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From Marketing Profs: The result of this evolution is that too many of our companies sound just like all the others — and our audiences are habituated to the words they’re reading. Stephen Denning, the best-selling author of The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling, says “a revolution in marketing thinking” is essential. One of the reasons he sites is the fact that audiences are increasingly skeptical about what they’re reading. Advertising has lost its credibility, and customers use the (uncontrolled-by-us) web to get information and solve problems.
From Fast Company: In The Missing Ink, Philip Hensher argues that handwriting is good for us and one of the defining behaviors that make us human. Here is his guide to help you reclaim the written word.
By George A. Miller. “My problem is that I have been persecuted by an integer. For seven years this number has followed me around, has intruded in my most private data, and has assaulted me from the pages of our most public journals. This number assumes a variety of disguises, being sometimes a little larger and sometimes a little smaller than usual, but never changing so much as to be unrecognizable. The persistence with which this number plagues me is far more than a random accident. There is, to quote a famous senator, a design behind it, some pattern governing its appearances. Either there really is something unusual about the number or else I am suffering from delusions of persecution.
“I shall begin my case history by telling you about some experiments that tested how accurately people can assign numbers to the magnitudes of various aspects of a stimulus. In the traditional language of psychology these would be called experiments in absolute judgment. Historical accident, however, has decreed that they should have another name. We now call them experiments on the capacity of people to transmit information. Since these experiments would not have been done without the appearance of information theory on the psychological scene, and since the results are analyzed in terms of the concepts of information theory, I shall have to preface my discussion with a few remarks about this theory.”
The website makes clear through examples, tips and descriptions of feelings exactly how to achieve MailChimp’s tone of voice in all areas, including apps, social media, the main website, the blog and internal communications. The same approach and presentation could be used for printed guidelines, too. Tell team members how to get the tone right, but also show them.
From Smashing: Tone of voice isn’t what we say but how we say it. It’s the language we use, the way we construct sentences, the sound of our words and the personality we communicate. It is to writing what logo, color and typeface are to branding.
From NY Times: Are schools undervaluing grammar, given that employers may rule out applicants with sloppy writing? Or are these employers being old-fashioned and missing out on some qualified candidates?
From Verlyn Klinkenborg in NY Times: Before you learn to write well, to trust yourself as a writer, you will have to learn to be patient in the presence of your own thoughts. You’ll learn that making sentences in your head will elicit thoughts you didn’t know you could have. Thinking patiently will yield far better sentences than you thought you could make.
From University of Texas: With its sprawling pastures, gleaming skylines and rugged hills, the Lone Star State looms large in American culture. Just the word Texas evokes images of rootin’ tootin’ cowboys in 10-gallon hats shouting “howdy y’all!” Venture into a honky tonk or a rural Texas town, and you’re likely to find more slow-talking cowpokes than you can shake a stick at. Yet researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found Texanisms like “might could” and “down yonder” are dissipating, especially among young city slickers.