PLAIN ENGLISH BOOSTS TAX REVENUES

Not that long ago, I heard about a very impressive effort by officials in Washington State. At a time when tax revenues are hard to come by, those officials boosted use-tax revenues by a whopping $800,000!

Did they raise rates? No. Hire private investigators? Uh-uh. Try torture? Nope.

They simply rewrote tax notices in “plain talk” — ordinary, familiar English — rather than the bureaucratic jargon they had been using. The recipients of those notices understood what they were reading, so they were able to complete the correct forms and pay the taxes they should have been paying all along.

The moral? If people understand what you’re saying, they can do what you want them to do. But if your language baffles or confuses them, they’ll do the wrong thing — or do nothing, which can be worse.

Do the customers, clients or other people your success depends upon understand everything you tell them? Are those lackluster results because they were uninterested, or because they were confused?

What if every message you sent were just 10 percent clearer and more effective? What would that do to your organization’s results (and your reviews)? Perhaps the solution is surprisingly plain and simple!

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