The 68-page report on Managing Clarity in Corporate Communication is a lot to chew on. That’s why I picked out just the best parts and boiled them down into easy-to-digest blog postings, like:
But here’s another tasty morsel:
Best Part #3: 5 Steps To Be CLEAR
There’s more to clear communication than using short sentences and avoiding words like “facilitate.” Report authors Martin Eppler and Nicole Bischof define clarity with the clever little acronym CLEAR, which stands for:
1. Contextualized (Say who should read the communication and why.)
Example: “This document describes the terms and conditions of your Protection Plan. Read it carefully so you know your rights.”
2. Logically Structured (Don’t ramble.)
Example: Pioneer Hi-Bred uses this template for internal memos about media issues:
• Situation — What has happened?
• Response Strategy — How are we dealing with it?
• Media Coverage — What are the media doing/writing about it?
• Media Strategy — How will we move forward and with whom?
3. Essential (Give an overview of the main points first, then go into the details. Leave out unimportant bits.)
Example: “Make sure you get the benefits you need next year. First, review the changes to our company health plan. Then, compare our new insurance options. Finally, register for the best option for you. Here’s what you need to know about each step….”
4. Ambiguity-free (Be specific. Use familiar words. Get rid of vague, overarching statements.)
Example: “Sports medicine specialists treat sprains, strains, fractures and other athletic injuries.”
Not: “Sports medicine specialists treat a variety of musculoskeletal concerns.”
5. Resonating (Grab their attention and get them to feel, think or do something.)
Example: “Our new org structure is like Jell-O. With a little time, our mix of groups and functions will jell into something good — for the company and for each of us.”
For details about how to be CLEAR in presentations, e-mails, Facebook pages and other specific types of communication, see pages 22–26 in the report.
How well you achieve clarity is really up to your readers. So, ask them how you did. You can measure your success (on a scale of 0 to 10) with a simple survey. Learn more in this upcoming post:
Best Part #4: Measure Clarity the Easy Way