Beauty in the Written Word

Lately, I’ve had the privilege to work with a number of professionals on what I call “Executive Presence Coaching.”  Essentially, this topic is all about how we are perceived as professionals.  It is a subjective measure of the way we act, the way we communicate, and the way we look.  In all cases, aesthetics matter.

When our work is imbued with beauty, it is warmly received.  Others have a strong, positive feeling for it.  They want more of what we have to offer.  Considering how important it is to be able to communicate in writing to convey a message and instill it with meaning – coupled with the fact that I’ve been doing quite a bit of writing of late – today, I want to focus on the power and beauty of the written word.

You know, I can write, but growing up, it never would have occurred to me that so much of my professional life would revolve around written correspondence – in the form of memos, white papers, letters, thank you notes, contracts, et al.  And, I’m well aware that the format and medium is also a factor – formal documentation vs. casual memo, typewritten vs. handwritten, beautiful stationery vs. Post-It Note, etc.  There is a time and place for each one.  As such, I want to call your attention to two of the most beautiful “writers” I know:  My dear friends, Leslie Mark and David Westbrook.

Leslie Mark is a freelance calligrapher whose passion is lettering, design and creative enhancement of ritual expression.  Having known Leslie since I was 18 years old, I have been the proud recipient of dozens of cards, letters, notes, and invitations hand-lettered by Leslie over the past three decades.  Through the years, no matter what the correspondence has contained, I’ve kept them all, even the envelops, because they are exquisitely beautiful.  Leslie has used her expert penmanship to create pieces that feel personal; they are artwork.  I can’t let them go.  There you have it, beauty in the written word.

My second example is the remarkably talented communicator, David Westbrook.  David’s writing style is evocative, inspirational, visionary, and above all else, beautiful.  Whether an article on an obscure business topic or a simple email, his word choice is always perfect, his tone is always engaging.  Never too wordy, nor too brief, David does the heavy lifting of selecting just the right word, of stirring emotions, of conveying wisdom and a clear message that allows the reader to see beyond the words on the page.  As with Leslie’s gorgeous envelops, I keep every message, memo and letter from David simply because they are so delightfully worded.  Again, beauty in the written word.

Do yourself a favor, take time to bolster your writing style… to tidy up your penmanship… in so doing, your correspondence will be taken more seriously, your words will have deeper meaning and import, you will enhance your reputation.  You will have created beauty through your words.

Happy Networking!

One thought to “Beauty in the Written Word”

  1. Not even my master teacher, Hermann Zapf, was ever so effusive. Thank you Alana. Another motivation one might consider in making effort as you describe is the Jewish concept of “hiddur mitzvah.“ This principle of enhancing a mitzvah through aesthetics, while applied to ritual endeavors primarily, can guide any effort where the undertaking is inherently of value but it’s execution with embellishment, care and love makes it a gift of one’s heart.

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