Tips on Business Voice & Wording in Challenging Times

We know from mental health and personal development experts that what we say to ourselves matters. In short, we are what we think. The same principle applies to business wording—we are what we type, and what we write to our customers matters.
When communicating about COVID-19 and its impact to your organization, here are four ways to ensure that your writing is in the best interest of your customers’ psyche and your bottom line.

1. Be a Leader
As individuals, we are challenged to find our power right now, but as a business, you have a built-in role as a leader. Communicating that you are in control will assure customers that they can count on your business, adding short-term and long-term value to your brand.

Examples:

Before: We are doing our best to maintain regular operations.
After: We are committed to delivering first-class service during this time.

Before: We are considering our options to postpone or reschedule…
After: Our amazing team is working quickly to reschedule…

2. Be Solutions-Focused
With all of the COVID-19 content that’s being created right now, it’s easy to adopt wording that is negative and fear-based. Instead, choose wording that is pragmatic and solutions-focused to help ease the collective anxiety and to create positive associations with your brand.

Examples:

Before: As we learn to adapt to new levels of uncertainty, turmoil, and disruption…
After: As we learn to embrace new levels of challenge, change, and flexibility…

Before: Our hearts go out to our staff and everyone impacted by this global pandemic.
After: We are prioritizing protecting the safety of our staff, their families, and the broader community.

3. Be in the Now

Examples:

Jumping ahead to the distant future isn’t helpful. In fact, it’s likely to invoke more worry than confidence. Instead, stay in the present by focusing on the next few weeks and months—time frames that people can see on their calendar.

Before: Due to these unprecedented times, our team has made the difficult decision…
After: Due to the changes and shifts we are currently experiencing, our team has decided…

Before: Now, as we all face an uncertain future…
After: Today, as we look to the coming weeks and months…

4. Be Specific

Examples:

Providing details about what your business is doing will give people a clearer picture of what’s working, what’s in the works, and what’s still being defined. Gaps and gray areas create space for runaway thinking. Instead, be generous with tactics and tangibles.

Before:
We are making necessary changes to address the impact to our business…
After: We are continuously developing creative solutions and applying new tools…

Before: We appreciate your patience with these scheduling changes…
After: These scheduling changes will allow us time to develop more relevant and beneficial…

I hope you find these tips helpful for both your business and personal communications. I encourage you to share with your network of communications professionals and small- to medium-sized business owners so they can put their best voice forward during these challenging, yet highly connective, times.

Erica Younkin is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Founder of BRANDcrafted Marketing. Here is a link to this article on LinkedIn.

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