I never actually knew what the quote “time is money” meant until I entered the adult world. As a member of the millennial generation the concept of living in an “economic crisis” became very real the moment I left my childhood home and started attending the University of Colorado Boulder. With an average in-state tuition of 26,267 dollars, one can estimate that a single day of class costs about 75 dollars. As a millennial that values money and education, the thought of skipping class and essentially flushing 75 dollars worth of knowledge down the drain makes me cringe. If an hour of class costing 75 dollars does not say, “time is money,” I do not know what does.
This morning as I was groggily walking to my 9 am lecture there were multiple times when I debated on shamefully skipping class. Even the thought of sitting in the library and working on homework that is due next week sounded more appealing than listening to a guest lecture in a course that did not even give credit for attendance. However, with the mindset of “time is money” I decided to attend class and actively take notes in the lecture hall 150B of Hellums. Within the first 30 second of the guest lecture my peers and I were posed the question by the generation x speaker, “How many of you ask other for directions when you are lost.” As a reader, I would like you to please ask yourself this question. I personally could not raise my hand in the lecture to represent that I had recently asked someone for directions when I was lost; because I had not. The only “person” I had recently asked for directions was from my dear friend Siri, who is not even technically a person.
Now, I would like you to please think about navigating to a location that you have never visited without any directions, and no access to Siri for assistance. If you were asked to go to a completely random location, it would be near impossible without a map or human communication to ask for directions. Right?
Well, writing as a millennial professional who just entered the work force can be similar to finding an unknown location without directions. However, just as our dear friend Siri is always a reliable to source for directions, rhetorical awareness is a great assistance when it comes to writing in the workplace.
Though I mention rhetorical awareness in a recent blog post, I firmly believe that mastering this task is an essential skill to success in the business world. Rhetorical awareness is your Siri to professional writing!
I mean this because it is literally a map to workforce writing. Just as a map provides you directions to get to a location, rhetorical awareness allows you to write a cohesive piece that articulates your message to the appropriate audience. In the workforce, time is money therefore when writing professionally you must get to the point and not mess around. Do not waste your coworker’s time with poor professional writing skills!
To revisit the concept, rhetorical awareness is exact directions to get the attention of your audience and deliver you message in an effective manner. When writing a resume, cover letter, white paper, proposal, email, press release, or anything in between, you are always writing to an audience and a purpose for writing to that audience.
The key directions to business writing begin with….
Purpose: When writing this text, what on earth is the reasoning? What brought you to write this piece?
When you are traveling to another location that you have never visited, there is always a purpose. Maybe you are going to visit a friend? Traveling to fulfill a life long bucket list item? Going to get away form reality? Anything is possible!
And in 500 feet, turn left.. Direction #2:
Audience: To whom are you writing this document to?
When writing there is always an audience. Even when writing in a diary you audience is yourself. When writing an academic paper, your audience is your professor. When writing a resume, your audience is your hopeful educator.
Continue on rout…. Direction #3:
Stakeholders: When writing this document who will be effected?
An example of stakeholder writing in a document or project is here.
Almost at your destination: Direction #4:
Context: Why are you writing this document?
Context is when the writer understands why exactly you are writing this document to them.
Though these directions are not exactly presented to you through Siri’s super sassy voice, I am crossing my fingers that you are led toward success in the writing business world with these directions. Time is money, both for you and you future coworkers. Make the most of your time and theirs!