I'd do your math homework

Posted on by Laura Hamlyn

 When I was in grad school, my professors would use simple exercises to get us headed in the right direction. I remember one technique used by Jelly Helm, who I had the priviledge of learning from in my second year at Virginia Commonwealth University's Adcenter (now called the Brandcenter). I can't remember details like this from my undergraduate career, but these Brandcenter exercises have claimed a permanant place in my brain.

Jelly asked his students to write five-word love letters that convinced someone to go out with us. The beauty of this exercise is that it's as simple as it is powerful. It made us write sincerely, convincingly, persuasively, etc. I wrote a lot of love letters that day (I'm nothing if not prolific.).

By a show of hands, my most popular letter was: I'd do your math homework.

Not every guy would respond to my note. But the idea is that my kind of guy would.

So, building on my theory that YOU ARE CREATIVE (IN ALL CAPS!!), I think this is an exercise anyone can practice to write more convincingly about your business, your self, etc.

I remembered it when trying to come up with an idea for an article I wanted to write about my new passion project, the Triangle Wiki. How do we make a wiki accesible beyond our little band of geeks? We also worried that businesses would cut and paste their brochure copy and call it a wiki entry. (See the bottom of this page. Even the press had different ways of spinning the Triangle Wiki.) So, during the official wiki launch last week, I remembered Jelly's little exercise and I invited everyone to think of something they love in their community and write a page about it on the wiki.

Try it. Write more love letters and fewer headlines. Who knows? Maybe someone will write you back.