One of the recurrent issues when writing for corporations is the avoidance of anything that might look like a problem. Anything “negative” frequently provokes a squeamish response from the writing team who are sometimes programmed to say only “positive” things. Yet without the negative there is no positive, it’s all a slushy mush. And you’re never going to move or inspire anyone with mush.
But pain is a flip side of pleasure, and communicators need to work with both.
In a musical parallel, J.S Bach’s aim in his church scores was to move and inspire. So he gives us the most searingly beautiful aria from the St John Passion, where dissonant chords, tucked away in the music for fleeting moments, provoke subliminal anxiety that gets resolved later on. This becomes the motor of inspiration.
Howard Goodall’s brilliant analysis of Bach’s music could equally be applied to dealing with a piece of writing. It is especially true in writing for professional services that there are nearly always problems or a lingering pain that triggered the need for some kind of solution. Problems needs to be there, not in your face, but definitely in there, and woven in. Without problems, there’s no need for anyone to buy a product that solves a problem. Without the pain, or passion, (which means pain), there can be no inspiration.
And if you’ve never heard “Zerfliesse miene Hertz” before, you’re in for a treat.