Thursday, July 2, 2020

Good writing, and a well-chosen word


What does one learn when reading great ..... writings? That well-chosen words are the way by which past deeds acquire meaning and future deeds acquire purpose.

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,” are the only false notes in the Gettysburg Address. The Battle of Gettysburg is etched in national memory less for its military significance than because Lincoln reinvented the goals of the Civil War in that speech — and, in doing so, reimagined the possibilities .....

[Great] writing doesn’t just provide meaning and purpose. It also offers determination, hope and instruction.
Bret Stephens
Now, I think it's reasonable to say that most writing coming forth from the PMO doesn't rise to the level of the Gettysburg Address in eloquence or conciseness, or engender the profound effect the Address has had on generations since.

Nonetheless, if the bar is more reasonably set at the level of "good writing" --- clear, concise, unambiguous, and purposeful --- then we should take to heart in all project communications that words do matter, and that choosing the right words should not be a task taken lightly.

I've often said that "good writing is not written, it is re-written", meaning: the first draft is just that: a draft. The published version is -- or should be -- more likely the draft re-written. [See: take a moment before you send that text or email]

But the point here is not so much to lecture about writing well; rather it is to make the point that in executing the first job of the PMO --- to communicate -- the PM should bear in mind the three big steps:
  1. Tell them what you are going tell them
  2. Tell them (enter: a well-chosen word)
  3. Tell them what you told them
Said another way:
  1. Establish the background, explain how the past got us here
  2. Lay out the task ahead
  3. Connect the dots to future goals
 "That well-chosen words are the way by which past deeds acquire meaning and future deeds acquire purpose"  ..... Well said!




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