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Posts Tagged ‘message

The person who shared the image in the tweet below probably did not intend to illustrate three important principles of clear messaging.

If you need to send a message, you need to decide what to say and how to say it. This is the planning. In the case of what was most likely a sign for an eatery, the message to potential customers was: We are open for takeout.

But a plan is only as good as its implementation. The message was garbled because the person who pasted the words haphazardly.

Someone on the inside did not bother to check that the message was clear. If they bothered to read it from the outside, they could have rectified the error.

If we are going to transmit messages effectively, we should put at least equal effort into planning, implementing, and checking that our messages are received as intended.

I am not the first to point this out and I doubt I will be the last. The legal disclaimers or warnings that are automatically added to the end of organisational emails are ridiculous and unenforceable.

Here is one example:

This message and any files transmitted with it may be privileged and/or confidential and are intended only for the use of the addressee. If you are not the intended recipient, you shall not disseminate, copy or use this message for any purpose. If you have received this message in error, please notify us immediately by return email and delete the original message. Thank you.

Simply adding it to the end of an email message does not absolve the sender of carelessness, stupidity, or responsibility. It tries to put the onus on the recipient while not being able to ensure their compliance.

So why do it? My guess is that someone started doing it and lemmings followed. If you are not convinced, read some corporate email and count the number of gentle reminders, kind assistance, or revert backs. It is lazy language disease that spread with use.

Just because something is high-sounding or threatening does not make it legally-binding. It is a lazy way to look effective but not actually be effective.

Playing Pokémon Go makes me discover new places. The things I find are not always gems, but they often provoke thought. Take this mural for instance.

View this post on Instagram

Right message, wrong context #mural #hdb #heartland

A post shared by Dr Ashley Tan (@drashleytan) on

The message in text form, while dated, was about taking personal responsibility for the environment. Hence the recommendations to set air-conditioners to no lower than 25 degrees Celsius, to use fans, or energy-saving lightbulbs.

However, there are at least two problems with the mural.

  1. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are not as efficient as LEDs. CFLs also contain mercury, which makes their disposal problematic.
  2. The characters in the mural are using the air-conditioner, fan, and light outdoors.

Giving the mural creator(s) the benefit of creative license, the message was probably that we enact the foreground message for the sake of the background environment.

However, doing that gives the mural creator(s) too much credit. Creative thought needs to be balanced with critical analysis ‚ÄĒ it does not make sense use those tools outdoors.

You can share exactly the same message of change in different contexts. It will make sense and be welcome in some, but not in others. Far better to find out as much as possible about the context first than to deliver a consistent but blind or outdated message.

I am not sure why this memory from 20-plus years ago resurfaced.

I remembered a phone call with a friend who said that her grandfather was “more hip” than she was because he knew all the “nooks and crannies at Orchard Road”. Thanks to a lapse in attention, I misheard the message as he “looks for grannies at Orchard Road”. Hip indeed!

Some leaders mistake communication for dissemination of information. Simply transmitting is not enough. It is just as important to clarify the signal from the noise.

When consulted on systemic change, I focus on the need to articulate messages and stories. When you articulate, you connect, move, and get feedback. You do not stop at buy-in; you try to create ownership.

I change my passwords at least once a year. This is a personal security precaution that sometimes has unforeseen consequences.

For example, after changing my Apple account password, the SMS forwarding feature from my iPhone to other devices like my Macs got disabled.

When I reactivated the feature, I should have been prompted to enter a four-digit code generated on the target device into the iPhone. However, the code did not appear.

Here is a workaround. To enable text message forwarding and get four-digit confirmation codes after changing my Apple password:

1. Disable and then reenable iMessage on the iPhone (Settings -> Messages).


2. Ensure you are logged in to iCloud on the iPhone and target devices.

3. Enable forwarding on the iPhone to other devices (Settings -> Messages -> Text Message Forwarding). Do this one at a time, that is, enable the device, get the code, enter the code. Then repeat for other devices.


Other information I found online was a start but inadequate. So I am adding more currency to the pool of information.


Usage policy

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