Who Holds the Power?

That is the question that has constantly been haunting us since high school. Whether it’s getting accepted to college, or getting your first internship. Now, with the end of your college career approaching, you might be feeling more and more pressure and confusion. You constantly feel out of control. I’m here to tell you you are……..n’t entirely out of control. We’re going to get you prepared and a competitive advantage with what you already have.

User Centered Design Again???

open-book-1417491 (1)Yes there’s more, last week I discussed user centered design briefly in my post titled UCD. However, I mostly centered (pun intended) the post around the visually aesthetic elements of designing documents such as the HATS technique. It was all about accessing information easily and quickly. This week I’m going to focus more on your audience. I’m going to tie together user centered design and rhetorical awareness. Purdue Owl speaks to both User Centered Design as well as Rhetorical Analysis. Both of these have proven to make better business writing for the past two decades. In business writing, we want to focus on the situation and the objective that needs to be obtained.

What’s the point of business writing?

To be persuasive in a professional manner right? I knew you could answer that one. But how does one be persuasive? By incorporating rhetorical awareness. Important aspects of business writing that rhetorical awareness focus’s on, once again according to Purdue Owl, are: purpose, audience, context, and stakeholders. With a clear focus on these five viewpoints, you’re sure to please and persuade. I believe you should be familiar with the first three categories. So I’m mainly going to focus on stakeholders, but first…

How can I be more persuasive? 

In an article by Street Directory, they refer to persuasion as an art, which it truly is. Some people do have a natural talent, but others have to work at it. Like anything you do in life, you have to practice practice practice. The article mentions the way you refer to others in business writing affects the power of it’s persuasion. For example, if you keep using words referring to yourself such as as ‘I’ or ‘me’ it’s going to make the reader subconsciously think that you’re selfish. The article then goes on to say, “good writing psychology requires that you present your message in light of the reader’s viewpoint rather than your own.” I don’t know about you, but this is a very valid point that would have never crossed my mind before I happened upon these tips. Other very easy tips to use are simply to be warm as well as have good manners.

Who holds the stakes?? 

The stakeholders, duh! Well yes, but who exactly are the stakeholders and how can you know?  In a company, for example, the stakeholders are the employees, board of directors, stockholders, customers, suppliers, and so on and so forth. In an article titled Consider Your Audience, you are encouraged to look at the different groups of users reading your documents. Additionally, it tells you that you must consider them at the beginning of your piece, not when you’re editing or many drafts later. That’s too late. There’s really know way for you to be sure exactly who is going to be affected by what you do and write. In an article by Suzan Maur, she says that writing to and keeping in mind  stakeholders is much more tricky and more of a challenge. Of course it’s a challenge, you have to think about everyone (or almost everyone) that’s going to be affected by your writing. That’s a long list of people potentially. By not focusing on your stakeholders, it makes for poor communication and relations. It’s kind of like the six degrees of separation. Potentially everyone in the world could read your writing. But let’s not get too out of hand, that’s super improbable. Let’s just focus on the small chain of people you KNOW are going to be affected and could view your writing.

Just focus and remain cautious and aware through this whole process. Make sure you keep your stakeholders in mind and practice the persuasion techniques above.

Published by

Zoe Golden

I'm a junior at Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder. I'm studying accounting and aspiring to be a CPA.

7 thoughts on “Who Holds the Power?

  1. I thought that you did a good job of keeping your audience in mind with this post. Right off the bat, you personalized your piece by referring to you and your audience as “we” and by referencing high school. It shows that you really do know where your audience is coming from and makes you seem more relatable. I also really like your “centered” pun. Personally, I love puns, and I think that including it made you seem more relatable and made the tone of your piece lighthearted. Overall I thought that the blog was very easy to read and enjoyable. Nice work

  2. I love how you chose to format your blog post. I personally find it helpful and insightful to start discussions off with a question so that the audience can ask themselves, form an opinion, and then read on the information provided. It is a fantastic way to keep the audience involved and attentive. I thought your writing style was awesome and it felt relaxed and also very educated. Your sources seemed to really back what you were saying and I really enjoyed looking at them. Overall, Great job on this post I learned a lot in the process of reading it!

  3. Hi Zoe!

    Thanks for including the link to your last blog is this post. I clicked on it and found each post to be full of some really thoughtful information. Had I not clicked on the link however, I appreciated how you gave a quick synopsis’s of your last post. This made the fluidity of your post and mentioning your last blog really thorough and well done I felt! Your catalyst into what exactly focusing on your audience means, from “what’s the point of business writing,” “how can I be more persuasive,” and “who holds the stakes” each brought essential elements to the table that aid in conveying the importance of audience to your audience. All around, well done!

    Thanks for the read,
    Tessa Snow

  4. Hey Zoe! I really enjoyed your post! I loved the elements of humor your threw in there. Those elements make it so much more personal! I also like how you linked your previous post in this one, it helped remind me what we have been talking about these past few weeks. In the stakeholders section you talked about knowing who you are writing for/to from the very beginning, I totally agree with this statement because without knowing the “who” it makes it difficult to address what actually needs to be addressed. Great job!

  5. Hi Zoe! I like your title a lot. It grabbed my attention and acts as an invitation to read your post. It definitely makes your reader want to know more. I like that you took the delineating approach and break your thoughts and ideas into different segments. I think it’s also a wise choice that you used questions as the guiding headers. By providing the questions and then thorough, detailed explanations as the answer, you really give a lot of good information for your reader to dissect. I liked you visual but wanted more throughout the post (but that’s just me being nitpicky). Overall great ideas.

  6. Hey Zoe!
    I really like how you start this post off by comparing your topic to other important events that occur in our life. It was an interesting way to approach it. You also give a sense of reassurance that they can control a lot of what happens to them, which makes a difficult topic easier to tackle. It was a good idea to link your post back to what you have already previously written. It makes for an easy, and smooth transition. You do a good job of using a relaxed but informative voice, and I like how all of your subtitles are questions. It makes it seem like those are the things the reader needs to sit down and ask themselves while writing. Good work!

  7. Hi Zoe,
    First off, good job on your post! Right off the bat I really liked how you set the tone for your entire post. You were very approachable and friendly especially by talking about how the question of who holds the power has been haunting you since high school. Your main points of going of user-centered design, the point of writing, how can I be more persuasive, and who holds the stakes were very good topics to choose to highlight.

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