Those who can, do
I got my daughter’s school report the other day. I was expecting the same old, same old: ‘well-behaved’, ‘hard-working’, ‘conscientious’ blah. (Sorry, I should warn you, she’s one of those kids... and there’ll be some more not-very-subtle parental showing off before we’re done.)
Anyway. Instead of the usual ‘pleasure to teach’ clichés, her form teacher had written:
‘I wonder how many people excel in both mathematics and dance, and indeed pretty much everything else?’
That’s different. I want to read more.
‘She’s great to have in 11R and a cracking young woman. Everybody says so.’
Now, that could have been written by a writer at The Writer. But it was written by Mr Hunter, chemistry teacher.
He’d done the things good writers do to connect with their audience: writing like you speak, using some surprising vocabulary, and a well-placed full stop before a really short sentence. (When someone else might have used a comma. Or not bothered with that last point at all.)
So at parents’ evening I mentioned to Mr Hunter how much I’d enjoyed his writing. He told me that lots of Mums and Dads had said the same.
Which got me thinking. The ‘cut and paste’ school report methodology is well-known. For all I know he’d written something more or less identical about all the other kids in 11R – substituting different subjects for maths and dance (and hopefully having the sense to say ‘cracking young man’ not ‘woman’ for the boys).
But even if he did*, it just shows that a standard letter can still bring a smile to your face, if some thought has gone into it. And get your message across. And make people like you.
So as a bit of customer comms it worked really well. Maybe your business could do better.
*I’m sure you didn’t, Mr Hunter
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