communications, I’ve renewed my campaign against a particular, chronic
communication tic. This one isn’t new, but familiarity doesn’t render it any
We begin with an anecdote…
Ted, a mid-level manager at Widget
World, is quoted in a suite of client materials (duh disclaimer: the names, industry,
company, and products have been changed). Ted’s quote extols the value of the
products in a clear concise way that’s more on point than a bullet list of
So far, so good — using an authentic voice is positive, but
then our tale of corporate communication runs amok.
After his quote, Ted’s titleCan you say change order? There are several questions this anecdote prompts, but the
appears as Widget Development Manager. Ted objects because his
“official” title is Manager, Widget Development; at Widget World if
manager appears at the beginning of the title it means you manage people, if it
appears at the end, you manage products. Ted “escalates” this dire
situation to Jane, Vice President, Widget Development (she manages people,
including Ted) and Jane decides that’s its crucial Ted’s title be changed in
the client materials.
one we’ll focus on is use of INTERNAL OPERATIONAL LANGUAGE. Point being, don’t
Ted’s “manager comma” status may be important to
him. It may be important to Jane. It may be important within the organization.
But, it’s not important to clients. And rather than working to make the client materials
better, Ted and Jane put internal needs ahead of client needs — a dangerous
misstep that you can’t afford to make often.