Just the Facts, Ma’am

BBL COVER - VERSION 3AGreetings and welcome to my Day 4 post in the Authors’ Blogging Challenge. Today’s prompt asks about writing role models, influencers and mentors.

Edited documentI learned to write nonfiction material during my 30 year tenure as a federal employee. Initially, my writing was in the “college essay” style which was not effective in providing information concisely. After getting many drafts back with lots of red edits, I realized that I needed to change my style. I moved into the “just the facts, ma’am” style of writing where I could logically and succinctly present facts.

Just the facts

Then it started to get interesting. I was asked to do analysis and present recommendations for action. While I wanted to incorporate descriptions and phrases to really tell the story, I learned that there was no place for that in governmental analysis. I call this phase my “White Paper” stage (a small concession to an artistic flair).

As a manager and subject matter expert, I spent considerable time in constructingpolicies and procedures 1 policy and then developing the Policies and Procedures to implement the policy. That was another a totally different skill and I am proud to say that my documents had no resemblance to the instruction manuals we sometimes receive translated into unintelligible English!

These skills were very transferable to my non-fiction writing quest. The most significant difference is that most of my other writing had a deadline and the broader topic was provided.

In writing for myself, both the deadline and the assigned topic are missing.

Challenge 2And that has been my biggest challenge – what do I write, who tells me to stop writing, and how do I keep the motivation to keep writing?  In future posts I’ll share what has helped and what did not.

Tip of the Day

Your body language can affect your mood, your clarity and effectiveness and the sound of your voice.

When I coach individuals who work remotely or conduct business via conference call (not video conference) I ask them to consider each call a face-to-face meeting and act accordingly. This means getting dressed for work – you should dress in at least business casual attire. This sets the stage for professional body language.

In setting up a work space for conference calls, have a mirror positioned so you can see yourself while on the call. Before the call starts, stand up tall, take four or five deep breaths, and smile, smile, smile. Use a headset while on the call, and if possible stand while you are speaking (no pacing).

Smile 1

This body language preparation will improve your message and your delivery in your remote communications.

Remember– great posture + deep breathing + smiling = a great message.

Regards, Barbara

The Body Language Pro


2 thoughts on “Just the Facts, Ma’am

  1. Working mostly by phone, I find you tips on target. Pacing is a weakness. A close colleague once caught me up short by asking, “Whatever else that is that you are doing, please stop.” Got me! In more ways than one.


  2. Working mostly by phone, I find your tips on target. Pacing is a weakness. A close colleague once caught me up short by asking, “Whatever else that is that you are doing, please stop.” Got me! In more ways than one.


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