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BLOGBeing Real

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen TipsheetTagged as: , , ,

What’s your reaction when you read a company newsletter, instruction manual, or other corporate communication?  Do you think it is plastic, anti-septic, and homogenized?  If so, you’re like most people – they see corporate-speak as fake, and they can sniff it a mile away.

The best communicators have always known that effective writing connects at an emotional level with the reader – no matter the topic.  And what is most effective in any digital communication is precisely this –  even if one person is a representative of a corporate brand or an organization.

Unfortunately, this point has been missed by many corporate communicators, who have blindly transplanted their impersonal corporate voice online.  Or worse, who have adopted a breezy hipster tone that is so far removed from the corporate brand, that it is laughable.

Here are four ways to get real in your social conversations:

1) Avoid the passive – it removes the writer from the equation.

  • Wrong:  A mistake was made.
  • Right: We made a mistake.

2) Speak for yourself – “We” shunts responsibility somewhere else.

  • Wrong:  We apologize that you were disappointed.
  • Better:  I am sorry that you were disappointed. (Oops – passive!)
  • Right:  I am sorry that we disappointed you. (One person taking responsibility for the entire organization.)

3) Avoid jargon and speak plainly – jargon hides and distances

  • Wrong:  We strive to exceed expectations and provide a great service experience
  • Right:  We goofed, and promise to do better.

4) Be engaging – remember that a conversation takes place when two people are engaged, not just one.

  • Wrong:  “… and that is our approach.”
  • Right:  “…and that is our approach – what has worked for you?”

THIS WEEK’S ACTION PLAN

Review your conversations on the social web to see if you can be more “real”, and less fake.  And while you’re at it, do a double-check on your emails, print collateral, and website: what would it take to make you be just a little bit more real?

Postscript:  How did I do?  When you read this post (or any of my posts, for that matter), do you get a sense that there is a real person who wrote it?  That the topic – and my style –  is more real than plastic?  Of course, there is always room to do better:  what would you suggest?

Does this topic resonate? Reach out to Randall: he can present it to your group.  (More presentation topics)
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@RandallCraig (Follow me for daily insights)
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