Be positive, not negative!
Clare Heath / June 2012
Failure. While writing a tender application, I read the instructing letter – it stated “Failure to submit in the correct format will mean rejection”. Well I panicked! Failure… what would happen… all my work would be instantly dismissed… I’d be up in front of the head mistress for some terrible punishment…
The word failure, or any negative language for that matter, is enough to scare the reader, put them on the defensive and certainly won’t get the best out of them. Perhaps “Please use the attached format so we can process your reply quickly and efficiently” would have been more friendly and encouraging.
As a mother of two small boys, I have certainly learnt that an encouraging “oh look, there are your shoes… now let’s see if you can put them on yourself” rather than shouting “PUT YOUR SHOES ON NOW…” has a better outcome and keeps everyone calm and happy. (I admit, not always easy just before the school run!). The same is true for adults. Everyone responds better to positive communication.
So to get the best out of your reader, don’t be negative positive!