Six small words that hold great power

Six small words that hold great power

I keep six honest serving-men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.

— Rudyard Kipling


The five Ws and an H – Kipling’s famous serving-men – aren’t just good questions to ask if you have an enquiring mind – they are also a good way to get going if you’re not sure how to start writing your report, presentation or business blog.

Ask yourself: What is this about? Who does it involve or concern? When did it/must it happen? Where? Why? And finally, How?

If you can cover those six elements in the first few opening paragraphs, even if your reader stops reading, or your audience is checking their email while you’re presenting, they’ll have heard the most important information.

Take it from Kipling – those six serving-men will help you get to the very heart of what you’re writing about.

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