• Lucas North

Why clarity is vital for your business

Updated: May 15, 2020

Photo: The Times

YOUR BUSINESS WILL SUFFER if you can’t provide people with clear messages.

Your team members won’t know what to do. Your customers will be confused and move on. You’ll bang your head against the proverbial wall wondering why people aren’t buying your stuff. Why they’re unsure about the service you offer. Why they’re not doing what you want them to do!

This is the very clear message we learned this week when the UK’s lockdown restrictions were eased.

Newspapers condemned the PM's lack of clarity

What we saw in the days after Boris Johnson’s announcement was report after report from those who felt the messaging was muddled.

Writing in the Express, Simon Osborne asked rhetorically:

Boris Johnson is facing calls for clarity from police, unions and businesses in England after he set out "the first sketch of a road map" for easing the coronavirus lockdown but are you confused by the new rules?

The Guardian used the leader of the opposition’s view for its headline:

“Johnson giving no clear direction on lockdown exit,” says [Keir] Starmer.

The Mirror went with a headline neither the newspaper nor the police should be hugely proud of:

Police demand 'clear and unambiguous' guidance over PM's new lockdown rules

Why the words ‘clear’ and ‘unambiguous’ were needed is, ironically, unclear as they mean the same thing. But that’s for another blog…

What was clear was the newspapers’ anger.

The mood of the nation

Those headlines were created to reflect the mood of the nation. A nation that was unhappy about the lack of clarity.

If you distrust newspapers, as many do, you could have picked up the mood of the nation from social media.

Even on the Sunday when the PM made his announcement, people weren’t sure whether they should go back to work on Monday… or on Wednesday or any other day.

Among them were people who couldn’t work from home but couldn’t maintain safe social distancing at work.

Others were concerned whether getting on a bus would create the ‘flood’ ministers wanted to avoid. How many people cause a flood?

Some businesspeople said they’d do their own thing and keep their staff furloughed because of concerns over their health.

Lack of clarity threw millions of people into disarray

Easing the restrictions of a national lockdown is obviously a big undertaking. Therefore, it follows that crossing every t and dotting every i is also a very difficult task. The government is doing what it can under extreme pressure.

Yet people still cried out for clarity. This is because most will do what they’re asked to do if they know what’s being asked of them. People can’t do the right thing if they don’t know what the right thing is.

When businesses write messages – to their own staff as well as their customers – they have far fewer things to take into consideration than the government.

This should make it easier for them to write and share clear messages.

But we all know this isn’t always the case.

It’s easy to make mistakes

Unfortunately, it is far, far easier to get a message wrong than get it right. It may seem easy, but the complexity of language gets in the way. Messages get muddled. And, as we’ve seen this week, that causes confusion, which people find frustrating.

So, ask yourself, do you want to frustrate people or do you want to provide them with clear messages?

I can help if it’s the latter.

Get in touch if you need help writing clear messages for the people. It'll help them support your business.

Thanks for reading.

#writing, #copywriting, #copywriter, #contentwriting, #content, #english, #clarity

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