Whatever you do that involves other people requires an understanding of what Jeeves* (not the search engine) called “the psychology of the individual”.
Each time that Bertie Wooster, that great comic creation by P G Wodehouse, or one of his chums, fell into the metaphorical soup, the imperturbable Jeeves fished them out, dried them off and allowed them to resume their carefree lives with nary a backwards glance.
His secret weapon, as his chronicler points out time after time, is encapsulated in the art of assessing exactly which buttons you need to press to get a chap to respond as you might wish him to.
As Bertie so eloquently put it: “Long association with Jeeves has developed the Wooster vocabulary considerably. Jeeves has always been a whale for the psychology of the individual, and I now follow him like a bloodhound when he snaps it out of the bag.”
Baby steps in journalism all start with knowing who your reader is.
The writing of first-class content for websites, newsletters and other communications collateral – our specialist subject – is based on precisely this premise. The actual re-arrangement of the alphabet to construct messages is the relatively easy part. Making the resulting words meaningful to the intended audience is the magical element. It is the key to getting folk to respond, whether you want them to work more efficiently, buy more goods or merely think well of you for the future.
*Incidentally, it is universally accepted that when mentioned he is always ‘Jeeves’. However, he has a first name – Reginald. This was revealed in the penultimate volume of Bertie’s memoirs ‘Much Obliged, Jeeves. Bertie was dumbfounded by the disclosure that Jeeves had a first name. I do not believe that he ever mentioned the matter again. Quite so.