EXERCISE: Strengthen your ‘synthesis muscles’

EXERCISE: Strengthen your ‘synthesis muscles’

 

Synthesis is at the core of everything we do at Clarity First, and so when I saw an example come across my desk this week I couldn't resist turning it into an exercise.

This email is laid out nicely and yet there are a couple of areas where synthesis can be improved.

When reviewing this one, remember our ‘value ladder' that lays out the different kinds of messages and ask yourself some questions:

  1. What level are these messages at?
  2. How can I synthesise to make it easier for the reader to glean the messages by skimming?

I have included the latest version of the Value Ladder here as reference as well as download links for the before and after versions.

I hope you find it useful.

Dav

 

PS – Those of you who have been following our ‘synthesis project' will note two things with this version of the ladder.

  1. ‘information' includes data that may be catalogued and categorised.
  2. ‘synthesis' can be both informative and insightful. I have labelled that extra level of insight as ‘flair'. We can no doubt debate this more in our next Momentum session!

 

EXERCISE: Rewrite this invitation so your grandma could understand it

This week we worked on an email and ended up discussing another truism that can be very hard to execute on.

This morning’s one was: ‘Write it so your grandmother could understand it’.

As an idea it is both good and infuriatingly difficult to execute on.

How to do that?

The key to this morning’s example was to focus on the substance of the message, rather than on the ‘process’ required to gain accreditation.

Here are two steps to take to transfer the learnings into your own work:

In general, focus more on the ‘why’ …

  1. Introduce not just the topic but why it matters. In the example below you can see there is an embedded assumption that the audience knows why this accreditation process matters. I have added some definitions on the slide for those unfamiliar with the human resources landscape.
  2. Dig further into the ‘why’. Ask yourself why you are communicating to this specific audience about this specific topic that they now understand is important.

Practice this by leveraging the example we used in the working session.

  1. Take note of the graphic below that highlights some of the problems with the original.
  2. Download the original, be inspired by these problems and rework it yourself.
  3. Review the recorded working session where we wrangled with it as a group
  4. Check out an enhanced version of our ‘after’ for your reference. I took what we did in the group (which was helpful but not ‘finished’) and refined it further using my knowledge of the actual situation.

I hope you find that useful.

Have a great week.

Dav

EXERCISE: Email Rewrite (procurement example)

Notes 

As with many customer emails, this one focused far too much on the author than on the audience.

In some ways, they could have kept it even shorter, saying something like:

 

Given we have recently identified that you are a small business supplier, from now on we will pay any new invoice within 30 days.

We apologise for not doing this sooner as we are committed to supporting small businesses like yours.

This, however, doesn’t provide an opportunity to justify why they had not moved sooner in line with Government requirements.

In light of that extra need, my solution is more expansive, while still attempting to be brief.

I hope you find it useful.

 

Solution

Dear valued BigCo supplier,

We have recently identified that you are a small business supplier of ours with an annual turnover of less than $10m.

Moving forward we will be improving your payment terms.

We will pay any new invoices within 30 days of invoice submission in line with the Australian Government’s new Small Business Supplier Payment Code.

Statement – Despite being a big supporter of small business, we have had difficulty in identifying which of our providers are classified as small business suppliers.

Comment – However, a new government tool has been introduced that enabled us to identify small businesses such as yours that deserve short payment terms.

Recommendation – Consequently, we will bring your payment terms forward for any future invoices.

If you have any questions regarding this change in payment terms, please forward your enquiry to procurement@BigCo.com.
Sincerely,
Peter

 

Keywords: Email, deductive structures,