It’s not about marketing, or SEO, or “going viral”. It is not about internal “enterprise social” or external “social media” It is not even about the platforms or tools on which you choose to write. It is much simpler and much more powerful. It is about developing our awareness, our communication skills, and our collective intelligence. It is about thinking harder and writing better. Blogging is a means by which to rediscover your voice, to learn to share your thoughts with others, and by doing so to help us all get smarter faster.
But most people find this ridiculously hard.
From an early age we are taught that there are correct ways of writing. Whether this is essays at school or business reports. There is a set way to do things and an expected use of language and style. We are taught to undervalue our own perceptions and perspectives. Individuality is frowned on. We are trained instead to defer to authorities outside ourselves. We stick to rules and style guides to ensure that our writing is acceptable. I even heard of a senior manager, involved in leadership development, being hauled over the coals because of the use of double spaces after full stops in her PowerPoint presentations!
The result of this distorted attitude to writing is people unwilling to think for themselves. People wary of sharing what they think and dismissive of the value of their own insights. So what should we do?
We are not going to change our assumptions about what makes “good” writing over night. They are based on deeply held beliefs that are inculcated in all sorts of subtle ways. We are also going to face an uphill struggle changing expectations of our business writing in reports or even PowerPoint presentations. But with a blog, a business blog whether internal or external, we have a place to play. We can make the blog our own and we can write with our own voice. We can learn to notice more and value our insights. We can learn to use plain language and say what we mean. We can write in a way intended to be read by others like us and in doing so encourage them to follow our lead. We can together raise the prospect of reinventing business writing – and not a moment too soon!