“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.” – William Butler Yeats
If you are an executive — even the CEO — of your business, consider writing a note once a week or even once a month in which you express, in the most informal way you can, your thoughts about what you feel about your business. By being candid and direct, you’ll gain the interest and respect of people who might otherwise regard you as some snob in a corner office.
Even if you are a member of the rank and file, you might want to think about sending your own “rank-and-file” message to fellow workers who might be interested.
If you want this to work in your favor, heed the following suggestions:
- Don’t complain or criticize. This is a forum for building things up, not knocking things down.
- Be careful about what you say. You don’t want the legal or PR department to begin making gobbledygook of your messages. You can prevent that from happening — hopefully — by taking a few minutes after you’ve written a message to reread it and consider the possible consequences.
- Stick to one topic at a time. One strong topic will last in your readers’ minds.
- Speak from experience. When you have hard information to back up something you’ve said, use it. But don’t base your arguments on statistics or other theoretical data. Talk about what you personally know to be true.
- Use anecdotes and real-life stories, but don’t mention anyone by name — especially if you are talking about a problem or mistake.
You can’t run your business by sending informal e-mail messages, but you can bridge the gap that might exist between you and a lot of other people who — like it or not — will have a great deal to do with how successful you are.