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Live from LASHRM: 4 steps to more strategic writing

2 min read


This guest post is by DaeJonae White, reporting live from the annual conference for the Louisiana chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

HR professionals know the importance of effective communication, but many of them they struggle with it — especially potentially contentious written communications. For advice, LASHRM turned to Dianna Booher, author of a number of books on effective communication, including “The Voice of Authority: 10 Communication Strategies Every Leader Needs to Know.”

In her session, Booher shared her 4 steps for strategic writing:

  • Consider your audience. Who am I writing to?  What is the bottom line? Know what you are talking about. What is the point? Make it easy for readers to figure out what’s important. “Tell them what you will tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them,” advises Booher.
  • Anticipate special problems in your reader’s reaction. What will they be thinking? Are they afraid of change? The potential for extra work?
  • Outline your message functionally. Booher recommends the  MADE Format:
    • Message: State the bottom line message.
    • Action: Recommendations or follow-up actions.
    • Detail: Elaborate — who, when, where, why, how.
    • Evidence: Mention any attachments or enclosures.
  • Create drafts. Don’t just hit send. You must edit for content, grammar, clarity, conciseness and style. As you edit,  check for accuracy and completeness. Chunk your text into paragraphs for eye appeal, as well as by idea.

Image credit, mikdam, via iStock

What are some of your favorite tricks and tips for effective written communication at work?