Exercise Add Specificity to General Statements

In the following example, rewrite the text by adding numbers or statistics. Read the explanatory paragraph, and then revise to add specificity.

Harriet, president of a floral supply company, wants to send an E-mail to motivate her employees to do their best work despite gloomy economic conditions. Six months ago, all associates in her company had their pay cut by 5 percent; managers had their pay cut by 15 percent. Although business is still down, Harriet wants to report a slight upswing in advance orders, which she hopes is the first glimmer of a full recovery. Three new customers have placed orders in the past month. If the trend continues, she anticipates that the company will be able to reinstate pay soon—perhaps as soon as the next quarter.

She is concerned, however, because customer complaints have risen. More than twenty complaints came in during the last quarter. That's nearly double the previous quarter and 40 percent higher than a year ago. Harriet is concerned that employees are slacking off. She wants them to know the future of the company, and thus their jobs, is directly tied to providing excellent customer service and if they slack off, customers will go elsewhere. Here's Harriet's first draft:

Hi Team:

As you know, this has been the most difficult period in the company's history. We all had to share the pain—every one of us has had our pay cut. Things are beginning to look a little brighter, but we all need to be certain that the turnaround is solid and work to our highest capacity.

I have become concerned that an increase in customer complaints reflects a slacking off on the part of some employees. If you slack off, our recovery will be hindered. It's crucial that you do your best every day on every job.

I'll keep you posted about the recovery. With any luck, we'll be able to reverse the pay cuts soon. If there are any issues that you'd like to discuss with me, I encourage you to do so. E-mail or call me directly.

Harriet

What did you think of Harriet's E-mail? Most people think it's pretty good. It's benefit oriented and reader focused (scoring a seven on the Empathy Index). It has a good lead and the close suggests specific action. It adheres to the standards of excellence we've discussed thus far. What it lacks, however, is specifics. Review the paragraphs above the E-mail to remind yourself of the facts and numbers that are available, and revise Harriet's E-mail to add specificity.

How did you do? Were you able to integrate several numbers into the text? As you read your revision, can you hear how every sentence sounds stronger and more believable when numbers and statistics are included?

There are several effective ways to revise Harriet's E-mail. Here's one: Hi Team:

As you know, this has been the most difficult period in the company's history. We've all had to share the pain—every one of us has had our pay cut, some by as much as 15 percent. With three new customers in the past month placing orders, things are beginning to look a little brighter, but we all need to be certain that the turnaround is solid and work to our highest capacity.

I have become concerned about an increase in customer complaints—more than twenty complaints were received in the last quarter, more than double the number of complaints we received the quarter before. While I know that morale is low, some employees aren't taking the same care that they used to. If you don't do your best, our recovery will be hindered. It's crucial that you do your best every day on every job.

I'll keep you posted about the recovery. With any luck, we'll be able to reinstate full pay soon, perhaps as soon as the next quarter. If there are any issues that you'd like to discuss with me, I encourage you to do so. E-mail or call me directly.

Harriet

Simply adding a few numbers makes the entire message clearer and more compelling.

0 0

Post a comment