6 Techniques in article writing you can learn from Thomas Friedman

We live in a world in which communication has so much impact in our daily life. The person who knows how to effectively communicate his ideas to invoke a particular reaction from his/her listener has a great edge. Recently, I came across a video in which Tom Friedman was interviewed by Salman Khan from the Khan Academy.

I always admired Tom Friedman ever since I read his book “The World Is Flat”. If you are looking for somebody who has the real world experience to tell you about how to convey an idea, then Tom Friedman is the guy.

Here is what Thomas Friedman thinks as in his words, “6 kinds of column”. I believe the same rules can be applied for any sort of written communication, be it a blog or an article. So what are the 6 kinds or columns? As per Friedman, If you get any one of these reactions from our reader, then you have a column.

1. I didn’t know that.

The first kind is the one which a reader reads your column and goes “I didn’t know that”. In other words, telling/reporting something that no body has told before.

2. I never looked at it that way.

If you present already known issue in a completely new perspective which has the potential to make the reader think, then that can be a successful column.

3. You said it exactly the way I felt. God bless you.

This kind of reporting strikes a chord with your reader. Most people do not have the gift of expressing their thoughts in the right words. The kind of “right words/expressions” which will preserve every little ounce of the way they felt about that situation/incident. Your readers will love you for it if you are able to pull that off.

4. I want to kill you dead, you and all your offspring.

You generally get this kind of reaction when you don’t jump on the “Popular ” band wagon and decide to go against it because you believe that it is right. It might not be what others want to read. But there are two benefits for this. Firstly, you can be content that you voice your true opinion and secondly, these kind of articles can earn you lot of (negative) publicity. But as some of you know, there is nothing called a negative publicity.

5. You made me laugh / You made me cry.

Very difficult to pull this one off. Very rarely people have the skill to consistently deliver an article and invoke the above reaction. When you do it well, it really works. When you miss it, like bad humor or bad sentimentality, you basically lose the reader.

6. You challenged me.

This is when a columnist/author challenges his own reader. In my personal opinion, if you are doing this correctly, it can be a great education for yourself and your reader.

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