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C.L.A.P: comms lessons from the army

9th January, 2023

C.L.A.P: comms lessons from the army

Happy New Year! ?

 

Like most years, I purged my house of clutter after Christmas in a frenzy. Cupboards emptied.  Shelves streamlined. Chaos calmed.

 

(My children and pets went into hiding in case they, too, were shoved into a black sack marked ‘charity’.)

 

And it’s a great time for a purge in other areas too.

 

My colleague and ex-military man, Andrew Pullman, recently told me about a common acronym in the army: CLAP.  It’s used in training to help officers communicate effectively with their troops, and it stands for:

 

Clear

 

Loud

 

As an order

 

Pause

 

Simple and memorable.  

 

And whilst we may not want to bark orders in our business communication, there’s a lot we can take from this pared-back approach. Especially with our emails.  

 

Clear – get to the point and get rid of any word salad (staying in the military theme, a client of mine calls this his ‘scorched earth’ approach to editing)

 

Loud – make sure your key message stands out and is easy to skim read (we rarely read every word online)

 

As an order – end with your call-to-action, ideally in one sentence – what one thing do you want your reader to do next?  (But remember to make your tone appropriate for your audience – no-one wants to feel like they’re being told off)

 

Pause – give the sensation of breathing room with short paragraphs and plenty of white space in your email. 

 

So – what are you going to purge next?  

 

I’d love to know!

accenture
UBS
Ricoh
Euromoney
University of Cambridge

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