The “…the fuck…” exercise.

A study in getting to the point.

Think of the last time you had to write an About Us page. Or a FAQ. Or craft an elevator pitch.

The big challenge is coming up with a clear, engaging, and succinct description of your project.

The tendency – and the highly damaging tendency – is to rely on adjectives and buzzwords. The result is a message that fades into the background noise of crappy business prose.

So what’s the way out? How, as a writer, do you rid your message of all the nonsense?

It’s never easy, but try this out:

Rather than answering the question “What is your project?” answer “What the fuck is your project?”

“Who are you?” -> “Who the fuck are you?”

“What do you do?” -> “What the fuck do you do?”

Add the menace. The challenge. The nasty consequence of getting it wrong.

You’ll be surprised at how much clearer the question becomes. And how much shorter and convincing your answer.

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14 Comments

  1. Love this.

    One other useful exercise — answer the question:

    “How does your project (or product or service or NGO or whatever) help your customers *kick ass*?”

    Kicking ass is different than a lame old value proposition. It’s about helping smart, busy people do something awesome.

    “What the frak is Drumbeat? And how does it help you kick ass?” Kinda interesting exercise…

    Reply
  2. raks

     /  January 18, 2011

    who the fuck designed this blog? why are the columns so fucking small:

    Reply
  3. Great article. Now what the fuck else do I have to say? Nothing.

    Reply
  4. Very good… simple but true.

    Reply
  5. alexaclark

     /  July 11, 2011

    And after you write it, review it asking yourself “who the fuck cares?”

    Really helps with that final pass of editing!

    Reply
  6. rmlYEf Very true! Makes a chagne to see someone spell it out like that. :)

    Reply
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