Talk Less, Write More

“If you just market to them differently at the top of the funnel, they’ll be more qualified when they get to the salesperson!” I said emphatically.

Greg chimed in, “Yes! Exactly, just get the email series set up and provide value at every step of the process, and before you know it, they’re ready for a demo!”

We were both going back and forth, a million miles an hour. Tim, our poor marketing manager, could hardly keep up, furiously taking notes on his iPad.

“And then, make sure the emails are broken out by sector so that the value they receive is even more relevant,” I couldn’t help but throw out there.

Ah, talking, it’s so damn easy. Everything sounds good in the abstract. Poor Tim, he never stood a chance.

All these ideas we were throwing at him…he couldn’t execute on them. Why? Because they weren’t real, they were simply thought bubbles emanating from our heads. There was nothing tangible too them, and even if there was, it’s not like they were measured or refined. Talking is easy. Thinking is hard. Writing is the happy (and necessary) medium in between.

How writing empowers others

Written instructions go a long way. Don’t take my word for it, academic researchers have studied it. A 2004 paper discusses how written and verbal communication increases knowledge and satisfaction over just verbal instruction.

Empirically this can be confirmed too. When was the last time you were excited that your boss told you what to do something without any written requirement or expectations? Yeah… How about when those requirements and expectations were written down? Did you get more satisfaction out of that experience?

Writing is a tool you can use to support others. If you’re in a leadership role, it is imperative you take the time to write down what you want rather than just shout it at someone. The anecdote from above (poor Tim), is a tragic reminder of how lost, dazed, and confused people can get when everything occurs in the abstract. If I had taken the time to write down what we were looking for, then paired that with our conversation, I would have set Tim up for success. Instead, I babbled at him and left the room. Writing isn’t that hard, it’s just a bit of work.

Why writing more and talking less is important

I want to get more done in less time. It’s pretty plain and simple. 50-60 hour work weeks at my age can be fun, but man-oh-man, they can be exhausting. If written communication forces me to present only my best thoughts and ideas, than that is something I am willing to subscribe to.

I want the teams I work with to be “on the same page.” In the absence of written communication, I’ve seen many teams get discombobulated and confused. When written expectations and requirements are in place however, I’ve seen teams execute in ways that no individual could ever do on their own.

Think about it, writing takes time, editing takes time, even the act of sharing what you’ve written takes time. If you have an idea that you aren’t fully committed to, it’s likely you won’t do the due diligence necessary to move it forward (write, edit, review, share). However, in instances where you know you are on to something, you’ll take the time to thoughtfully write about it.

Look at Jeff Bezos at Amazon. He too has come to this conclusion (or at least something similar). Why else would Amazon require multi-page memos be written in advance of company meetings? If you’ve ever been to a workplace meeting you know exactly why — because they’re generally a waste of precious time!

Is writing easy? No, not at all. Is writing worthwhile? Absolutely, yes.

At MarketSmart, I’m working diligently to write more and talk less in 2019. My hope is that I’ll be able to instill that in our culture.

What is your take? Do you find writing to be more productive, or are you one of the rare few that finds abstract conversation the most efficient way to convey information?

About the author

I'm Zach Shefska, welcome to my personal website. I'm currently working on CarEdge. I like to travel, write, and make pottery.