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  • Relive the learnings 4 – Make things idiot proof.

    Relive the learnings 4 – Make things idiot proof.

    Much excitement coming your way with Blog the Talk– 6 lined up. My friend Ajay Jain
    shares his learnings on, what I call, enabled publishing. That’s in a couple of days…
    For now, we go back to the Relive the Learning series that I left incomplete. So far we touched upon:

    1. Say more in less.
    2. Close the loop.
    3. Don’t presume, ask instead.

    Today I am taking up “Make things idiot proof”.
    To begin with, let me reverse the title and say it is not the recipient of the message who is an idiot, we are:

    1. In presuming that the recepient has the necessary background – when in fact, she/he may not.
    2. In using complex language or jargon – when the recepient may not be even be from our industry.
    3. In not specifying the sought action – what do you expect the recepient to do after having consumed the communication?

    Simple actions might help in keeping it simple:

    1. Give each communication a life of its own – make it complete, maybe share a background? Continuity, by the way, is one of the “8 Cs of the communication”. Remember them?
      Communication is a continuing process in which repetition is helpful to the memory and understanding.
      Read the document once after you have finished writing it. Does it sound complete? Would you be able to make sense of it if you were not in fact the writer?
    2. Keep it simple – I speak no jargon, for I know none. Assuming that you do, must you rely on jargon and complicate your message? Jargon has increasingly become part of common lingo and yet in an increasingly complex world, simplicity cannot but be a virtue.
      If YOU are fundamentally clear about what you want to communicate, it should be possible to keep it simple. Give it a shot, say whatever you want to say – directly, simply.
    3. OK I heard you, now what do you want me do? Spell out the action you seek from the recepient. Is it just FYI? Then say so. Do you need to hear back? By when? Anything to be done? Sure, then say so.
      Nothing that you didn’t know and yet all of us miss out from time to time, so it’s a good reminder for myself.

    Like always, the story is not complete without your comments. Keep writing.

    Disclaimer: Views of authors are personal and do not represent the views of Blogworks, or any of its clients.

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