“Sleep on it.” “Measure your tone.” “Consider your representation.” These are three of the tips Vice President for Communications and Marketing Melissa Richards offers in her essay, “Express Your Opinion — but First, Check Yourself.” The Nov. 9 essay appearing in Inside Higher Ed is subtitled “Emotion can fuel great writing. It can also be a vulnerability. Consider these steps to ensure your arguments are sound.”
Richards provides a checklist for submitting “not only a strong, original, timely piece based on facts, but one that you can stand on with confidence.” In the process, she suggested that writers ask themselves these questions:
- Does your opinion represent your personal views, those shared by others in your field, or a statement for your institution?
- Do your personal identities (gender, race, religion, professional background, etc.) validate your voice on the topic at hand, or could you invite a co-author who can lend more credibility?
- Is [your tone] serious or snarky, arrogant or persuasive, angry or sarcastic?
She concludes her piece by advising, “Every time you publish a piece, you should feel confident that you can not only defend it but also continue the conversation you started.”