Plain English

I have often said that the biggest challenge facing senior execs who want to engage people through social media is remembering how to talk normally.

We get so used to mincing our words, talking in jargon, using passive verbs, writing in the third person. And it's not just in writing. My partner Penny Jackson has recently run a very successful media training programme for the executive team of a large company and much of that was helping them become clear about what they want to say and saying it well. But we make it hard for ourselves. Partly out of nervousness, partly out of habit, and frankly partly out of laziness.

People have been kind enough to commend my clarity and concision but if I have these skills they don't come easily. I practice constantly. I write all the time, even if no one else sees it. I have a house full of books about grammar and writing skills. I read lots and lots of poetry.

Being able to communicate effectively is a key skill in any walk of life. Sharing our ideas well is what will differentiate us from the advancing threat of artificial intelligence. We would do well to work hard at getting good at it.

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