John F. Kennedy took a passage from a speech by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and made it forever memorable by using a device known as parallelism. Holmes said it this way in 1884: “…[W]e pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return.”
No, I do not find that they have above average writing skills. By writing skills, I’m referring to punctuation and grammar, certainly, but also voice and tone and tempo as well as organizational structure and editing. Unfortunately, from my point of view, teachers/professors of non-writing classes who require writing in their classes don’t have the skills, time, or interest in helping improve a student's writing as part of a writing assignment. They are typically focused on the subject matter. So, we are all left with leaders at all levels of an organization who lack the ability to express themselves effectively. On the upside, it gives those of us who excel in communications a legitimate entry point into helping shape the persona of the company or executive or Initiative. The good news for those who want/ need self-improvement is that resources are readily available.
Can’t overstate the effectiveness of this technique! I’ve penned thousands of quotes, letters, and remarks for leaders over my career, and this is certainly a go to. Thanks for including practical comms tips like this for leaders and those who help them be their best selves!
In my time as an executive at Ford Motor Company, our comprehensive turnaround plan was short-hand articulated in parallelism: One Team. One Plan. One Goal. One FORD.