Hey! You! See? So…

I’m reviewing an article from a long-time colleague who’s just started to write. He has great ideas. And the way he’s packaged his ideas (the writing part) doesn’t do justice to them.

There’s a mnemonic* I use (when I remember 🙂 to help me package my ideas better. It’s Hey! You! See? So…

Hey! grabs the reader’s attention. It can be a sentence, or an idea, but the readers need to see it within the first couple of sentences, so the reader will continue reading.

You! means how does this idea affect the reader? What about this article/idea/book–whatever the writing is–makes it relevant to the reader?

See? is the example piece, the part where the author helps the reader see what the author is talking about.

So… is what you want the reader to do about this once he or she is done reading the work.

I first learned about this from Mark Weisz, who said he learned about it from someone else (whose name I have forgotten) on the old Compuserve forums (which I didn’t know about or participate in).

If you’re writing anything, remember Hey! You! See? So… and your readers will remember your writing.

I appreciate Keith Ray who knew what word I meant (mnemonic) instead of the word I used (pneumonic) 🙂

3 Replies to “Hey! You! See? So…”

  1. “Hey, You, See, So” was an approach used by Readers Digest making that journal indispensable in the homes of American families before the modern information age. The approach was so effective and concise that folks would talk for weeks about stories they had read. I first saw this taught as a style approach by a professor in the College of Engineering at Arizona State University in the 1970s. He felt executive decision makers were too busy to consume either scientific research papers or English creative writing styles–the two main styles taught in education even today. As a General Officer in the Air Force for 32 years, this style has been the approach I’ve taken to writing volumes of national security policy papers throughout my military career in the Pentagon and at the State Department. It is a powerful approach–it connects.

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