TheWorldNewsOrg got a reaction from Queen Esther for a blog entry, Intangibles: Body language and attitude are important!
TheWorldNewsOrg reacted to TheWorldNewsOrg for a blog entry, Leonardo da Vinci's Hand-Written Resume
"Before he was famous... Leonardo da Vinci was an artificer, an armorer, a maker of things that go 'boom'," writes Marc Cenedella, on his blog devoted to job searching and recruiting advice. "And, like you, he had to put together a resume to get his next gig. So in 1482, at the age of 30, he wrote out a letter and a list of his capabilities and sent it off to [Ludovico Sforza, regent, and later Duke,] of Milan." (The letter, it seems, made a lasting impression; Ludovico would become a longtime patron of da Vinci's, and is remembered especially for commissioning The Last Supper.)
Included with daVinci's letter was a silver lyre of his own creation, sculpted in the shape of a horse's head. He references the lyre in item eleven of his missive, the translation of which appears below (a digitized copy of the original letter, at the end of the post:
Most Illustrious Lord, Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled contrivers of instruments of war, and that the invention and operation of the said instruments are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to any one else, to explain myself to your Excellency, showing your Lordship my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below.
1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy.
2. I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.
3. If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc.
4. Again, I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion.
5. And if the fight should be at sea I have kinds of many machines most efficient for offense and defense; and vessels which will resist the attack of the largest guns and powder and fumes.
6. I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.
7. I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.
8. In case of need I will make big guns, mortars, and light ordnance of fine and useful forms, out of the common type.
9. Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.
10. In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another.
11. I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.
Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.
And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency – to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc.
Humble, indeed. No, really. As Cenedella notes:
You'll notice [da Vinci] doesn't recite past achievements. He doesn't mention the painting of the altarpiece for the Chapel of St Bernard; he doesn't provide a laundry list of past bombs he's built; he doesn't cite his prior employment in artist Andrea di Cione's studio.
No, he does none of these things, because those are about his achievements, and not about the Duke's needs.
TheWorldNewsOrg got a reaction from Alexa for a blog entry, The One Unbreakable Rule in Business Writing
In business writing, there’s one rule you just can’t break: It has to be about the reader, not about you.
Most people understand this already, at least intellectually. They’re sophisticated buyers of products and services, and they use a similar lens to decide whether to read something: They calculate whether it will provide value to them. Yet when the roles are reversed and they’re the writers, they often forget this lesson — they’re smart buyers but irrational sellers. That’s because they see their writing, on some level, as a piece of themselves. They think it will confirm and validate their ideas.
This is what we deal with every day in the book-publishing company I founded. The authors we work with generally aren’t professional writers, but they want to share their ideas with the world. When we started out, we thought the most important service we could provide was saving them time in getting those ideas down. But more than that, we found, they really needed help seeing exactly what wisdom they have that’s useful to other people, and then framing that around their audience, not themselves.
So we developed a simple process to help people clarify their intentions and their positioning. It involves answering three basic questions:
Why are you writing this?
What audience do you want to reach?
Why will they care?
We’ve used these questions to help authors write more than 300 books over the past two years. I’m going to walk you through them so you can try them out yourself, whether you’re creating a business plan, drafting a proposal for a client, or emailing your boss.
Question 1: Why am I writing this?
Yes, this first one is about you, not the reader — but you need to start here to motivate yourself to serve the reader.
It might seem obvious that you’re writing for a reason, but how many times have you actually stopped and asked yourself what that reason is? If you aren’t honest with yourself about what results are important to you, your writing will fail.
Part of the problem here is that some results are things people feel uncomfortable admitting to. It might feel embarrassing or weird to say you’re writing an article to be recognized for your contributions to a field, for instance. But you’ll never get that if you don’t acknowledge it first.
A good way to keep yourself honest is to create a scenario that meets your stated goals but fails in other ways. For example, if you say your goal is to just have a book that you can put on your résumé and maybe sell at your current speaking gigs, then a question you need to ask yourself is something like this: “If the book sells no copies and gets no media attention, but it looks very professional and I can sell it at speaking gigs and put it on my résumé, will I be happy with that result?”
If you can honestly say yes, great, you’re done. If you hem and haw and equivocate, then you need to drill deeper and make sure you figure out what other goals must be included in this scenario for you to be satisfied with the result.
Question 2: Who am I writing this for?
No matter what your goals are, your writing must reach the right audience. So ask yourself explicitly who that is. Who has to read what you’re writing for you to get the results you want?
For example, if you want clients for your CTO coaching business, then chief technology officers (and the people who know them) are your audience. Your audience might only be one group, or it might be a few related groups of people. But the answer to this question is generally pretty simple, assuming the result you want is clear.
You can absolutely have multiple audiences for your writing, but generally speaking, the more audiences you try to reach, the less effective your writing will be.
This is really about narrowing the scope of what you’re trying to say. It is clear who the audience is for a guide to setting up a pop-up retail experience. It’s a small audience, but one who will be very interested in the advice. Often, the broader the topic, the harder it is to reach the right people. Let’s say you’d like to write about how to be happy. You might think everyone cares about being happy, and that is true to some extent. But unless you are really knowledgeable and already an expert about this subject and you have an angle that has never been explored, it will be very hard to convince people that your article or book about happiness — as opposed to the many others out there — is the one to read.
No piece of writing appeals to everyone, not even a Harry Potter book. You must be specific.
Question 3: Why will they care?
Think about yourself as you decide to open an email, click on a blog post, or buy a book. Do you ever consider the author’s concerns? Of course you don’t. You think about why reading this might help you — and that’s precisely what your audience is going to do.
So push yourself to describe the value you will deliver in clear, concrete terms. Try asking yourself what your ideal reader would say about your writing if describing it to a friend at a party. How would they sell it? What would they focus on? That’s a useful exercise, because often — particularly when you’re reaching out to a public, external audience — you’ll want to go beyond appealing to individuals’ self-interest and get them to share what you’ve written.
Generally speaking, people actively share writing (or anything) if it makes them look smart or successful, they got a lot of value from it, or it somehow projects an identity they want to broadcast to the world. People do not share things that make them look or feel stupid, project an undesirable image, or are hard to explain.
Think about how people will talk about your writing, and position it so that they will be likely and eager to do it.
Example: The CEO memoir
I’ll give you a specific example of how we took an author through this process. An entrepreneur and CEO of a large commercial plumbing contracting business wanted to write a book in order to raise his profile in the plumbing industry and drive clients to his business. He wanted the book to tell the story of how he built his business, the obstacles he overcame, and how he succeeded in the face of many recessions and bankruptcies.
There was a small problem: No one wants to read a self-congratulatory book about starting a plumbing business.
By Tucker Max
TheWorldNewsOrg got a reaction from Lebo4 for a blog entry, 15 Great Quotes on the Importance of Asking the Right Question
1. "It's not that they can't see the solution. They can't see the problem." - G.K. Chesterton
2. "There are no right answers to wrong questions." - Ursula K. Le Guin
3. "We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong." - Bono
4. "Ask the right questions if you're going to find the right answers." - Vanessa Redgrave
5. "Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers." - Robert Half
6. "What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question." - Jonas Salk
7. "What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." - Werner Heisenberg
8. "The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions." - Antony Jay
9. "In school, we're rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question." - Richard Saul Wurman
10. "In all affairs, it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted." - Bertrand Russell
11. "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." - Pablo Picasso
12. "Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers." - Voltaire
13. "We hear only those questions for which we are in a position to find answers." - Friedrich Nietszche
14. "My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions." - Peter Drucker
15. "He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever." - Chinese proverb