The Foreword for the book...
Thursday, 22 November 2018
I am fond of asking my professional colleagues to ‘bring themselves to work’. Not to remedy absenteeism, but to benefit from who they really are.
When at work, we all play act, to varying degrees. We wear different masks, depending on who we’re with, or where we are. And business environments seem to be the place in which we assume the most inauthentic version of our true selves.
From our ‘work clothes’, to the words we speak and write, our business selves assume personas that most of our partners, parents or friends would find unrecognisable, if not hilarious.
In a world in which we are all, in some way, serving a customer or client who themselves are no doubt play acting as well, isn’t it time we just started being ourselves?
Authenticity, sadly, is not easy. Business convention has sullied our noble language, and left us ‘reaching out’ to people, and ‘reaching in’ to opportunities – like a horrific linguistic hokey-cokey. In your personal life, how often do you use words such as paradigm, granularity, leverage or Kool-Aid?
In 2004, three enterprising wordsmiths – John Simmons, Stuart Delves and Jamie Jauncey – decided enough was enough. So, instead of running anything up a flagpole or pushing so much as an envelope, they founded Dark Angels – a mission to help people find their true inner voices, and to use those inner voices to change the way they write at work.
And so they came. Disciples from every kind of business, organisation and brand came to attend Dark Angels training courses in beautiful corners of Scotland, Spain and Oxford.
Exhausted by years of penning pompous syntax, they were gently and artfully unburdened of their business speak. Day by day, their syllable and word counts shrank, as the potency and warmth of their language blossomed.
People who never considered themselves writers discovered we are in fact all writers. Powerful words were written. Tears were shed. Wine was taken.
The Dark Angels philosophy caught on quickly, its concept wonderfully simple but speaking to a universal need.
John, Stuart and Jamie brought the gift of authentic writing to ever increasing numbers through their courses, articles and business-based training. However, their ambition was much greater. Their desire to liberate an even greater number of people even stronger.
And that’s where this book comes in.
Between these covers lie the Dark Angels’ secrets to better business writing. Oh, let’s drop the pretence…this is actually about better writing, period. As well as the original three wise men, a number of notable Dark Angel disciples detail their own insights, tricks and tools on the joy and art of writing simply and truly.
This book is so much more than a ‘how to’ guide. It is a window into a world free of the meaningless words and phrases we have accumulated in life and business. Its lesson is simple but challenging. The road to stronger language lies in reduction and authenticity.
The truth really does lie within.
Chief Marketing Officer
McLaren Technology Group
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