I recently came across some language within a proposal I was reviewing that, rather than driving home a key point the writer wished to make, actually acted as what I term a ‘speed bump’ for those reviewing the response.
Upon reading the text, it was evident that what the writer wanted to convey was that the action would be taken if the project manager wasn’t in compliance. Unfortunately, as is often the case with the written word, the language used allowed for this to be interpreted a couple of ways and one of them has a negative connotation.
The response read, “If, upon review, the project manager is determined to be non-compliant, we will take action as needed.”
Another example of language having two meanings, in this case those being opposite of what was intended, comes from a response I sent to one of our associates (hi there Rickie). She had raised a concern and I replied, “I will pass on your concern…” As she pointed out, this could be taken as I wasn’t going to address her concern.
I offer these examples as reminders as to why our being careful with the language we use and carefully editing and reviewing content is so critical to the quality of our responses.