[Notes from Ashish: One of the ground rules of a good product manager is the ability to write and articulate in the most precise manner. As an entrepreneur, let me tell you that writing is the first step to ‘getting it done’. It brings a lot of clarity to one’s thought and this guest article by Sanket is a must read for entrepreneurs.]
If you thought writing is only for the loners and the drinkers, think again. If you thought it is too time-consuming to type in sentences after sentences, correct the typos and then edit it all over again, think again. And before you think I am talking about writing copy for your homepage or for that print ad that you are putting thousands of dollars into, let me correct you. I am talking about writing as a means of putting down your philosophies, objectives and thoughts – on your personal blog, on your corporate blog, external blogs (like Pluggd.In), internal memos and newsletters, best practices PDF and the like.
In this post, I will take you through how writing makes a stronger and more confident you.
Makes you a clear thinker
When you are talking, you say that you will do A and it will lead to B. Everyone agrees. More so if you are a smooth talker. But when you are writing, you will have to say why and how does A lead to B? Do you have a concrete reasoning behind it? What’s your objective? You will have to put together the complete picture with facts and figures. It should make logical sense.
Now think of the same for business in general. In any business, there are more things than what ten clones of yours can do in days twice as long. What you need is a clear head. A clear setting of objectives. Yes, you can surely put together a todo list and start checking things off it but without a clear objective and a clear structure, you will not know where you are going. As a result, you wouldn’t have the same focus and motivation. As you write more and more, you develop a habit of setting clear objectives. You start excelling at seeing through that haze of problems. Through that pile of todos. And with the ability to put together the complete picture and not overlook things, going from conceptualization to execution would be a breeze.
Makes you learn more about the subject
A couple of months back, I sat down to do this post on how good looks are more than just eye candy. I wanted to talk about how lots of people think about design and usability as mere embellishments, and think that the product core is the be all and end all. Since good design and usability are a part of our very DNA, I thought I had all the necessary armor to get this done.
I started writing on how good looks build perception and credibility. I put together all my thoughts on it but when I was reading it, I realized that all it had was my thoughts. Do other people feel the same way? Is there anything else I can add to support my point of view? That’s when I started scouring the web for examples to support my point of view. And I learnt about this wonderful ATM experiment that was set up in Japan – two ATMs were set up in Japan, one more attractive than the other. People faced lesser problems with the more attractive one, and found the overall experience with it to be better. What looks better “works” better. I also learnt how mint.com used good design to build a credibility strong enough for people to convince people give their credit card numbers to a company with a dot.com in its name, not to forget all of their online banking passwords.
Today, I am so much more well versed on the subject than I was after reading hundreds of articles on the subject and a couple of books by very reputed authors. No matter what kind of writing you are doing, at the end of it, you will come out more literate than you originally were.
Gives you a reference to look back to
Let’s say you are a sales guy, and an excellent one at that. From your years of experience of talking to customers and closing deals, you have learnt what works and what doesn’t. Why not put all of that in writing? When you are putting it together in a doc, it not only makes you think through all your pointers and makes you even stronger, it also serves as a ready checklist that you can come back to later. It serves particularly well when you have been out of touch for a while, or get the feeling you are not getting your fundamentals right. And if you are the knowledge-should-be-shared kind of guy, you can share it with the team as well. They can’t thank you enough for it.
I have my list of writing fundamentals that I have assembled and built upon over time. Every time I get the “feeling” I revisit the list and get in touch with my fundamentals. And I come out of it stronger and more confident.
In my opinion, you should put down all your thoughts, guidelines and objectives in writing for reference. What are the criteria on which you judge the people you are interviewing? Why did you choose one marketing medium over the other? What are the basic rules governing your social media presence? Why did you choose that particular set of features for your next release? Heck, why does your company even exist?
When I started writing the post, I was simply writing about the benefits of writing. Then as I was writing, I realized that it is through writing itself that wisdom has been passed from generation to generation. Then I thought I will make it more specific by talking about how writing helps in business. Then I realized even that would be wrong as I am not going to talk about how it increases collaboration and helps spread knowledge. Finally, I settled on how it makes a stronger you. Point is, as I was writing this article, I learned so much as I explored different aspects of writing. I thought about it so clearly and fundamentally which would have never happened if I was randomly rambling about it. And all of this without even using any external resources.
Writing can do the same for you. If you don’t write, start now. If you do, keep it going!
[Article published under series called “Bring Your Own Insights”, where we bring selected guests to share their insights with Pluggd.in audience on a regular basis. We have always believed that our readers are amazingly insightful, so why not enable a channel for them to share their insights/experience with the audience? These guests will be from different industries and will share their insights on a very frequent basis. Presenting an insightful article written by Sanket Nadhani, who heads Marketing & Sales at FusionCharts.]