NBA Responds to "Take a Knee Controversy" (October 2017)
The NBA commissioner held a news conference, and the deputy commissioner wrote a memo addressing issues around players kneeling during the national anthem at games. The memo is unclear, and the organization can be improved. Background and communications are posted here.
LinkedIn Announces New Terms (April 2017)
LinkedIn's attorney sent an email to announce new Terms of Service. The email does the job and the organization works well, but the writing style could be improved.
Although analysts say Sears is "set to sink," the CFO remains optimistic. After identifying the audiences and objectives for Sears' communications, students can analyze several comments in this Yahoo article.
Business Clichés and Jargon (September 2016)
This infographic summarizes the latest business clichés and jargon to avoid.
Time's Jargony Layoff Announcement (August 2016)
Companies can't seem to resist "realignment," "leverage," and "content creation" in their layoff announcements, and Time doesn't disappoint:
Over the last couple of weeks, we have been realigning our organizational structure to better leverage our content creation, sales and marketing and brand development operations. Our primary objective has been to better position ourselves to operate with greater agility and optimize the growth areas of our operation. As a result, there will be some job eliminations. That is always painful but an unfortunate reality in today's business climate."
Few people read privacy notices, and I think I know why: this one from Geek Squad is a confusing mess. You can have some fun in class analyzing the audience and objectives and having students rewrite the message.
Video Examples Just for Fun
- "Real Marketing Genius" to illustrate overuse of jargon/buzz words
- Scene from the TV show The Office to illustrate overuse of jargon
- Weird Al's "Word Crimes"
Printed email (scanned) from Lutnick (CEO) and Weiss to all Cantor Fitzgerald employees. A friend found this on September 12, 2001, at Ground Zero. The singed edges show where the paper was burned. As he says, "There were many papers flying through the air that day." Cantor lost 658 employees on 9/11 (about two-thirds of its staff). Read more on Wikipedia.
List of best company blogs, by Mashable.
Lawfirm emails that revealed overbilling. Good lessons here about what not to write in emails.
A few over-the-top emails: Business Wire message about clearing email inboxes, Oxford University rant about expense reports, and Cerner CEO's tirade to his management team. Here's a business case study and more background about the Cerner situation. Useful to discuss the value of revising and the potential negative consequences of email.
A few miscommunication examples just for fun:
- McDonald's or MoDonald's?(image here)
- Pants required for the board of directors meeting
- Free sides?
- Speling Bee certificate in Dallas County (image here)
- Shcool is open in Greensboro (image here)
- Unclear pronoun reference
- More on Funny Typos.
The Obama campaign's fundraising emails, criticized for their casual tone.
Jargon-filled Citigroup news release announcing 11,000 employee layoffs.
Google executive Eric Schmidt's advice for managing email, 2014.
Blunt emails sent between Hillary Clinton's aid and Gawker, 2015.