What You Say and How You Say It Makes a World of Difference

We sent them that email, why aren’t they getting it?

images2Have you ever asked yourself a question like that?

Whether you’re writing a fundraising letter to donors, or a memo to staff, leading a meeting, doing a performance evaluation, or sharing important information with a co-worker; what you say and how you say it makes a world of difference.

Most of us think we are being clear when we are communicating and are totally caught of guard when we’re not understood.


Internal Speak and Jargon

Depending on your audience; don’t use acronyms. If you do, you may as well be saying, “Before you fill out the PTR check with your HM to make sure you’re not duplicating the RPDs.

Remember what adults sounded like on Charlie Brown?

Yeah? Don’t sound like that!

Every organization uses internal/industrial terms. New employees, volunteers and the general public do not know what you’re talking about when you use them.

Use clear and concise layman’s terms.

Taking for granted that everyone knows what you know

Don’t just say, “Contact the stakeholders,” for example. No one is as familiar with your job as you are. You know that by contacting the stakeholders you mean take steps 1, 2, and 3.

Spell it out.

Don’t assume that people know what you know.

Cleverness and Vagueness

Saying things like growing hope, blossoming futures and colourful opportunities to describe your after school program…well you may as well be talking about a gardening center for all anyone knows.

It’s much easier to understand that your after school program builds confidence, gives children the skills they need to be successful in junior high and teaches them to be leaders.

Cute and clever don’t get your message across.

Flowery and poetic don’t cut it.

Use simple and clear language.

Hint: The longer you’ve been at an organization, the harder it is to avoid these communication traps. It can be helpful to test your communications on people who have no idea what you do.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.




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