- On April 4, 2017
I was in a crowded subway car on a recent rainy day when the voice over the public-address system cautioned, “Due to the inclement weather, exit onto the subway platform with caution.” Or at least I think that’s what she—the voice—said.
The combination of poor acoustics, a clipped British accent—British? In New York?— and that awkward phrasing made it hard to easily grasp the message.
At that moment, rushing to my destination, heavy bags in tow—the very person this safety message was intended for—I thought, “Why isn’t she saying something like, ‘Subway platforms can be slippery when wet. Be careful when you leave the car’?”
This got me to thinking how important it is to know your audience, including where they are and what they’re doing when you’re trying to reach them, and to always communicate using the most familiar and straightforward language possible.
When was the last time you heard your local weatherperson say, “Because of the inclement weather, exit your house with caution”?