Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lesson from the inaguration

One of many possible business writing lessons from President Obama's inaugural speech - where tone is concerned, sometimes less is more.

In this case, the President deliberately put aside his customary high-oratory flourishes in favor of a somber, face-the-facts tone, a tone that was created as much by his word choices as his delivery. Reason - it reinforced the message contained in the content.

Similarly, business writing is usually delivered with an up-beat, can-do high-business-atory tone. Why? Like high-oratory, it's usually effective, and who doesn't like to sound up-beat and can-do?

But take a lesson from the President. Sometimes the audience doesn't want high-minded oratory, it wants to hear the unvarnished truth, and wants to hire someone who's willing to roll up their sleeves at the 5,000 foot level.

As always, know thy audience. Obama knew his.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Exactly right about Obama's speech. Some in the media panned it because it lacked the passionate - near preacher level emotion, but I thought it really hit the mark. I watched the speech with a very conservative client who declared it the best political speech he ever heard. It clearly connected more broadly because of the right tone.

Pat Strother