Quick Tip: A Thesis Statement is not an Argument

by Affect Team on July 20, 2010

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Public relations pros are masters when it comes to crafting witty headlines. However, it’s important not to confuse the window dressing with the actual window. Without getting too postmodern/signifiers that signify nothing on you, let me offer this gentle reminder: a great headline is not the same thing as a great argument.

While this lapse in judgment can negatively affect your pitching, whatever you do, don’t let it seep into your personal communications. When you find yourself talking in sound bytes to your mom, your dog — or, even worse, a prospective employer — tossing off great theses as though they are capable of standing alone can be a real buzzkill.

Case in point: let’s say I’m interviewing you. (This could happen! Email me!) You say, “Yeah, I don’t read blogs.” Full stop. Now, I’m willing to go there with you. That’s provocative! Why don’t you read blogs? Are you talking about all blogs, or just certain ones? What is it about blogs that perturbs you? Is this a new development in your life? Was there a time where you simply couldn’t get enough blog, and then, one day, shazam, the world of blogs lost its appeal?

You might believe that someone interviewing for a PR position should be immediately disqualified for lack of blogthusiasm. But  I can think of a bazillion ways to follow up this thesis statement with a compelling counterargument. Here’s one: when I can follow all of my favorite bloggers and publications via Twitter, who needs RSS feeds anymore? (Come on, that was easy.)

So, that’s my quick tip for you. Want to be taken more seriously, by me, your client, and journalists everywhere? Feel free to grab my attention with an outrageous thesis statement. But if you don’t follow it up with an actual argument, you’ve lost my interest — and my respect.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

thesis statement 05.13.11 at 7:07 am

Hi Leslie, thank you for sharing this idea of your about thesis statements.. I learned something from it.. Keep posting!

Rayford Muckelvaney 10.06.11 at 3:02 am

I?m impressed, I must say. Actually rarely do I encounter a blog that?s each educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Your idea is excellent; the difficulty is something that not sufficient people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very completely happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.

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