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A mild homework assignment for those wanting to dip their toe in this genre!

The 'homework' idea got tossed about by Annie & others, but fizzled out. I still think it is a great idea, as a member asked to learn about the genre. I'm exclusively non-Academic, with the exception of my classes, so I'll forward an 'exercise' I give new Sales Engineers. I won't post suggested exercises that take a long time, don't worry.

There are only a handful of 'tried and true' methodologies (structures) to writing a compelling argument, which is all this kind of writing is. One of the simplest comes loosely from academia, surprisingly, and is a good way for those who can't yet see the finished deliverable in their mind's eye to still maintain the big picture as they go. Roughly, it goes:

1. Tell them what you are going to tell them.
2. Tell them.
3. Tell them what you just told them.

I have adopted this to be much more direct and useful, as in most cases you are presenting a compelling argument:

0. Describe what the Idea/Concept is, formed as a 'title' in a newspaper (1 "sentence"). Ex: "Technology Can Save Scallops During Deadly Annual Migrations"

1. Describe the Problem or Opportunity (1 sentence, never more than 3). Ex: "Each year, millions of sea scallops die needlessly at the hands of Filbert sharks, who wait in the historical routes. This drives up costs at the market, and will make them extinct by 2500CE."

2. Describe the Solution (again, no more than 3 sentences). Ex: "Hormone and gene therapy now exists that is proven to make the scallops big enough to fend off the sharks. The technology will not harm the sharks, but might make harvesting them somewhat more dangerous." <- Here I am introducing a negative by example, which you should really try not to do. The point here is one of my sayings: "Never give them enough information to say 'No'". This short piece is not meant to allow an educated decision, but reel the reader in, asking for more detail/clarification.

3. Describe the Solution Implemented (Same size requirements as above). Ex: "By investing in the Mega Scallopizer T3000, an entire region of starving people dependent on the sea for sustenance can eat for a year with one day's fishing. The excess scallops will serve to bolster their weak economies, and 'Scallop Wrestling' will drive eco-tourism to these desolate 3rd world locales."

Things to remember:
-This should read almost like a one-sided 'elevator pitch'. Here would be the other 1/2 of that conversation:

"So, what do YOU do?"
Adapt #0, reading like, "[I sell] technology [that] can save..."
"I've never heard of this problem. How bad is it?"
#1 should do as-is.
"Isn't there anything that can be done about it?"
#2 is a good answer, right?
"That should do the trick, then, right?"
#3 should be the 'closer'.

-It is best if taken from real life, unlike my example. You can even write about an existing problem/opportunity-solution you see/use every day in your doings.


So, can you write a few sentences in this format to describe and address a problem, or more interestingly, take advantage of an opportunity?

Please post (reply), if you like! :)

Comments

Interesting...

I think this is more an argument from the perspective of "sales" since it ends with a definite solution or the implication of one. In the end, it seems like a sort of lead-up that pulls the person through conflict and resolution (like a pastor who tells you you're going to hell in the beginning, then offers you the fix in the end).

It's interesting because I like to imagine the experience a reader has when they go through material and sales seems to focus on experience and emotion as well. A compelling argument would likely be one were emotions and experiences are either contested or in some way both endangered or questioned and rewarded, salvaged, or solved in the end.

Just my theory, but this was interesting.

And, by the way, you've got a really, really precise way of writing. Really crisp.
 
"And, by the way, you've got a really, really precise way of writing. Really crisp."

Thank you for writing, kaminoshiyo!

Oh, my! I'm glad you think that way! I think I'm like a drunk 18-wheeler driver...

"I think this is more an argument from the perspective of "sales" since it ends with a definite solution or the implication of one."

You have a keen eye-you figured it out fast! I think we're all in sales. Whether we sell the idea of our kids cleaning their room, getting a date, getting a job, convincing someone they are wrong and you are right, "my ___ is better than yours", and yes-even direct 1:1 selling.

I mean, what about 'suspending disbelief' in fiction? Isn't the author selling you the idea that the construct is real-or at least plausible? I think so! :)

Taking the advocate stance, I might be able to challenge you to find anything that isn't sales/selling. (I might regret saying that).

Please challenge me with another example that you think would be more appropriate. Seriously. I like challenges.

I just closed down a 28 page word doc on regulatory compliance... 'thou shalt' and ''thou shall not', etc. Man, talk about what most people consider painfully boring! I do it with real enthusiasm, because I know my client has that kind of enthusiasm for it. Besides, how much fun is something you dislike?

I taught myself in the service to put everything into the crap jobs (sometimes literally) they gave me. If I cleaned a bilge, it was the best job anyone had ever seen. If I didn't imagine some kind of personal pride, and looking forward to the positive feedback, I'd be one miserable bitch! So I've learned to do things for me-even if they are for you. :)

Lord, that got off-track pretty quick... I guess when I'm not writing 'logically', I'm like poop on a shoe-all over the place!

Looking forward to you challenging me to write about something a certain way, and getting more out of your welcome feedback, kaminoshiyo!

平和と忍耐
 
"I think we're all in sales." < My thoughts exactly.

Hmmm...something that isn't sales? I guess a hobby wouldn't be sales since you can't really sell something to yourself. Or can you?

I think anything between two or more people is a sale. We do things with others in exchange for something- material or immaterial- like company, attention, affection, adoration, security, money, etc... But the things we do for ourselves- maybe there is no sale in this.

I admire your attitude towards work. I would probably be more choosy if I could, but everyone has their path. If you find that you keep getting crappy jobs, don't do them so well, lol. They won't give them to you anymore.
 

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Yumi Koizumi
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