The Importance of Language in Times of Crisis

The importance of language has never been more important as the majority of people are now working from home in all manner of makeshift offices. Here we share tips to ensure clarity of language during times of crisis.

THE AUTHOR

Luke Budka, head of digital PR and SEO, at B2B growth agency TopLine Comms

Luke is head of digital PR and SEO at B2B growth agency TopLine Comms. He’s interested in how PR powers SEO and doesn’t think there’s a lot of a difference between the front page of a newspaper and the first page of Google’s search engine results pages.

The importance of language has never been more important as the majority of people are now working from home in all manner of makeshift offices. Here we share tips to ensure clarity of language during times of crisis.

Clarity of communication is essential at the best of times, but today, with growth in remote working, it is more vital than ever. Teams who are used to face to face brainstorms, bouncing ideas off colleagues sitting next to them, and receiving verbal instructions and feedback, now must navigate a new norm for communications channels.

Within a geographically remote team, leaders and managers are not able to pull a team into a conference room to brief them. Communications channels have changed; so too must our language. Content for internal comms is king: briefing and instructions that are clear, concise and specific ensure your audience knows exactly what you want.

Loose phraseology, unspecified actions, and vague directions, even poor grammar – (remember Lynne Truss’s excellent book Eats, Shoots and Leaves?) – can all have unintended consequences, particularly when people fill in the gaps for themselves and make incorrect assumptions. Is this action for me, or for you? Are we looking at the last quarter or just the previous month? Was that double negative intentional? What’s the deadline?…

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