So far, the advice here has been….
- Know who you’re writing for – and write for them
- Be questioning and uncertain rather than assertive – be part of a conversation and not a lecture
- Short nuggets rather than beginning-middle-end walk-throughs
- Write to start conversations with useful people – get feedback from outside of your circle
- Blog in a purposeful way to find out things you don’t know yet
You add value to their observations or data – and you broaden the audience for it.
I’ve already used this quote from Flannery O’Connor in an earlier post, but it deserves a revisit:
‘I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.’
Think about what that means? Thinking in public allows you to show your thought processes and reduce suspicions that you’re being self-serving in your decisions.
So if something crosses your desk, blog it. Say “I’ve seen this – what do you think?” This is a particularly good thing to do with data.
Remember, the aim here is to create new conversations or give momentum to existing ones. It gives you something useful to eavesdrop upon. Consultations solicit demands – conversations are more useful. My friend Nick Booth put it perfectly:
“Blogging helps you find your voice, it helps you understand what you naturally believe in, and then challenges those beliefs. It exposes you to a global set of ideas and examples riddled with novelty and invites you to join a conversation, sometimes leading, sometimes following; sometimes learning, sometimes teaching.
It makes you accessible, encourages you to communicate in plain language, it requires you to stick your kneck out, expose yourself and learn from doing so. It works best when you are patient about building a valued network, curious about others people’s ideas, generous with your own.”
Add in personal touches – use your busy life as context. Know your own cognitive biases – when you see evidence, blog it, say what conclusions you’re likely to draw and let people understand how you look at things. And remember, it’s about making your work easier – it’s a productivity tool. If it doesn’t do this, don’t do it.
So what are you waiting for? The best way to learn is to start now – start small and just let a few friends mentor you for the first few weeks.