Ah, the herding effect. The idea that we, the human race, are far less free-thinking than we’d like to believe. And that if we see a crowd, we instinctively want to follow it.
In recent years behavioural scientists have been quick to tell us what ‘most people like us’ are doing: whether that’s paying a council tax bill or not dropping litter. It’s a good way of changing people’s behaviour for the better.
But what if the status quo isn’t something to aspire to?
What if you’re a business writer, and all around you colleagues and competitors are deep diving, pushing the envelope and generally thinking outside the box to be best in class?
Would you rally against it? Or slowly succumb to the nonsense?
Let’s make clear nonsense-free language the norm.
If you want writers in your organisation to ditch jargon, show them everyone else has already done it.
So praise and share writing that’s genuinely clear and consistent.
If you run clear communication training, let everyone see how many people have signed up or taken your course.
And, above all, make sure your top teams can strike a straightforward tone. The clearer they are, the clearer the message they’ll send to your teams: that good communication’s the norm here.
If you’d like to help us change the communication norm, share any brilliant writing you see with us @SchwaUK.