Write like a 3rd Grader

by dave

The ability to communicate effectively has been a hot topic at work the past few months. Mostly because, frankly, people are doing it badly. Usually it is just minor stuff. Nothing to get too worked up about. But this past week, it was a train wreck. I’m sorely tempted to share details, but I’ll refrain. Instead, I’ll focus on the positive.

I need to first give credit where it is due — when I worked in Denver, I ran our internal collaboration systems, which included the intranet portals, and therefore I was involved whenever company-wide emails and announcements were made. Often, I simply posted them, but over time I started authoring some of them. And at first, I did it poorly. But our Communications Director would edit my announcements and emails, and help me become a better communicator, and by the time that job ended, I could just about write a corporate announcement that would pass her critiques without needing changes. It was a valuable experience, which may not have improve my writing on these blog posts, or even in my day-to-day emails, but does make me capable of keeping a team or an entire company informed of what is going on.

And it really is not rocket science. You need to write just like an elementary school student completing a writing assignment. Answer basic questions — What? When? Who? Why?

What is going on? When is it going to occur? Who will it affect? How will it impact me, my job, my team, etc? Why is it being done? And where do I get more information or ask questions? If your announcement answers those questions, it is good communications. If it does not, it is going to be a failure. It is really that simple.