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Write to Gain Attention

An Interview with Steve Woodruff

by Rochelle Melander

Welcome to the blog, Steve. Tell us about your new book, The Point.

This book is the culmination of decades of in-the-trenches selling, marketing, consulting, and presenting. I’ve probably made every mistake known to the human race, but what I’ve learned is that there are simple, universal rules to crafting great communications that anyone can apply. This book explains that formula.

Your book covers four rules and eight tools for good communication. What rules or tools helped you the most in writing the book? 

The most vital rule is getting to the point—quickly. I believe that the most valuable communication tactic in all of business—dare I say all of life?—is winning attention. We have to let people know immediately why they should engage with us and what’s in it for them – or they will quickly move on to the next thing. Learning to front-load our communications with immediate personal relevance (for the audience) is how we secure attention.

One of the challenges writers face as we market our books is the amount of noise in the world. What have you found to be helpful in breaking through that noise to get an audience’s attention?

One of the most powerful tools I use is a judicious use of surprising, specific statistics. For instance, did you know that the human brain is processing 11 million bits of information per second from all 5 senses? And we can only focus effectively on one thing, which takes up 60 bits. So the initial hurdle we all have in breaking through the noise is realizing that we have to win the 60 vs 11 million battle for attention. Detailing exactly how noisy things really are breaks through the noise!

You do a lot of things! What tools did you use to set aside time to work on your book?

I made regular use of a couple of coffee shops over the months in order to get out of my home office and free my mind to concentrate. Also, for both of my books, I made sure to set aside a few days of “writing retreat” time in a beachfront setting in order to get larger chunks of content thought out and written. Does a getaway including salt air lead to greater creativity? I don’t know for sure, but it was helpful for me!

What are you reading now?

There is a lot of intensive heavy reading and research when creating a book, so right now I’m taking a pause and enjoying a couple of the light-hearted and informative volumes written by Bill Bryson. He’s funny, interesting, and easygoing. And I envy his writing skill!

About the author. Steve Woodruff is known as the King of Clarity. Thirty-seven years in the front lines of sales, marketing, consulting, and entrepreneurship has uniquely equipped Steve to guide others in the principles and practices of clear and effective communication. He has deep experience in corporate training and workshop facilitation for a wide variety of companies, from startups to Top Five pharma. Steve is the author of the business book Clarity Wins (2018), and the ground-breaking new book The Point (October 2023). He is the father of 5 grown men and lives in Franklin TN with his wife of 42 years.

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