Think of what you’ve had to read recently at work. What has created a sense of connection? What has left you cold?
Connecting with people in the way we write is a leadership skill. Simple, direct, human language inspires trust and confidence in a way that the language of organisations rarely can.
Engaging with staff in person at meetings and learning events is one thing. But how do you capture people’s attention if, for example, you’re leading large-scale change or quality improvement programmes where you also have to connect and engage through the written word? It’s an important question – but one that’s routinely overlooked.
And the challenge grows when it comes to working with different cultures as in health and social care. Which words do you choose when people speak different professional languages? How do you find a tone of voice to inspire confidence and trust across multiple agencies?
The ‘aha’ moment came for me in reading the Berwick Report, 'A Promise to Learn - A Commitment to Act' published in 2013 in the wake of the Frances enquiry into the quality concerns at Mid Staffordshire. I have long been an admirer of Don Berwick's writing. His simple language reaches out and connects in a distinctly human way. The report was respectful, person centred and compelling. It called for action and I wanted to commit; to make a difference.
I was intrigued. How do you do that?
My search for a different way of relating through the written word brought me into contact with Stuart Delves and Jamie Jauncie. They run workshops on making work-related communication more effective, engaging, human and memorable.
They left quite an impression. So much so that we've since decided to combine our skills and run workshops for managers and leaders in the health and care sector. We're testing our approach during 2015.
These workshops are for leaders and managers in the health and care sector who want to strengthen their ability to connect with people in the way they write at work. Come along, try it out and let us know what you think.