The Power of the Pen

by | Sep 25, 2020


Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a force of nature–but there was one area where she needed some help. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg won five of the six landmark cases she argued at the Supreme Court. And according to Forbes, one of her weapons she had to sharpen–writing.

RBG credited a European literature professor at Cornell for changing the way she wrote and teaching her to use the pen to persuade people.

So, whether you want a promotion or a raise, here is her advice. First, get to the point. Lay out the reason for your argument in the first few paragraphs and avoid any sentences that do not make sense.

Next, keep it short. Just because you might have 50 pages to argue a point, doesn’t mean you should use them. More reading annoys the person having to do it.

Finally, say it in plain English. Simple words mean shorter documents and help people understand the point you’re trying to argue. You should try to write for an audience who does not understand your profession.

Never hurts to sharpen your skills.

Brian Banmiller

About Brian

CBS News Radio national business journalist Brian Banmiller has spent more than 40 years in the news industry, covering business, politics and the economy on television, radio and in print. Currently, his “Banmiller on Business” reports are delivered to an audience of millions nationwide.

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