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August 28, 2013

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I'm certainly not a hotline-caliber communication expert, but my initial response is ...

1. You're not a journalist.
2. Credibility comes from the integrity of your content and leadership not whether you prefer to use someone's first or last name.
3. Know your audience and let what you know about them determine tone and reading level.
4. Focus more on content and ideas for how your communication tools can support your organizations objectives in a fun and creative way.
5. You're not a journalist.

Good points, Chuck, especially #s 1 and 5. One of the problems in the communication business is that we pretend that we're a cult of a single mind. We "get" communication, and everybody else "doesn't get it."

We feel obligated to help our beleaguered brethren in any way we can with whatever schemes they're proposing.

And usually we forget to ask: Does this make any sense whatsoever? Or should this person be stopped before pranging him- or herself and the whole profession by extension?

Good points, Chuck, especially #s 1 and 5. One of the problems in the communication business is that we pretend that we're a cult of a single mind. We "get" communication, and everybody else "doesn't get it."

We feel obligated to help our beleaguered brethren in any way we can with whatever schemes they're proposing.

And usually we forget to ask: Does this make any sense whatsoever? Or should this person be stopped before pranging him- or herself and the whole profession by extension?

Here's what I would have said:

Why are you so concerned about readership and what difference is it going to make to your organization to fiddle with your style guide? Particularly when "nobody else wants it," which is a pretty good indication of how much attention it got before someone tossed it in your lap. I guarantee your senior executives don't care about readership or your company's style guide, so going to great lengths to prove that your suggestions are the right ones won't really matter to anyone but you. Your executives will want to know what you're doing to help your company make money. Plain and simple. Answering that question has infinitely more value than tinkering with a style guide.

Friend, your questions are important and difficult ones to answer. To provide anything more than the most mundane and pat advice, I need to know much more about XYZ, your employees, and what you're trying to accomplish. That, of course, will take time. My hourly rate is $XXXX.

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