A career in making it clear

Hold the front page? It was more like find a front page for me as the junior reporter responsible for the Ascot Express, pages 1 and 3, in the early 1990s.

Though finding news was fun, I had a knack with creating campaigns and giving readers important info in a way they would read. Such as:

  • recycling
  • road safety
  • rights at work
  • and the Christmas Toy Appeal.

‘Too complicated to explain’ was a challenge to me. Let’s make an effort to make it easy to read. Knowledge is power, after all.

Power of simplicity

I learnt that simple words are reliable. They give the reader less work to do and have the ring of truth.

Sometimes, because we think it improves our credibility, we:

  • use complex language because we think we should
  • bury our messages under jargon and formal speech
  • tell people more than they need to know.

As a result, people get confused, lose patience and move on, their needs unmet and their questions unanswered.

I wanted my readers to read it once and get it and I want the same for your customers today.

Story teller

I also asked people behind the news to tell me their stories. Everyone has got one that deserves to be heard. And people love a good story; the motivations, successes, failures and feelings. That’s why I like doing About Us pages today.

Focus on reputation

Words build and protect the reputations of individuals and organisations, as I discovered when I joined the BMA comms team.

Consistency of voice, style and message is paramount when your audience is 100,000 plus doctors, the government, NHS managers, and more.

Twenty years’ experience in print and digital media production, taught me how to:

  • be clear
  • be consistent
  • let people tell their stories
  • get the details right.
  • meet commercial deadlines.

Lived experience

Along with 20% of the UK population, I’ve also got experience of being disabled.

I’ve learnt and am learning about the importance of accessibility and inclusivity, for me and the whole community.

I want words to be accessible and inclusive, so everyone can participate on equal terms. Accessibility helps everyone.