Is this vital captivating ingredient missing from your writing?

The vital captivating ingredient missing from your writing
5 min |

My brother-in-law is an actor and when he was in theatre school he had whole tutorials on this very subject. It’s the essential element which makes a character real, three-dimensional, absorbing – believable.

Novelists also use this method to a realise complex scenes, plots and characters which you fall in love with. Painters use it to pull your eyes across their canvases deliberately.

In fact, creators of all kinds – sculptors, set designers, animators, theatre directors, ballerinas, musicians… each and every one uses this vital ingredient in their art {and some won’t even know they’re doing it}.

YOU already use it when refining your products, services and customer experience!

But the vast majority of business owners don’t apply it to their writing.

As entrepreneurs, we can use this indispensable approach to make our writing as clear and delicious as the first lick of ice cream on a sweltering summer’s day.


So what is this elusive ingredient?


It’s specificity.
| noun  spec·i·fic·i·ty \ˌspe-sə-ˈfi-sə-tē\

No, I’m not being superfluous – honest! Specificity means the quality, condition or state of being specific.

For example, it’s the condition of a characteristic being peculiar to a particular individual or group.

In science, it’s the condition of participating in or being the catalyst for only one or very few reactions.

Stay with me…

Let’s imagine a ballerina who’s dancing the lead part of Giselle. She takes her choreographer’s direction and vision, adds in all her knowledge, style, grace and experience and immerses herself in the 175-year-old history of the ballet. As the weeks of rehearsal progress, she refines Giselle’s ill-fated, crest-fallen character and uses certain details, gestures and flourishes {in other words specificity} to make the role her own.

Likewise, actors, animators and fiction writers use specific details to develop each character. They become observers of people {or animals} – their habits, mannerisms, quirks, obsessions… how a person moves and walks, the way they’d react if their car broke down in a storm after their wife left them, their subtle body language when they’re speaking with someone they despise {or love unrequitedly}, down to the way they hold a wine glass…

Get the picture?

It’s all in the specific details – how you communicate and express yourself.

Actors, writers, filmmakers, they have to persuade their audience to “suspend their disbelief” in order to successfully draw them into a fabricated world and captivate them.


How does specificity translate to our very real world of running a business?

In order to make our actual world FEEL real to our ideal clients, we need to use specificity to make our writing more interesting and relatable.



You need your audience to suspend everything else they’re doing and pay attention to only YOU. Click To Tweet


It’s no walk in the park.

Well, it depends on the park. It’s more like attempting to walk through a park which is packed with concert-goers and your ideal client is a few thousand people away.


Did you notice how I used illustrative details to create a more meaningful metaphor?

If you can improve your storytelling skills in this way, you will get more of your audience hooked on your words. Which means they’ll come back for more.

Think about the businesswomen and men you admire most. Why do you stop what you’re doing and listen to them? Do they give you a satisfying hug with their personality when they’re communicating with you?

We all love a good story. But a story is no good without scene-setting and characterisation.

But, guess what? You don’t have to make anything up, you just have to add in the details.


You’ll hear me say this often because I know it to be true: Communication is the thriving {or floundering} heart of your business.

So here are actions you can take, today, right now.

I’m handing you the precious glass vial with a concentrated dose of specificity to help you captivate your audience.


Step #1: Write the sh*tty first draft.


Step #2: Use specificity – specific, concrete, storified details to make it captivating.

For example:

Boring first draft

I prefer coffee and cake with my close friends than dinner with a large group of fair-weather friends.

Jazzed up with specificity

You won’t find me at my local grill getting wasted with a bunch of people I barely know. I’ll be over the road having brunch with my besties – if you buy me afternoon tea {and don’t hold the crumpets} I’m all yours.


Boring first draft

Don’t give up on Facebook! I can make your Facebook adverts work much better than before. In fact, work so well they make you money.

Actually, that sounds pretty good already, but we can make it suited to your particular business using your specific style & tone of language.

Jazzed up with specificity

You can’t say the word “Facebook” without dropping an F-bomb.

Every single cent runs to jump off the cliff, like lemmings falling into the Sea of Facebook Ad Death.

Relax – move the sledgehammer away from your laptop!

I’ve got this.

I can personally guarantee, after you work with me, your ads will not only make you want to elope with Facebook, but they’ll start making you money.


Step #3 {optional}: Hide your first draft inside a cursed box, within a barrel-bolted vault, behind a fire-breathing banshee.


Your turn – time to captivate your audience

I’ve packed this post with examples of specificity.

Now that you’re friends with one of the more ridiculous-sounding words in the dictionary, how will you incorporate it in your biz communications?

What real-life story can you tell to illustrate your point? And then, what specific details can you add in use to persuade your audience to pause whatever they’re doing and listen to you?

What words can you use to act as a catalyst for one specific action, like clicking the “Buy” button or booking an appointment with you?

I’d love to read your storified post / page / doc – share it with me and snag a free review.