Beware your language

Beware the language used on Twitter isn’t harmful.

When social media is used as a megaphone for harmful content.
Donald Trump has used Twitter as a megaphone for his harmful words.

Social media is an incredibly powerful communication tool. Used proficiently, it promotes brands and the businesses behind them. But beware the language you use in social media. Short is not always good and can be misleading and destructive as former President Trump has shown by becoming the USA’s most unpopular President ever. This is partly a credit to his ability to use Twitter for his own purposes, making it a megaphone for much of his harmful communication. In so doing, he has brought a mighty power to the brink of insurrection, so much so that Twitter finally banned him. Social media is at its best used for positive messages. Quo Vadis Communications can help with social media, editing and writing to get the correct messages out in corporate reports, social media content and many other communication platforms. Contact us.

The many faces of communication

Communication is not just about the written or spoken word. Music can convey emotions across the spectrum, as this does in the midst of the chaos of a damaged apartment after the dreadful explosion in Beirut. Our thoughts go out to the people of Lebanon.

“See” the reader

Visualise your reader when you writeThe last tip on writing effectively in business: #Visualise your #reader. Billionaire Warren Buffett gets the right balance in his reports by writing for his sisters, Doris and Bertie – intelligent people, but not experts. (HBR, Mike Reed)

It’s all about the benefits

Tip 5 about #effective_writing in business: Focus on #benefitsFocus on the benefits, rather than the features of the product to people. Eg, “Keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, thanks to its cotton-merino blend” works a lot better than “A luxurious cotton-merino blend fabric”. (Tips from HBR, Mike Reed)

To the point!

Effective writing in business gets quickly to the pointTip 4: Get to the point. Think like a #journalist – what’s the most important thing you need to say? Identify it, and put that first. Busy people need to get the point upfront. (Tips from HBR by Mike Reed, Reed Words, London)

Write for busy people

Use infographics and other aids to help people read quicklyTip 3: Recognise that your audience #skim-reads by glancing at a screen, picking out words and sentences. Use features like #sub-heads, #bullets, #diagrams, #infographics and #tables to help their understanding. (HBR review)

Don’t let your readers fall asleep

Cut the jargon to write effectively in businessTip 2 in our series on effective business writing: Choose short and more familiar words. Long, complicated words and sentences confuse readers. Cut the jargon! These tips are shared from an HBR paper (Mike Reed of Reed Words, London)

Tips to avoid a switch off

Writing well – and communicating effectively – is a critical skill for all in business. In the next few posts, we’ll share tips from a Harvard Business Review about how to write without boring your audience.

Use first person (I, we) to avoid stiff formality in your writingTip 1: Talk like a human, not a business. One way of avoiding stiff formality is to write in the first person. So, instead of: “Jones and Jones is a residential agent offering customers friendly, clear and straightforward advice”, say: “We’ll give you the clear, friendly home-buying advice you need.”

Next post: Avoid complexity


The desire to communicate

Overcoming through a desire to communicate
Photo by 수안 최 on Unsplash, the internet’s source of freely-usable photos.

In this article in The Atlantic, John Hendrickson reflects on the seldom-acknowledged stutter of USA Presidential frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination, Joe Biden. As the immediate former vice president of the USA, there is no doubt that Biden has a desire to communicate and get people to believe in the policies he promotes. It is interesting to read in this article about a speech therapist who, in helping people to overcome stuttering, concentrates not so much on the mechanics of communicating, but on the desire to communicate at all. Interestingly, it is difficult to perceive any trace of a stutter when one listens to Biden. This reminds us of the former great Methodist leader in South Africa, Dr Joseph B Webb, who delivered the most articulate presentations during his influential ministry. Yet he grew up with a profound stutter and overcame it by standing in farmlands in the Eastern Cape, practising, practising, practising to speak fluently. Effective communication – spoken, written, acted, presented – comes with practise and a simple belief in the desire to communicate.

Communicating through the beauty of singing
Photo by David Beale on Unsplash, the internet’s source of freely usable photos.

A final thought: When stutterers sing, they don’t stutter; they communicate the beauty of the music. (For a discussion on singing and stuttering, see this link.)

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