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How to Get Your Boss
To Stop Second-Guessing You

Bosses like facts. Don't present your expertise as opinion.

When your doctor tells you some news, you listen. You don't debate, and you don't shoot the diagnosis around the table for feedback.

But folks second-guess the writer every time.


Because, unlike doctors, writers typically present their recommendations as "what I think" instead of "what I know."

And here's the thing: if what you write is nothing more than what you think sounds good, why shouldn’t your boss or client question it?

Why not get a hot take from the assistant, the intern, or the next person who walks by the door? If your work is just "what I think sounds good," your boss might as well pass it around. In fact, that's probably the smart play.

So how do you get your boss to stop second-guessing you? 

Stop presenting yourself as s stenographer with good taste.

Start presenting yourself as someone who not only can write well, but who can also make an easily understandable case for the value of the choices you've made.

A doctor knows things that the patient does not.
A writer must know things the client does not.

Just as a doctor knows things the patient does not, so must a writer know things the client does not, such as how to create a relationship between structure and comprehension, how to maintain someone's attention and why some techniques work better than others, when repetition is useful versus when it is distracting, how summaries can be phrased to enhance memory, how word choice must reflect not only meaning but also rhythm and sound, what kinds of edits are matters of taste and what kinds diminish the impact of the piece -- I could go on. You should be able to as well.

And if you can't, there's your problem. 

Learn to be a better writer and a better speaker.
Join Mike Long's The Magic Show.

If you don’t know the mechanics of what you write, learn them. Take a seminar. (Take my own op-ed course or join my site.) Read a book. Ask technical questions of writers who are getting paid to write. (Heck, I'll write you back if you write me.) If you don't know any writers you can ask, introduce yourself by email.

And anytime you are writing a document, ask yourself why you're making the choices you're making, figure out the answers, and try alternatives to see why they might work better or worse.

If all you know is what sounds good to you, why should anyone listen to your advice? Present yourself as an expert, not just someone with a good ear. And if you don’t have the expertise, start getting it.

Mike's Calendar
Topic Organization Date Location
Speechwriting for Military Writers and Others Georgetown University Aug 26-28 UNDERWAY
Creative Writing Georgetown University Sep 23 - Oct 28 (weekly) Online 
Register by clicking here.
Speechwriting: The Method & The Art Professional Speechwriters Association Sep 29 -
Oct 2
Register by clicking here.
PR Writing Series Trade Association October 1 Washington, DC
PR Writing Series Trade Association October 8 Washington, DC
PR Writing Series Trade Association October 14 Washington, DC
Emcee for Marketing Convention Private Nov 4 Washington, DC
European Festival of Political Rhetoric European Speechwriters Network Nov 6-27 Online
Registration TK

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Burke, VA  22015
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