Drafting and writing communications for Senior Management is a common task for Business Communicators. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for some very competent writers to panic in the face of these assignments.
Granted, it is understandable when writers experience some angst when writing for anyone in authority; however, effective communicators have learned to rationalize such tasks as being no different from most other Business Writing assignments.
A good way to look at Ghostwriting is to view any formal communication prepared on company letterhead as the voice of Management. And this holds true whether the communication is signed by a CEO or anyone else in an organization, even the writer.
Obviously, extra thought and preparation is usually required when writing for someone else, but the process is logical and straightforward. In this regard, keep the following five tips in mind when beginning a Ghostwriting Assignment:
1. If you are being asked to draft a document for someone, logic says you should try to get a feel for how that person normally communicates.
Read past communications from this person. Talk with others who know this individual. Better yet, try talking with this individual yourself.
2. Remember to always write the way you normally write, and refrain from mimicking an other’s writing style.
Feel free to include a unique characteristic or two of the signatory’s normal writing style, just do not overdo it. You are not trying to write a parody.
3. Write from your head and not from your heart.
Senior Managers project a certain style and image, thus it is important that you draft a communication that is consistent with these qualities.
Some writers may feel stifled by this, but writing what is expected and customary for the signatory will preclude a lot of unnecessary frustration and re-writes for the writer.
4. Choose your tone and language carefully.
Ask yourself, is my approach too formal or too casual for the person I am writing for? Also, am I using terms or phrases that would be totally out of character for the person who will be signing the communication? If you are not sure, then you haven’t done your homework.
5. Be prepared to make revisions.
Your draft will no doubt go through several revisions before it is finalized. Keep in mind that a draft is a working document and changes are to be expected. This is all part of the normal Writing Process, so do not take initial rejection personally and, by all means, do not feel threatened.
The upshot is that writers should welcome a Ghostwriting Assignment is an opportunity to provide a framework for decision-making. That said, be confident and have faith in your own skills and talent to complete the task. After all, these qualities are what probably got you the assignment in the first place.