August 20, 2010
A while ago, I was reading Management Today and was struck by their article ‘Crash Course in Communicating in Clear English’. Somehow something than enjoins you to ‘have a look at all your written communications’ seems a bit quaint in these days of digital communication and blogging your heart out.
Like most things MT, the tips stand up to scrutiny. One thing is missing however. In order to communicate something clearly you actually have to have something to say. Perhaps it’s worth remembering Jeremy Bullmore’s great adage 'The only time it’s worth advertising is when you’ve done something worth advertising’.
Far too many of us spend a lot of time rearranging words without thinking of what it is we are actually trying to communicate. Advertising was actually really good at this. You had to get your message out extremely succinctly. Since more and more forms of communication (PR, online) now allow you more and more space we’ve stopped valuing the finely honed word which actually carries a message.
Maybe we’re in good company though. Even TS Eliot had problems making words work. See Burnt Norton Verse V.