Have you ever read something from a company and thought “who are they talking to?”

Most companies speak in a hodgepodge of never-ending jargon, corporate speak and chest thumping. Frankly, it’s hard to digest.

Ultimately, good communication boils down to this: Customers don’t want to hear all about what you do and how you do it, they want to know what’s in it for them.

At AT&T, we serve many customers – from most of the Fortune 500, to mom & pop stores, to families and individuals. They all crave clear, simple, benefit-driven communication.

Words Matter.

A little over a year ago, my team embarked on a deliberate effort to write in the style customers crave. We kicked off the initiative, Words Matter, by training employees on the importance of being personal, plainspoken and positive (the 3Ps).

From there, we put it into practice by scoring all writing using the Flesch-Kincaid readability tools. And we’re improving each day.

For example, instead of writing “simplify integration and interoperability,” we write “so they work better together.” Simple, right?

At some point, the business world lost sight of the value of plain English. Now, it takes a culture-shift to write clearly and simply. Culture shifts don’t happen overnight. And they don’t happen without training, resources and goal setting.

So here’s my challenge to you: Start changing your own culture.

Think more about what your audience will take away from your writing, and less about cramming in all your company did. And, please, lose the jargon.

You with me? Here are 3 short videos to get you started.

1.      "Straight writing, no chaser"

2.      "First impressions"

3.      “What's in it for me?" 

Larry Solomon
Larry Solomon Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications