This summer I was a communications writer intern for ServiceLink, a mortgage services company working to build its reputation as an employer. My main project was writing and editing content for a new recruiting website. Among other things, I had to make ServiceLink’s business easier to understand to jobseekers.
My job was to take something steeped in corporate jargon and put it into plain English. However, those I consulted for information, and who also had final say, sometimes clung to their corporate jargon like a lifeline.
Public relations professionals always have to work with members of other parts of the business, and communications we produce will often need their approval. No matter what we know about the principles of good writing and communication, unfortunately sometimes people just want to capitalize “Sales Executive” or describe the field services department to jobseekers by saying it offers a full suite of field services solutions, and there’s not much we can do.
The good news is that effective communication can often get people on our side.
The people you’ll be working with are busy, and you are not their top priority. Like when communicating with other stakeholders, you need to make it easy for them. The first time you contact someone, explain simply, clearly, and concisely what you need and why. Tell him or her what problem you’re addressing, what your goal is, and how he or she can help you. State the call to action clearly and near the beginning. Taking the time to do this from the start will save time in the long run. It will make that person more sympathetic to your needs and more responsive. You’ll need to follow up less often, and, above all, the end product will be better.