'Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking' supplants 'The I of the Storm' with online booksellers

The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional updates In the I of the Storm released in 2006. The Gettysburg Approach maintains the same innovative structure of its predecessor, together with several new and expanded features.
By: Philip Yaffe
June 23, 2010 - PRLog -- People looking to acquire In the I of the Storm: the Simple Secrets of Writing & Speaking (almost) like a Professional from online booksellers are likely to be disappointed, because it is no longer in print. However, they should be delighted by the fact that it has been supplanted by The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional, its expanded and much improved successor.

"In the I of the Storm to a certain degree was experimental. It attempted to meet the challenge of converting my courses and workshops into written form for a wider audience," says Philip Yaffe, writing and speaking coach. "Although it worked reasonably it did not fully live up to expectations. The Gettysburg Approach incorporates a number of important lessons learned since 2006, making the new book much better than its predecessor."

The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional maintains the same innovative structure of In the I of the Storm. For example, the "theoretical" section runs only 98 pages, covering the fundamental principles of both effective writing and effective speaking. The remainder of the 275-page tome consists of an "indispensable introduction" (How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan) and 13 appendices abounding with illustrative examples, analyses, and exercises.

"Concentrating all theoretical information into one place emphasizes the close relationship between the principles and practices discussed. The theory section is the only imperative part of the book. Readers can then go on to the appendices at their leisure, in any order they feel appropriate. If anything arises in an example, analysis, or exercise they don't fully understand or appreciate, they can easily return to the theory section for review," Mr. Yaffe explains.

This is largely how he runs his courses and workshops, and it seems to work.

"Other courses and books I have examined (admittedly a rather small sampling) give the impression that the fundamental principles of effective writing are somehow independent of each other, and therefore should be studied and mastered individually. The fact is, they are inextricably intertwined, so the widespread practice of teaching them separately is both nonsensical and inimical," he asserts.

For example, he says, two key characteristics of effective writing are clarity and conciseness. "However, a text can't be clear if it isn't concise. It can't be concise if it is not clear. And it can't be either if it isn't precise."

Another unusual aspect of The Gettysburg Approach is that it combines writing and speaking. "Unfortunately, few authors treat these two disciplines together, giving the false impression that the fundamentals of effective writing and effective speaking are radically different. There are differences; however, they are more apparent than real. Underneath, both forms of communication are essentially the same," Mr. Yaffe says.

This was the principal thesis of his article "If You Write It Better, You Will Say It Better" published last March in the monthly magazine of Toastmasters International. TMI is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. It has over 250,000 members in over 12,500 clubs in 106 countries.

Although designed for a broad, general audience, unlike its predecessor The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional now has a specific section aimed at helping teenagers make the tricky transition from high school to college.

"When I was in university, I tutored writing. One day freshman came to me with a note from a professor saying: Young lady, I advise you either to get out of my class immediately or prepare to fail it. Obviously she was bright enough; after all she was a student at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles).

"I read a couple of her essays that had gotten such poor marks. The problem quickly became apparent. She simply was not fully using one of the fundamental principles of good writing, because she thought that consistently applying it was just too much trouble. It took a couple of sessions to convince her that it wasn't too much trouble -- in fact it was crucial. Her writing immediately began to improve. At the end of the term, not only didn't she fail the class, she had pulled her grade all the way up from a certain “F” to a gratifying “B.”

This was not an isolated case. When students were having writing difficulties, it was generally because they were: 1) unfamiliar with a fundamental principle, 2) inconsistently applying it, 3) improperly applying it, or 4) not applying it at all.

"The same thing is true outside of academia," Mr. Yaffe says.

"Throughout my 40-year career, I have encountered innumerable business executives, researchers, academics, bureaucrats and other professional incapable of writing and speaking clearly, concisely, and persuasively. These were obviously very intelligent people. However, they had never fully mastered the handful of fundamental principles that underlie both writing and speaking, for the very good reason that they were never properly taught.

"The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional is dedicated to helping intelligent people produce intelligent texts at all levels of society," he concludes,  

Biographical Information

Philip Yaffe was born in Boston in 1942 and grew up in Los Angeles. In 1965 he graduated in mathematics from UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), where he was also editor-in-chief of the Daily Bruin, the daily student newspaper.

Mr. Yaffe has more than 40 years of experience in journalism and marketing communication. At various points in his career, he has been a teacher of journalism, a reporter/feature writer with The Wall Street Journal, an account executive with a major international press relations agency, European marketing communication director with two major international companies, and a founding partner of a marketing communication agency in Brussels, Belgium, where he has lived since 1974. Contact: phil.yaffe@yahoo.com or phil.yaffe@gmail.com.

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Philip Yaffe is a former reporter/feature writer with The Wall Street Journal and an international marketing communication consultant living in Brussels, Belgium. His latest book is The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional.

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