Prudent MEAL Deal Leads to Effective Communication
By LauraAnn Migliore, Ph.D.
This fourth article in the blog series on prudence emphasizes effective communication as being indispensable to effective self-leadership in the writing process. Here is where persuasive writing can inspire readers to agree with your case for research when specific facts and ideas are supported with sound explanation of analysis and examples to clarify. Prudence and wisdom interplay to present information, ask questions, provoke thought, and challenge status quo as a catalyst to advance learning and practice (Baltes & Staudinger, 2000; Malloch, 2010).
Persuasive Writing Skills
Developing persuasive writing skills takes practice and involves a process to produce positive outcomes. The objective is to convince readers of both the relevance and practical application of information being presented. It starts with thoughtful preparation to put together key inputs of the writing process:
Determining what the compelling research question should be
Prudently reflecting as to why the study should be conducted
Identifying the significance your study will have on leadership in the field of practice
Specifying the impacts your study will have on society (e.g. education, business, health, etc.)
Persuasive writing is about explaining and defending your viewpoint to an audience that may be skeptical or uninformed on the subject matter. Whether in academics or professional settings, eventually you need to take a stand or support a perspective to advance your understanding of an issue or your belief about a course of action. Effective self-leadership in writing applies prudence to balance one’s own passion and emotional energy about a topic with the shared values of the intended audience to inspire support / action.
Theodore Roosevelt (TR) is known for many famous quotes, one of which is “speak softly and carry a big stick.” In writing, the “big stick” is analogous to rigor, that is, the quality of your ideas expressed and supported with compelling evidence. To “speak softly” is analogous in writing to articulation for purposes of linking your key points to help readers see and understand the logic of your case.
For example, TR was a fan of football and back in his day – early 1900s – football was a literal killing field with little protective equipment and gladiator-style brutality (Klein, 2018). College football had reached such a crisis that President Theodore Roosevelt – motivated by his own son’s well-being, who played Harvard freshman football at the time – intervened to end the violence and reform the game. Roosevelt’s big stick was his position of power to invite head coaches from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to the White House urging them to reform the game and “set an example of fair play for the rest of the country” (para 4). TR also wrote letters to compel radical rule changes, emphasizing a balanced need for both a rough game and integrity in sportsmanship: “In life, as in football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!” (cited in Kline, 2018, para 3). Radical rule changes in college football were eventually approved via an intercollegiate conference (1906 season), reducing annual fatalities and then led to further reforms decreasing injuries.
Likewise, hit your lines strong with rigor when you write. Include specific facts supported by reputable sources. Be sure to explain key concepts with inclusion of examples to clarify your ideas, supporting your explanations with analysis or synthesis of researched material. Don’t foul and don’t shirk with vague ideas and broad generalizations, making unsupported assertions and opinions. Instead follow a well-balanced “MEAL Plan” for your writing with focus on the Main idea, Evidence, Analysis, and a Link (University of Phoenix, 2019). The Meal Plan framework provides a prudent application to ensure each paragraph has one main idea with evidence and analysis to support the idea and links the idea to existing information and transitions to the next topic of discussion:
M: Include only one main idea per paragraph.
E: Support the main idea with evidence or examples.
A: Analyze the evidence or example by comparing and contrasting to other ideas
and provide your interpretation with explanation.
L: Link each idea together with order and logic. Your goal is to help the reader see and
understand the main points or argument you are presenting.
Effective self-leadership in the writing process includes prudent reflection on what you learned and how you can use MEAL to communicate effectively. The result can inspire action for your research case. Proofread and revise accordingly to present a well-organized paper that reads well.
Stay tune for next blog article: Applied Prudence: Case Study #1 (interview with doctoral student)
Also, register now to attend virtual workshop on “Leadership Style of Teddy Roosevelt: A Conversation on Current Egregious Corporate Behavior and How You Might React,"
by Dr. LauraAnn Migliore and Dr. Erik Bean on June 12, 2019 at Knowledge Without Boundaries (KWB) Research Summit. For complete details and registration, visit https://research.phoenix.edu/kwb
Baltes, P. B., and Staudinger, U. M. (2000). Wisdom: A metaheuristic (pragmatic) to orchestrate mind and virtue toward excellence. American Psychologist, 55(1), 122-136.
Klein, C. (2018). How Teddy Roosevelt saved football: Look back at football’s brutal beginnings and President Theodore Roosevelt’s quest to save the sport from abolition. A & E Television Networks. Retrieved from: https://www.history.com/news/how-teddy-roosevelt-saved-football
Malloch, T.R. (2010). Spiritual capital and practical wisdom. Journal of Management Development, 29(7/8),755-759. https://doi.org/10.1108/02621711011059194
University of Phoenix (2019). Developing doctoral-level writing skills. Retrieved from: https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/aapd/workshops/studentworkshops/OSWDSO201/readings/developing-doctoral-level-writing-skills.html