Whether it’s an article in the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail or the Financial Times, pretty well everything that’s published is easily understood by each and every reader.
It is often said that any editorial in the media should be written to the literacy level of an 11-year-old. However, that is questionable based on the exacting spelling tests imposed upon primary school children.
In the world of business schools, academics – not all, one hastens to add – get caught using words that may suit the world of academia, but are not comfortably understood by the world at large. You could call it writing by an academic for an academic.
It prompted me to run a quick exercise during football half-time down at the local pub. I put to the test a handful of words with a few friends – all professionals. I excluded one who works for a national paper and another who is a scientist. The rest struggled with paradigm which is one of these words that sounds wonderful but in reality, struggles to mean anything specific. They also struggled with a number of others, too.
Then there’s many more words I found on a quick search around the writings of academics whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Parsimony, optimisation, uni-directional, bi-directional, participatory, translational, societal, self-governance, consortia were among those they used.
Often, the words on their own can be understood easily, but what happens is they’re bunched together in a combination which takes time to comprehend or absorb the whole meaning of the sentence.
So, how about this for one headline… ‘Executive team consensus-based perspective of organization evolution.’
Another comment that caught the eye of complexity was this one from a press release I received…
“We believe that digitalisation, optimisation, innovative service provision and new technologies will transform today’s uni-directional flow of electricity from suppliers to passive consumers, to a bi-directional, participative and optimised system.”
Over time, famous authors such as Hemingway and Orwell have been successful because of their captivating story lines. This, of course, would have been worthless without plain, simple, easy to understand English.
It is no surprise that some of the most successful media savvy faculty are those that have the knack of writing in a simple style, making the words pertinent and engaging to grab the editor’s attention.
Gaining those precious ‘column inches’ is about writing in a way that everyone can understand. Or, that’s where BlueSky PR comes in to play, to advise, cajole and direct the author or commentator with alternatives that do exactly what’s needed – to get the message across with a wow factor.
To get your message across with a wow factor, contact BlueSky PR today.
Author: Chris Johnson