Concise Advice #17: Your Manifesto for Communications Success


Every letter, talk, and communication we send to employees or to other places has to flow through a self-imposed emotional and vocabulary filter system that keeps us on an even keel that preempts, deters, and reduces the attacks, provocative, and negative comments that are likely to occur. Here are your preemption, and peace-driving filter elements:

1. Eliminate, remove, and eradicate all negative words, language, and phrases. Each of these is a flash and attack point, viewed as intimidation, pushback, and pressure. These responses are what stir up bad headlines and angry people. They energize and enrage.

2. Avoid the use of the word “I” as much as possible, especially at the beginning of paragraphs. Any piece of copy that begins with the word “I” is about the sender rather than the recipient. When messages are about the sender, they will be misunderstood, negatively reinterpreted, and tossed back at you in a headline.

3. Reflect on the impact of every sentence and thought expressed. Whether we are talking to our friends or those who are attempting to irritate or organize us, plain, declarative, positive language will reduce contention and make it harder to credibly attack or challenge our words and deeds.

4. Bosses and leaders set a positive, peaceful example. Protect the outcome we seek. Employees at all levels, including managers and supervisors, will reflect and behave the way the bosses walk, talk, and behave. Say less but be important and positive.

5. All of our communications and actions must be targeted toward reducing the production of victims, critics, and combatants. These individual circumstances, once created, last essentially forever. In every communications setting, you need to ask this question, “How many critics, victims, or combatants does this approach create?” If even one is possible, fix it.

6. A single victim carries unimaginable explosive power. You are the target.

7. A single public victim tear can destroy millions of data and provable facts.

8. Wage peace everywhere, every day at every opportunity. Victims and casualties live, suffer, and remember forever. Most want to get even. Can you go home and talk about your plans and strategies over the dinner table with your children or grandchildren present or your mother? And they won’t roll their eyes?

9. Be prepared to promptly correct, clarify, and constructively, and productively comment as needed. This approach can have an enormously calming effect on employees and employee concerns, the community and community concerns, and even the victims, survivors, their families, and their concerns.