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Crafting Clarity - Challenge #7

Better Said Newsletter 007

Read time: 6 minutes

Topics covered: Effective Writing, Understanding Audience, Time Management

121 emails per day. 

That is what the average office worker is bombarded with every day. Of course, these emails appear on both our phones and our computers, alongside messages from Slack or whatever messaging system you're using.

After working six days a week for two years, I've come to hate Slack's purple color so much that I had to change it to another color just to make my workday a little easier. (You can find an article on how to change that here.)

But with so many messages and emails, how do you make yours stand out? There's nothing worse than crafting an email and then receiving no response for days or weeks as your work gets bottlenecked.

Two tips for you today:

  1. Make it easy to respond: If your audience can't respond to your message or email within five minutes of reading it, there's a higher chance they will forget about it.

  2. Write for your audience: How do you know what your audience wants? Create personas – fictional representations of our target audience based on demographic and psychographic data. By delving into the nuances of who our audience members are, what they value, and how they consume information, we can tailor our communication to meet their needs and preferences.

Building a Persona

It's like creating a character in a story, except this character represents someone you likely interact with regularly – your coworker or manager.

So, how do you build a persona for someone you already have a personal relationship with? Here's a step-by-step guide:

Understand Their Role:

Start by understanding the role your coworker or manager plays within your organisation. What are their responsibilities? What are their goals and priorities? 

When they are making decisions, what information do they need? How can you present the information you have in a way that aligns with theirs? 

This will give you insight into their mindset and the information they need to succeed.

Their Communication Style:

Next, think about how your coworker or manager prefers to communicate. Do they prefer concise, to-the-point messages, or do they appreciate more detailed explanations? Are they reading on their phone or on their computers?

You can learn more about their communication style by looking around them. How do they personally communicate? Who do they seem to respond to the fastest? What is that person doing differently? What media do they consume? Read a few articles from their preferred news publication, how does it differ from others?

Understanding their communication style will help you tailor your message to their preferences.

Identify Their Pain Points:

What challenges does your coworker or manager face in their role? What information do they need to overcome these challenges? 

What concerns do you have to address for them to understand the full picture?

By identifying their pain points, you can tailor your message to provide solutions and support.

Take Note of Personal Preferences:

Beyond their professional role, consider any personal preferences your coworker or manager may have. Do they have a particular interest or hobby? Are there any topics they're passionate about? Taking these preferences into account can help you build rapport and strengthen your relationship.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes:

Finally, put yourself in the shoes of your coworker or manager. Imagine what a day in their life looks like – what tasks are they juggling? What decisions are they making? By empathizing with their perspective, you can better understand their needs and tailor your message accordingly.

Remember, building a persona for someone you know personally is about deepening your understanding of their needs and preferences. It's not about manipulating or deceiving them – it's about enhancing your communication to better support your relationship and collaboration.

Meet your team

Here I’m building a persona for two characters in different stages of their career that will need different consideration. There is no right or wrong way of communicating with people but it is a great exercise to stretch your understanding and writing style and test out different ways of writing. 

For Executive Emily:

Responsibilities within the organization: Emily is a Senior Marketing Manager responsible for overseeing various marketing campaigns, managing a team of marketing professionals, and liaising with upper management to ensure alignment with organizational goals and objectives. With recent layoffs, she is incharge of more teams than before and is strained for time.

Goals and priorities in her role: Emily's primary goals include increasing brand visibility, driving lead generation, and optimizing marketing strategies to maximize ROI and achieve business objectives.

Information needed to make decisions effectively: Emily relies on comprehensive data and insights to inform strategic decision-making. She values actionable insights that can guide marketing initiatives and drive measurable results.

Communication preferences: Emily prefers direct and succinct communication. She appreciates well-organized and concise updates that highlight key metrics, performance indicators, and strategic recommendations.

Communication medium: Emily predominantly communicates through email and prefers to read messages on her computer. She values clear and concise written communication that allows her to digest information quickly.

Challenges faced in her role: Emily faces challenges related to managing multiple projects simultaneously, meeting tight deadlines, and ensuring alignment with upper management's expectations.

Now how can this be translated into communicating with Emily?

  1. Be Direct and Concise: Given Emily's preference for direct and succinct communication, ensure your messages get straight to the point. Avoid unnecessary details and lengthy explanations. Use clear language and concise sentences to convey your message effectively.

  2. Provide Actionable Insights: Emily relies on comprehensive data and insights to make strategic decisions. When communicating with her, include actionable insights and recommendations backed by data. Highlight key metrics, performance indicators, and strategic implications to guide her decision-making process.

  3. Focus on Key Metrics and ROI: Emily's primary goals include increasing brand visibility, driving lead generation, and optimizing marketing strategies to maximize ROI. Tailor your communication to address these goals by emphasizing the impact of your proposals on key metrics and the potential return on investment.

  4. Respect Her Time: Recognize that Emily is managing multiple projects simultaneously and facing tight deadlines. Respect her time by keeping your messages concise and to the point. Prioritize important information and avoid overwhelming her with unnecessary details. TL;DR for easy refreshing.

  5. Use Email as the Primary Communication Medium: Since Emily predominantly communicates through email and prefers to read messages on her computer, ensure your emails are well-structured and easy to read. Use clear subject lines, bullet points, and formatting to make your message stand out and facilitate quick comprehension.

