So a topic has been brewing at the top of my brain the past few weeks, and this morning, my pal, Danielle Hughes, wrote this piece. No, I’m not “copying” her. For the record, I was mid-way through writing this when I took a break and saw hers. But she and I must be alike, because her piece is about how brains function different ways.
Let me step back in time for a second. I’m 46, so I was in grade school back in the early 80s when different types of processing disorders were not widely diagnosed. So, when we had to have some kind of reading comprehension exercise and then be tested on it and I’d consistently score a poor grade, rather than test me to see if something was off, my mother seemed to have a meeting with Ms. Crenshaw, my 4th grade teacher, every Friday for her to basically report to my mother I was a bad student. This did a world of hurt to my self-esteem, I assure you. Note that later my parents did have me tested and determined a different school would be better for me, but I’m not sure there was ever a “diagnosis” or anything for me to “work on” I just moved schools, accepted that I’m not good at this, and moved on.
I’ve learned coping strategies through the years, and I have even found myself in a career where short-form writing is preferred (I miss the days of 140-character tweets).
Sometimes in college, if I was charged with reading a long passage, I’d find a way to fake it… or I’d accept a mediocre grade as that is just not my skill.
Today, I find I own it. Just the other day, one of the women (an attorney) with whom I volunteer at school wrote a description of a challenge we need to solve with our Parent Association. I was honest when I received the email. “I’m not reading that,” I said. I didn’t mean that what she wrote was too long or cumbersome for anyone else, but for me, I see that many words on a page, and I literally cannot process it. My eyes glaze over, I lose focus, it’s just over before it starts.
Note I was never diagnosed with anything. If I were in school today, I’m confident I would be. My brother, who is an adolescent psychologist, has had me all figured out for years. But he won’t really tell me what that means. HA!
It ties back to emotional intelligence. Sometimes we have to stop and think about how the person on the other end will process what we send. In our industry, while we’re writing pieces to publish on behalf of other brands’ voices, we must be aware that the people reading the content are part of that community and we must speak in their voice.
This is how our team customizes what we do. We aren’t out there as OUR voices, we’re out there as theirs. It’s important that day after day we remember whose voice we are in and that we speak that way.
For the record, if someone sent me THIS post, I wouldn’t read it. Too long. I didn’t say I have a problem with talking – just the reading part.by