Selling ‘you’ to anyone comes down to a combination of things. But where it once relied heavily on ‘you’ being able to make a strong personal connection with someone, face-to-face, it is increasingly becoming more about the power of words; words on your website, in your blog posts, from your social media pages and within your proposals to potential clients. Yes ‘personal connection’ is still important but very often ‘persuasion’ first occurs online and relies on a combination of powerful imagery and words.
Because the wedding and event industry is so visual, one of the ways you can persuade someone to contact you, or hire you, is by injecting imagery into your words; descriptive writing. What does that mean? Simply put it means helping the reader to see, feel and hear what you want them to see. It is about helping the reader to experience something, rather than just telling them about it.
Here is a fantastically descriptive paragraph from David Stark’s book; The Art of the Party.
“As dark crept in, with the architectural icons of Istanbul glowing in the distance, guests stepped into an enormous tent that replicated the interior of a Genie’s bottle as exotic as any Aladdin ever saw. A ceiling festooned with dozens of different lanterns, each more beautiful than the one before, created a gentle firmament over dinner festivities. A gentle, cheery light, suffused the room and played softly off tables covered in vivid red tablecloths and small treasures from the Grand Bazaar. In the evening’s embrace, the brilliantly attired guests melded into the festivities with the giddy entracement of a whirling, dervish….” Pg 214.
Now this paragraph was written after the event, but with some re-writing for tense, it could easily become part of the pitch to a client before the event. Can you see how descriptive language takes you inside the event space and let’s you experience some of the magic? If I read this before the event, I would want to know more.
So what you want to achieve through your writing is for the reader to have a vision of what you are describing, as they read what you have to say. This will help you to sell your services to your potential clients, because the more they become part of the story, the more they experience it and want it to be their story. Being able to do this comes down to practicing the craft of writing and that is what today’s post is all about, giving you some practical exercises to help your words work harder for you.
Writing is a passion of mine and I have studied creative writing at University and done many creative writing classes. Despite that, I am still learning my craft and the only real piece of advice I have for you, is some that one of my teachers shared with me. I have never forgotten it and I know it to be true, because when I don’t write for a period of time, my writing suffers. When I write regularly, I like more of what I write, more often. The advice is actually quite simple; writer’s read and writer’s write. So if you want to improve your writing, read often and write regularly.
To get you writing more regularly and developing your own skills when it comes to descriptive writing, here are some exercises I still use as prompts for working on the craft of writing. Don’t be afraid to write badly. Most writers write a lot of words that are thrown out, before they write the words we all get to see. Writing exercises are designed to help you develop your skills, they are not a test. Take your time with the exercises too. Its ok to do the first attempt and come back to editing later. Let yourself consider your writing and spend time with it to get it closer to what you want it to be.
If you are going to be selling your services as a Wedding or Event Designer and Stylist its crucial that you can write descriptively about ‘spaces’. This exercise will help you to develop this skill. Go to a favourite place and write a description of the setting. The place does not matter. It might be your backyard, by the pool, a favourite room in your house, or your favourite spot in your local coffee shop. Ignore other people and what they are doing and talking about. Now, explain what the space looks like. When you have done that. Do it again, but this time engage your senses to write about what you see, hear, feel and smell. Later, edit each piece of writing until you feel that it describes it in a way that you experienced it.
Pick a book. Now go through the book to look for descriptive paragraphs. Write them out. It is important that you actually write the words down as they appear. This will help you to become comfortable with writing in this way. Now imagine you need to write a paragraph to go into this book. Choose one character and one place for them to be in and write your descriptive paragraph. Later return and edit it and then keep editing until it reads like a descriptive paragraph.
Describe yourself in one paragraph. As with the other exercises have more than one attempt at this and if you like write a version of you doing something you enjoy. Keep editing your work until it reads like a descriptive paragraph.
Writing is a craft and if you practice the skill you will get better at it. Exercises like these help so don’t be afraid to Google ‘writing exercises’ and find some more to try. If you have some suggestions for us, please share them with us in the comments.