NCO Primary Leadership Subjects
Organizing Your Thoughts, Continued
Ask yourself how much your audience may already know about your subject. If
you write a technical paper concerning your military specialty, you can expect your
readers to be knowledgeable in the subject. Therefore, you can use related terms
with confidence that they don't require lengthy explanations.
The final step in organizing your thoughts is to select the appropriate approach to
present the information. Will you use an informal, personal style? Or does your
subject require a formal, impersonal style of writing? The approach you select will
establish the relationship between you, the topic, and your audience. When you
decide on an approach, follow it throughout your paper.
The command position establishes the relationship between the reader and the
writer. You "concur" with a lateral command; "approve" or "direct" a lower
command; and "recommend," "suggest," or "report to" a higher command.
Informational writing, designed to reach individual readers, should persuade them
to take action or learn something on their own initiative. Resorting to what looks
like official pressure could harm your efforts.
Use the following table to determine the approach to use with your audience.
If your audience is...
the individual soldier,
an informal, personal tone:
Form sentences using the second person (i.e., the
person spoken to), and write conversationally.
Use contractions (e.g., don't, isn't).
made up of
an informal style:
contemporaries within Use personal pronouns (I, we, and you) when
the same headquarters,
Write staff comments as observations,
suggestions, or recommendations, not directives.
a higher, lower, or a more formal tone, but don't revert to indirect
recommend," not "it is recommended," and "we
concur," instead of "the proposal is concurred in."