Avionics News February 2016 - 53
3. Leave your wife/husband/cousin/neighbor
out of this.
As an industry media and marketing professional,
whenever I hear, "I showed this to my wife (or
husband, cousin or neighbor) ...," I close my eyes
and inhale. Of course we appreciate the wise counsel
of outsiders, but I suspect the reason the new person
is brought into the mix is so the approver can imply,
"See? It isn't just me who thinks
this should be changed."
4. Play your position.
If you're the corporate legal
counsel, comment on legal issues. If
you're the dealer liaison, comment
on issues that impact dealers.
Human resources personal should
address HR issues, and so on.
You can start sentences with conjunctions (and, but)
and end sentences with prepositions (with, about, in).
You can have three-word sentences. You can have oneword sentences.
7. Make it better; just don't make it different.
There are 100 ways to write something. For example,
in a project I was recently involved with, someone
wanted to change "feel passionately
about aviation" to "are passionate
about aviation." Is there a difference?
I don't know. Is one better? I don't
IF YOUR DESK IS
know. But I do know this change
KNOWN AS THE
is not worth delaying a project.
What aggravates this is the email
PROJECTS GO TO DIE,
exchange of others in the approval
OR AT LEAST GO TO
chain discussing the pros, cons, and
precise and implied meanings of each
phrase. Of course, people involved in
approving the words may suggest a
better, more concise or clearer way to
make a point. But before you activate
"track changes" or grab your pen,
make sure your change is making the
words better and not just making the
YOU IN THE
5. Don't be a hand-wringer.
The most annoying, foot-dragging
person I worked with always
told me, as he delivered his
many inconsequential changes,
"I just want this to be good,"
accompanied by his cocked head
and sad puppy face. This line shut
me up for a while. Oh yes, we all just want this to
be good. The 20th time he used this excuse, I finally
fired back, "Yes, I want this to be good, too, but I
also want this to get done." Every so often, when I
get a postcard in the mail about a store's big sale or
an announcement for an event that happened two
days ago, I imagine the creative process - how many
people said, "I just want this postcard to be good?"
It's a great goal, but all the diddling with the copy
and layout caused the postcard to be mailed late. You
may disagree, but I maintain that B+ work done on
time is better than A+ work that's late.
6. Forget hard-and-fast rules from
your fifth grade teacher.
I once worked with someone who would remove all
contractions (don't, can't, won't) from copy. That's
because his fifth grade teacher told him never to use
contractions. In good copy, and especially in marketing
copy, most grammar rules are open to interpretation.
8. Keep this project in perspective.
As a marketing professional, I sometimes feel
remorse when I delete a commercial email without
reading it, flip the page without reading an ad,
toss an unopened direct mail piece into the recycle
bin, or otherwise ignore a project that a team
spent much time creating. One time, after weeks
of revisions and delays, I lost my patience with
a newsletter client. When you make so many
changes that you arrive back where you started, it
can be frustrating in a hurry. So I snapped, "This
is a newsletter. It's not the freaking Magna Carta."
However, I didn't say freaking - I'm a New
Yorker. Far from being angry at me, he laughed
and often repeated my own words back to me as he
got better at getting stuff done. Remember, it's not
the freaking Magna Carta.
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