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Losing Our Most Precious Asset: "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger."

What we have here is a failure to communicate By G.A. "Andy" Marken

"Danger, Will Robinson, danger."  --  The Robot in the 1990's movie Lost in Space

It wasn't much of a TV series and it was a lousy movie.  For some reason though we thought of the robot's alert in Lost in Space as we thought about the fact that managers across the board are on the verge of losing one of their most critical assets?writing.

Perhaps rather than writing we should be more succinct and say communicating.

People "write" every day.

They email.

They IM.

They blog.

What are the "words?"  LOL.  LMAO.  WTF!?!

Is it professional communications?

While Management talks in terms of strategy, strategic plans and performance success by the pound; when all of the discussion is done someone has to sit down and do the most important task - write.

Or as people have modified Gustave Flaubert's quote puts it ? "The Devil is in the details.  Whatever one does should be done thoroughly; details are important."

And it is the details that kill most marketing and communications programs because: increasingly we focus on embracing technology crutches rather than our real job we feel that the use of a spell and grammar checker produces effective content we never learned or have long forgotten the discipline required in effective communications

We are long past being a teen or tween.  However, we find it difficult to imagine how we did our job before the computer, the Internet or the multi-function cellphone. 

We find it efficient and effective to be available and in touch with clients, clients' customers/partners and the media round the clock, round the globe. Increasingly a carefully thought-out, rapid response can keep programs and projects on track or keep minor issues from becoming major problems.

As John Robinson said in the movie, "There's a lot of space out there to get lost in."

Monitor, Think
That's why it is important for professionals to monitor as many outlets as possible -- print, radio, TV, email, website traffic, use lists and the blogosphere.  The danger is an immediate, knee-jerk response that turns a non-issue or minor problem into a major crisis.

Not having a product included in an article is no reason to fire off an email asking the reporter how he/she could possibly overlook one of the most important products in the field.  Or responding to a negative article/posting by questioning the motives and professionalism of the writer.

But this is done with alarming regularity.


Ask any journalist with any medium about the volume of positive vs negative and downright vicious responses they get to pieces they byline.

The marketing or communications manager feels he/she has shown management how well he/she is doing in protecting the company's or product's reputation.  They also set the reporter/writer straight!

That is a response that should have been written and deleted.

With all of the software tools that are available to us today there is absolutely no excuse for communications of any type going out that have spelling and grammatical errors.

Yet they appear with alarming regularity.

We had some of the toughest and most unrelenting journalism and literature instructors in college.  They were absolutely brutal when it came to grading stories, articles, news items and reports on every aspect of our written communications.

They made us understand that quality writing is both an art and a science.

They made us realize that it wasn't important what we were communicating but how the reader received and interpreted/understood our communications.

With management and marketing communications becoming so critical in today's global organizations and markets it is now it's own discipline of study.  It is not simply a sub-set of journalism schools.   There has been an increased focus on research, behavioral analysis, business management, crisis management and other equally important disciplines.

But if our communications people can't write so that others will read, use, interpret and pass along their message; what is the value of their work? 

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Related Keywords:Writing, Communications, Andy Marken, succinct, email, blog, business, clients,


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