How to Write An Article in 30 Minutes

Determine what you want the reader to take away. Identify 3-6 key points. Write a 3-4 sentence opening paragraph that is provocative or catchy. Discuss each point, including a story or example, sometimes a visual. Summarize with 3-4 sentences, including a call to action. Loop back to your introductory paragraph if you can. Come up with a title once you’re written the article. © Alan Weiss 2017


Succinctnacity

Our guide in Athens knew everything about the Acropolis, ancient Greece, modern Greece, the church, political matters, and art. Unfortunately, she told us about all of them when we really wanted to see and hear about the Acropolis! Over half of my college professors, through four degrees, told me everything they knew instead of what I needed to know. Every day I tell coaching clients to reduce verbiage in their speech and writing. I habitually say to people who are …


Are You Feeling What I Feel?

Be sensitive to the fact that on many occasions, you’re trying to influence, cajole, argue with or otherwise obtain something from a person who simply isn’t as bright or capable as you are. That person may be a gate agent, an acquisitions editor, a customer “care” representative, a government functionary at the DMV, or someone serving on a non-profit board with you. Just because you’re interacting with them doesn’t mean they’re peers or equals. They may well be nice people, …


Give Me the Ball, There’s Still Time

The Boston Celtics won their opening round playoff series after losing the first two of the best-of-seven games at home. They won the next four in a row on the road and at home. Now they’ve won their first game in the next series, for five playoff wins in a row. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl after being down a record number of points early in the third quarter. The Boston Red Sox won a World Series …


Failure Work

“Failure work” is work, as I define it, that’s being done because the original attempt was wrong, unsuccessful, or didn’t work. We all experience it, from the minor toils of recovering something we dropped to the major hassle of retracing our route because we took a wrong turn. It’s wise, of course, to try to minimize failure work and to take it in stride and learn from it when we cause it. However, it’s extremely self-undermining to do someone else’s …


On the Road Again

In Italy, almost every main road is only two lanes in each direction. And drivers stay right, except to pass. Rarely do you have to use your high beams. Everyone realizes that unless you get out of the way of higher speed traffic, the entire highway clogs and it’s dangerous. The system works beautifully. In the US, where many highways are three to six lanes, people clog up the left-hand (high speed) lane. Some are ignorant of the law, some …


Change and Retention

We can change things around us or retain them, from our residences to our friends, from our hobbies to our outlook. Those are choices. Yet we often allow retention to take place from shear inertia, and change to be foist upon  us by others. So we go to the same places with the same people out of habit, and we suddenly are forced to change when the client, government, weather, or our peers insist we do. Make conscious, reasoned, selfish …


To Tell the Truth

I can “sell” most people better than they can sell themselves. Why? Because they are accustomed to what they’ve done and don’t consider their experiences and accomplishments anything special. Write down your educational credentials, travel experiences, past work responsibilities, civic contributions, interests and hobbies, and accolades from others. Then create a profile as if they belonged to someone else. That exercise might just turn you into “someone else.”


I Can’t Tell By Your Face If You’re Happy Or Not

There’s a woman on the CBS morning news in New York City (6-7 am weekdays) who basically reads a teleprompter as her job. She doesn’t look real. He face doesn’t move at all, only her lips and eyes. There is no other sign of expression. Her lips look inflated. Her eyes look like they were done by an artist. Her hair falls perfectly but also doesn’t move at all. She seems quite pleasant and reads the news well. I’d bet …


Wait. Can you do it yourself?

Folks, if you’re a “success coach” shouldn’t you be, well, sort of, successful? If you’re a “life coach,” I’d think you need to, uh, have a life? If you’re a branding expert, shouldn’t you have a really strong brand? If you’re a sales expert, why do you need help selling? If you’re writing about how to reach executives, shouldn’t you be, like, in the midst of them? If I want to learn to ski, I don’t expect the coach to …