You know that feeling when you’re standing in front of a room of people and can’t remember the very important thing you were supposed to tell them?

It’s horrible isn’t it? And it happened to me recently.

I was in front of 20 people, setting them up for a writing exercise. They were champions preparing to spread the new tone of voice around the business. I’d carefully planned the training and knew what I wanted to say. And part of it was a writing method I’d used loads of times.

When a method works but the name doesn’t

We were using the method I put in my ebook, Cut the crap. How to write so people buy. If you’ve read it you’ll know it’s an approach I’ve used to train over 35,000 people at some of the world’s biggest brands, including Vodafone, Allianz and Google. It’s the simplest way to get clear and engaging writing and we called it Who? What? Why? Where? How?

The approach works but every time I started to say it I stumbled. It should have been easy – five simple questions to structure thinking. And yet, I couldn’t get it to come out of my mouth in the right way.

I came away from that day determined to re-think. I realised if I can’t say it then no one can. And if they can’t say it, they can’t pass it on. It won’t get used. It won’t stick.

It needed to be memorable

I went back to basics – how could I rename the method in a way that would work for me and everyone I was training? And after a lot of thinking, team conversations and many post it notes afiatone was born.

afiatone is simple:

Audience – who’s your reader?
Focus – what do you want them to do?
Inspire – what’ll hook them in?
Arrange – how will you tell your story?
Tone – how will you sound?

The only way to know if I was onto a winner was to try it with the champions. And it worked. We’re working with them on writing coaching and now they always send us an afiatone brief. It makes their thinking clear, with each communication carefully thought through. And the result is writing that miles better.

I’ve edited the Cut the Crap ebook and you can download for FREE now.

Or come and learn the method LIVE with me

On 19th Sept I’m talking at PSA Thames Valley in Reading, sharing this method. It’s an active workshop, no listening to me drone on for hours. You can grab a ticket here. And drop me a line if you’re coming along so we can catch up on the night.