make sure the person being explained to understands the explanation and that fancy words and being "clever" does not accomplish this.
 
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devine

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"People like stories"

People are fed up with stories.
Let them experience things.
 

arfadugus

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"People like stories"

People are fed up with stories.
Let them experience things.
I think they like stories because the get to experience it in a way. I don't think people are fed up with stories. Please elaborate.
 

devine

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I think they like stories because the get to experience it in a way. I don't think people are fed up with stories. Please elaborate.
Story = "I want to be heard" (c) Storyteller.
Experience = "I want to experience it" (c) Audience.
Story is yours. Experience is theirs.

Whole internet is flooded with stories. Most of them are generic, uninteresting and tl;dr. Every company, every aspiring entrepreneur that don't have anything valuable to share, every rat from every whole has written at least a couple - people become blind to it.
Great infographics on topic: http://www.slideshare.net/dougkessler/crap-the-content-marketing-deluge
 

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arfadugus

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Story = "I want to be heard" (c) Storyteller.
Experience = "I want to experience it" (c) Audience.

Whole internet is flooded with stories. Most of them are generic, uninteresting and tl;dr. Every company, every aspiring entrepreneur that don't anything valuable to share, every rat from every whole has written at least a couple - people become blind to it.
Great infographics on topic: http://www.slideshare.net/dougkessler/crap-the-content-marketing-deluge
I think op meant stories that get the point across. Not stories that are told for the sake of the storyteller. We already know that you need great content. Maybe you should watch OP's video again.
 

devine

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I think op meant stories that get the point across. Not stories that are told for the sake of the storyteller. We already know that you need great content. Maybe you should watch OP's video again.
That's the thing, you either make it a story or make it an experience, there is no inbetween. You can add one to another, but positioning has to be right from the very start, otherwise it's waste.
People need to understand things accurately on point, otherwise you're not in control of what you create.
 
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Andy Black

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Stories sell.

Simple sells.


I can't even remember doing this video. In a few years my kids can learn from these. This is legacy and I should start doing these again.

Some people don't like all the jump-cuts. Some people don't mind 'em. I didn't notice them when I was watching it.
 
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Andy Black

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I thought this chat this morning was relevant. I was discussing how I write most of my forum posts on my phone.

28878
 
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Andy Black

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@Bekit

This video is an example of one I created going for a walk and using the Snapchat app. I’d download the Snapchat story that evening and post to Youtube. I could have then sent the URL to rev dot com to get a transcription, and then posted the transcription plus video on a blog page, on Facebook, to LinkedIn, etc.
 

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This might also be interesting in this context:

Politics and the English language - George Orwell

For someone who is in the process of learning English and trying to improve his writing skills (as I am), this is a very decent guideline.

Excerpts

"Never use a long word where a short one will do."
"If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out."
"What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way about. "

 

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Andy

I was waiting for your story to develop as follows. (For future potential clients on the power of testing)

Your instructor had 6 ways to teach learner motorcyclists how to turn in the road, which could take up to 1 hour until the whole class had mastered, and you suggested he test the order and note the results.

He now starts with the 'jump on the back' method which led to 100% of learners mastering within 15 minutes instead of the 1 hour which leads to more road time, happier learners, more references, &c, &c :)

Here is a nice 90 second primer on story telling from Kurt Vonnegut.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmVcIhnvSx8


Dan
 
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Andy Black

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Andy

I was waiting for your story to develop as follows. (For future potential clients on the power of testing)

Your instructor had 6 ways to teach learner motorcyclists how to turn in the road, which could take up to 1 hour until the whole class had mastered, and you suggested he test the order and note the results.

He now starts with the 'jump on the back' method which led to 100% of learners mastering within 15 minutes instead of the 1 hour which leads to more road time, happier learners, more references, &c, &c :)

Here is a nice 90 second primer on story telling from Kurt Vonnegut.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmVcIhnvSx8


Dan
Ha. That would have been a great conclusion to that story. All those years ago I certainly wouldn’t have thought about suggesting he start by getting people on the back of the bike.

I can imagine why they don’t do that. Not everyone makes a good pillion, especially at low speed.


Thanks for the video share. I liked the storytelling tip of “Start as near to the end as possible.”
 
D

Deleted69685

Guest
This might also be interesting in this context:

Politics and the English language - George Orwell

For someone who is in the process of learning English and trying to improve his writing skills (as I am), this is a very decent guideline.

Excerpts

"Never use a long word where a short one will do."
"If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out."
"What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way about. "


Excellent recommendation. Don't you find George Orwell's books inspiring?

I would suggest one other brilliant read on this subject.

The Art of Plain Talk by Rudolf Flesch - published in 1946.

Someone posted free copy on Google here is the link.


Enjoy.
 
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Be short. Be simple. Be Human. - Sir Ernest Gowers
 

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D

Deleted74396

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OK I'm going to start making things more simple :p That was a very useful 8 minutes! My problem is sometimes I explain things all the ways, all at once. Good job I'm not teaching 6 ways to do a U-turn on a motorbike!
 

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