One great aspect of online communication, whether email, social media or website content, is its immediacy. At least when sending. But, as we all have personal experience with information overload, how do we ensure our messages get noticed, get read, and get the reaction we want? Here's a guide for you to follow.
3-point benefit checklist
Benefits are primarily for your readers. With emails and online content you want to ensure your audience can:
Ask your readers, or a test group, if they 'understand' your message or content. Ask a question based on the content to see if they 'understand' it the same way you do. Listen to your group explain what it means to them. Watch how they move through your information. Measure the results. The rewards are worth it.
3 ways to stand out from the crowd
Or, should I say overcrowding. I haven't heard anyone complain lately that they didn't have enough emails, are just surfing for fun, or their to-do list is empty. Plain language, or clear content and design, can make you stand out from the crowd.
Real email subject line: Status of your website
Plain language revision: We can help you get more site traffic
3 things to do when signing off emails
Emails are still the biggest form of communication. How do you sign off your emails? It's an important part for you and your reader. It leads (hopefully) to the next action, purchase, meet-up. However, many of us stumble here. These are three recommended closings (and three not recommended) from Grammarly.com.
Best wishes, Cheers (my favourite) and Thanks in Advance (very positive results) all work very well, when matched to the situation.
Not recommended: Thx, Looking forward to hearing from you (passive aggressive), nothing or just your initials. Plain language is about conciseness, but not at the expense of connecting.
Being clear is what will make you stand out. Take the time to check that your online communication and content meets the three E guidelines, connects with your readers and gets the action you want. It's all about clarity and conciseness.
Check out four.sentenc.es. They offer a nice signature tag for your 'four-sentence email' as a reminder and to encourage others! I love it. Use it! And, I challenge you!
Don't forget good, old face-to-face, even if it's a Skype call, Google Hangout, or Face Time. According to this Harvard Business Review research, "you need to ask six people in person to equal the power of a 200-recipient email".
If plain language or clear communication is new to you or your job, or you want to enhance your skills, check out our Plain Language Academy courses. Plain Language Basics and Plain Language Writing and Editing start at the beginning of each month (except Aug and Dec—we are on holiday).
Link to PlainLanguageAcademy calendar.
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