  6. Offer Solutions to Challenges: Acknowledge the challenges Emily faces in her role, such as managing multiple teams and tight deadlines. When communicating with her, offer proactive solutions to address these challenges and support her in achieving her goals. Be solution-oriented and demonstrate your commitment to helping her overcome obstacles.

By following these tips, you can tailor your communication to Executive Emily's preferences and priorities, facilitating effective collaboration and supporting her in achieving her goals. 

Now on to a newer hire. 

For Enthusiastic Evan:

Responsibilities:  Assisting with various marketing initiatives and campaigns, conducting market research and analysis, supporting the development of marketing materials and content, and collaborating with team members on project tasks. He may also be tasked with administrative duties, such as organizing files, scheduling meetings, and assisting with general office tasks. 

Goals and aspirations: Evan's primary goal is to gain practical experience in the field of marketing and contribute to innovative projects within the organization. He is eager to learn from seasoned professionals and develop his skills in marketing.

Communication preferences: Evan is eager and inquisitive, seeking guidance and feedback to enhance his skills and knowledge. He values open dialogue and appreciates opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification on tasks or assignments.

Learning opportunities: Evan is enthusiastic about gaining hands-on experience and exposure to different aspects of marketing. He is eager to contribute to projects and initiatives that allow him to apply his skills and learn from real-world scenarios.

Challenges faced as a new intern: Evan may face challenges related to adapting to the work environment, understanding company policies and procedures, and learning new tools or technologies used in marketing.

Personal interests: Outside of work, Evan enjoys exploring new technologies, attending marketing workshops or webinars, and staying informed about emerging trends in the marketing industry.

So how could we tailor our messages to Evan differently?

  1. Encourage Open Dialogue: Evan values open dialogue and appreciates opportunities to ask questions and seek guidance. Create an environment where Evan feels comfortable expressing his ideas and seeking clarification on tasks or assignments. Encourage him to voice his thoughts and contribute to discussions.

  2. Provide Constructive Feedback: Offer constructive feedback and guidance to help Evan enhance his skills and knowledge in marketing. Acknowledge his contributions and provide encouragement to boost his confidence and motivation. Be supportive in guiding him through tasks and assignments, offering constructive criticism when necessary.

  3. Address Challenges Proactively: Recognize that Evan may face challenges as a new intern, such as adapting to the work environment and learning company policies and procedures. Provide support and guidance to help him navigate these challenges effectively. Offer resources, training, and mentorship to facilitate his onboarding process and integration into the team.

  4. Importance of Requests and Clear Deadlines: When assigning tasks or making requests, emphasize the importance and urgency of the task. Clearly communicate deadlines and expectations to ensure Evan understands the priority level of the request. Provide clear instructions and guidance to help him complete the task effectively and efficiently.

  5. Link to Relevant Tools or Documents: To facilitate easy access to resources and information relevant to Evan's work, provide links to relevant tools, documents, or resources. This could include project briefs, marketing templates, or software tools used in marketing campaigns. By providing easy access to necessary resources, you can streamline Evan's workflow and support his productivity.

CC: All

As much as there are ways to personalise and tailor, there are also best practices. Here are a few of my favourites!

  1. Give Options for Meeting Times: When scheduling meetings or appointments, provide multiple options for meeting times rather than leaving it open-ended. This allows recipients to choose a time that works best for them, increasing the likelihood of successful scheduling and attendance.

  2. Provide Context: When sharing information or making requests, provide sufficient context to help recipients understand the purpose and importance of the communication. Contextual information can help recipients make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.

  3. Use Bullet Points or Lists: When presenting complex information or multiple points, consider using bullet points or lists to improve readability and comprehension. Bullet points can help break down information into digestible chunks and make key points stand out.

  4. Use Formatting for Emphasis: Utilize formatting options such as bold, italics, or underline to emphasize important points or key information. Formatting can help draw attention to critical details and ensure they are not overlooked by recipients.

  5. Include Actionable Next Steps: When communicating tasks or requests, be sure to include actionable next steps to guide recipients on what they need to do next. Clearly outline expectations and deadlines to facilitate prompt action and avoid misunderstandings.

This Week’s Challenge:

Now it’s your turn to create a persona and a tailored communication approach. Pick someone who you communicate regularly with. It may seem like a basic exercise but you would be surprised by how differently you could be communicating. Here are the questions to help you get started.

  1. What are their responsibilities within the organization?

  2. What are their goals and priorities in their role?

  3. What information do they need to make decisions effectively?

  4. How do they prefer to communicate?

  5. Are they reading on their phone or on their computers?

  6. How do they personally communicate?

  7. Who do they seem to respond to the fastest, and what is that person doing differently?

  8. What media do they consume?

  9. What challenges do they face in their role?

  10. What concerns do you have to address for them to understand the full picture?

  11. Are there any topics they're passionate about?

  12. What tasks are they juggling on a daily basis?

  13. What decisions are they making regularly?


Thanks for reading issue 007 of my weekly Better Said newsletter.

For those of you who are new to my newsletter, Better Said, discusses the following three goals: (1) Elevating crucial soft skills, (2) Reaching career milestones, and (3) Creating ethical leadership.

Here’s how we can stay in touch:

1. You can find me here on LinkedIn and on my website,

2. If you are curious about working with me, you can book a free consultation where I will help you outline your goals and co-create a growth action plan with you whether or not we decide to work together. 


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