Tag: customer letters

Do as you would be done by: how to connect with your reader

Posted on January 14th, by Thomas Heath in writing. 1 Comment

One of my first jobs was as a cashier in a building society. At the counter, I came face-to-face with all sides of human nature — friendly, impatient, worried, aggrieved, confused or plain rude. It was tough, but I found that the best way through every situation was to treat people the way I like to be treated.

It’s the key to connecting with readers too: write as you’d like to be written to. But it doesn’t happen automatically, because writing media – whether printed or online – creates a physical barrier.

As a cashier I had to look customers in the eye and respond immediately. But when we write, because we‘re not face-to-face, we risk losing the human connection.

Skype, FaceTime and other media are helping to bridge the gap, but meanwhile new barriers are popping up everywhere, as written messages — mainly email … Read More »

Why you should start at the end, and why we don’t

Posted on November 20th, by Thomas Heath in writing. 11 comments

Remember science at school? That’s where I learned to dice rats, mix volatile substances, handle electric shocks and melt biros with a Bunsen burner. It’s also where most of us were conditioned to save the main point until last.

Writing up experiments was always the same: start with objectives, talk through the method (saying ‘this was done’, never ‘I did this’), set out the results, analyse them and … finally … give your conclusion. It was similar but more vague for essay subjects: start by saying what you’re going to say; say it, then say what you’ve said.

This format is ideal for Teacher, who already knows the conclusion and wants to see how well you’ve understood.

(Heath! See me about the Bunsen burner…)

But in the real world our reader won’t know the answer until we tell them. And they need to be told … Read More »