This post is part of our Monthly-ish Tips series.

A techie-inspired example of real communication

I’m always on the lookout for examples of distinctive—and real—communications. This week’s tip features a great illustration from the software development world. While techies aren’t usually known for their interpersonal prowess (I can say that because I used to be one), in this case we could all borrow a page from their book.

I hate it when a window pops up on my computer telling me it’s time to upgrade my software. Partly out of irritation for the interruption and partly because of general resistance to change, I’ll click the “Later” button for as long as I can get away with.

I was recently rewarded for choosing “Install now” with a very distinctive and entertaining set of software release notes that appeared post-installation. I never read these things.

This time, though, the first line caught my eye: “Your notes will now load even faster. Like, ‘Wow, that’s fast’ fast.”

I was intrigued and therefore kept reading:

  • “If you’d had the nagging feeling that something was missing, you were right: Your notes had stopped appearing in Spotlight Search. But we fixed it, so any existential angst should be easing soon.”
  • “If you copied something from Evernote to another editor, all the line and paragraph breaks you placed so lovingly would just disappear. Since our parents taught us to play well with others, we fixed that.”
  • “Printing a note with tables is fun, right? (OK, maybe that’s just us—we’re kind of geeky.) It’s not fun when the table borders don’t print. We thought so too, so we fixed it.”

Not only did I learn something, I also got an unexpected chuckle in the middle of my workday.

If you’re trying to get your message heard amidst the din of resistance and distractions, remember that being louder or more detailed or more technical almost never works. Being real, on the other hand, rarely fails. And with just the right dose of cleverness, it might even encourage your audience to take action because they look forward to your communications.

Make It Real

This week, look for opportunities to turn your usual written communications—emails, reports, PowerPoint decks—into unusual written communications. What changes about the reactions you get?

Learn More


Review my TrustMatters webinar on “Seven Risks You Should Take to Build Trust” (one of which is using humor) or brush up on the dynamics of influence in Chapter 3 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.


The following two tabs change content below.

Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).