Commandments for Communicators

Thou shalt accept that it is difficult to communicate clearly. Thou shalt know what thy message is. Thou shalt define what thine objective is. Thou shalt remember who thine audience is. Thou shalt simplify. Thou shalt repeat. Thou shalt repeat. Thou shalt respect the power of the parable. Thou shalt weave humor into the fabric of thine message. Thou shalt analyze how thy message has been received. Thou shalt stop when thou hast no more to say.

“If you want it to be remembered, put it in writing.”

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One of the most important charges given to public schools is to teach children to communicate through the proper use of language. Throughout the elementary grades, the primary focus is on teaching and reinforcing the skills of reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and pronunciation. In high school, more advanced uses of language are emphasized through creative writing, journalism, speech, and drama.

As an educational institution, how much effort and emphasis does your school place on utilizing these same communication skills to educate, inform, and enlist the support of your principal constituencies? Because it is a given that your school should be doing this, this chapter focuses on the hows and not the whys of written communication from you and your school.