Get more out of the language
Listening to potential clients, putting together marketing materials, writing a strategy – large parts of your professional life are spent dealing with language. My offer to you is simple: Let’s have a look at the different components of your language use, and see whether they are best suited to your overall goals. A language audit comprises an analytical part and the development and testing of a set of targeted recommendations aimed at making communication more efficient – and more enjoyable. Every endeavour is different though – so let’s talk about what interests you most!
Sie hören Ihren Geschäftspartnern zu, entwerfen Marketingmaterialien, schreiben eine Strategie – ein großer Teil Ihrer Tätigkeit als Unternehmer ist Spracharbeit. Mein Angebot für Sie: Werfen wir einen systematischen Blick auf die Sprache Ihres Unternehmens und setzen wir das in Beziehung zu Ihren Zielgruppen und Wettbewerbern. Der Language Audit ist eine Analyse, aus der wir Empfehlungen ableiten. So wird Ihre Kommunikation noch effektiver – und spannender. Jede Unternehmung ist anders – ich freue mich auf das Gespräch mit Ihnen!
Typically a language audit consists of the following steps
Review of existing materials, including the structure in which information is presented and shared by your organisation. If your organisation already has guidelines on how knowledge is supposed to be shared, we can take these into account as well.
The review will ideally include a set of staff interviews so that the (actual and intended) set-up and stakeholders’ views can be mapped onto each other. An additional workshop element often brings out implicit knowledge that informs explicit guidelines and procedures. The key benefit of any interactive research is that it reduces the risk of confirmation bias; questionnaires rely on staff being highly skilled in making knowledge explicit – an assumption that the language audit should put to the test rather than presuppose.
Recommendations may be related to the way new information is captured or how it should retained and accessed. If issues around acceptance are on your mind, recommendations may also address presentation issues
An iterative process is best – practices change slowly, in ways that are never predictable. Collecting and analysing feedback will help improve the overall process. Again, interview and/or a workshop are often a good way of doing this. It allows for the interplay of different stakeholders’ views, where ideas are made explicit which are very likely to remain unuttered in individual interviews, let alone written surveys.
The final document delivered by me will take account of the dynamic nature of your organisation. It will be specific, but based on an appreciation of the complexities of the challenge you face. The ultimate aim is to enable you to use language in line with your overall strategy, and for your associates to be able to find relevant information, and see the benefits of sharing their knowledge.
Strengthening communities through changes in language
“How can intercultural virtual teams improve their performance?”
A small, highly decentralised technology firm asked me for advice on an efficiency issue. Based on a mix of observation and consultation I was able to recommend a number of surprisingly small interventions that made many people less grumpy (and some of them admit as much!).
“What’s the link between innovation and personal relationships?”
This was a fascinating project in which my client had a very specific problem, but chose to ask me a rather broad question. Much of my work was finding out more about pain points in the company, which were based on wide-spread misunderstandings of terms in their guidance documents.
“How can our staff get better at writing down what they have done?”
My biggest ever client noticed that many of their engineers did good work but struggled to tell staff further down the line what needed to happen next. Together, we improved the language of instructions and templates, and identified the need for specific training sessions.