Have you seen some appalling emails in the last few days? I certainly have, and I’m saving the best and worst.

But what’s so bad about them?

Firstly it’s volume at a time when we’re really overwhelmed. If you haven’t marketed to me in the last two years, then I don’t want to hear about your hand washing policies. It feels opportunistic and profiteering.

Secondly, they’re patronising. We know what’s happening. We don’t need you to tell us what we already know. Telling me you’re ‘monitoring the situation’ doesn’t reassure me. You’re just watching the news like the rest of us.

Companies communicating poorly now are damaging their brand in the long-term.

Yes we need to communicate now, more than ever. We need to speak to our customers. We need to speak to our people, especially if they’re working from home or feeling insecure. But we need to stop fear grabbing hold of us and spouting word vomit at everyone.

And it’s not that hard. We just need to tune into our values, be a bit more human and be gentler with our tone. This is what I’ve preached for twenty-odd years, so here’s some free stuff to help.

3 top tips if you’re writing something today

  • If it contains the words ‘challenging’, ‘unprecedented’ or ‘closely monitoring’ delete it and start again.
  • No-one’s going to read 17 paragraphs of drivel, make your point and do it quickly.
  • Try to be a human being, everyone’s nervous so if you can be nice and have a heart then do it. You’ll thank yourself in the long term.

Free stuff

For a step-by-step guide to thinking about your audience before you write, try afiatone – audience, focus, inspire, arrange and tone: https://www.benafia.com/i-couldnt-remember-my-words/

Get more detail and techniques by downloading my free ebook, Cut the Crap: https://www.benafia.com/cut-the-crap-blog/

Read loads of white papers, articles and blogs about writing clearly: https://www.benafia.com/articles/

Feeling a bit stuck?

If you’ve written something about coronavirus for your people or customers and you’re not sure about the tone or how clear your words are, I can help.

Email me at ben@benafia.com I’ll look it over and give you some pointers. No fee. No strings. Just a helping hand.

And a webinar…

Lots of you are firefighting right now, with hundreds of customers getting in touch. And you need words to communicate with them – emails, announcements, IVR messages, letters and web copy. My clients tell me afiatone helps them think clearly so they can write clearly. If enough people are interested I’ll put on a free training webinar – so drop me a line and let me know if you’re in.