Summer is over, and I don’t know anyone who isn’t faced with short-term fiscal year deadlines or long-term 2015 planning decisions. The amount of internal and external communications issued this time of year is at a peak. As we prepare one-pagers, presentations, and other communications, too often we find ourselves pressed for time, writing to colleagues saying, “Send me a few bullets” or “Just send me the link.” When you’re trying to communicate time sensitive or complex information, where you need actions or responses, this mindset is one you want to avoid. The following steps, taken from a Corner Alliance best practice, will help you write short, clean, and easy-to-understand communications.
|Know your Audience||
|Answer Two Questions||1) Is your communication intended for a small number of people or wide distribution?2) Are you trying to reach voices with strong subject expertise, those who are looking for quick facts or audiences with general interests and/or limited situational awareness?|
|Remember: Your Reader’s Time is Limited||1) Make your primary point first. Answer the question: “Why should I care?”2) Clarify what is most important with supporting detail. Explain the problem, impact, and/or options. Can a table or chart illustrate your point? For me, adopting more of an informal tone helps me be direct and concise.3) Summarize your take-away and ask for an action or response.|
|Make it “Scannable”||
|Check, Edit, and Get Feedback||
This fall I’ll be blogging about communicating with videos and how these products, along with smart devices, are changing the way we receive and exchange information. If you’re interested in future collaboration on this topic, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org leave a comment on our blog. Until next time, zoom zoom and best wishes for continued success!
Sign up for free weekly updates!