How to Write

7 September, 1982

If everybody in our company took an exam in writing, the highest marks would go to the 14 directors..

The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.

Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.

Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

  1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing (Writing That Works, Harper & Row, 1981). Read it three times.
  2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgementally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
  5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
  6. Check your quotations.
  7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning – and then edit it.
  8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
  9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

(point terakhir menurut saya yang paling penting)

  1. If you want ACTION, dont write. Go and tell they guy what you want.

Diambil dari The Unpublished David Ogilvy. 2012. Profile Books Ltd. London.

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