When i deliver a talk to a group professionals, I ask them whether they want all their messages to be intentional. Invariably they all agree that they
would not want any unintended negative messages to come from their documents, especially from those administrative policies that are client-facing and employee-facing.
But organizations constantly write policies with unintended negative undertones, and most people are unaware of the hidden messages their policies send.
The problem is that as the writers of the policy, they are the most oblivious to the undertones. Similar to a crack in the ceiling plaster, you can walk by it every day without seeing it. Unless you know what to look for and are specifically on the hunt for the problem, it would never come to your attention.
When it comes to administrative policies, I am a miscommunications expert.
I help the people behind the administrative policies recognize problems, and train them how to fix them. I demonstrate how their hidden negative messages impact the bottom line, and how they can be avoided.
Lewis S. Eisen is the author of Respectful Policies and Directives—How to Write Rules That People Want to Follow.
He runs workshops on writing administrative policies.