ψ ︿_____︿_ψ_ ☼ Nº105 Formal or Normal? 👔 👕


My bud Benjamin recently asked for restaurant recommendations in Cologne on FB. I tagged Jan from RadTouren in the comments and Jan suggested a few good ones. Jan asked:

"formal or normal?"

Benjamin said formal if that means better. But is that true?

Yesterday at lunch I discussed songwriting with my colleague Michel. He has been looking for musicians to make music with. One of the replies he got was phrased rather formally. It immediately gave Michel the impression the guitarist would be a bad fit. But is that true?

Intrigued by this idea and the rhyme: Formal or Normal, I found a blog post with the same title that addresses this imbalance by The Writer, the world’s largest writing and brand language consultancy. So why might normal be better than formal after all, especially in a professional context? An abridged recap of The Writer's main points:

1. You’ve got to get read

The first job of any bit of writing is to get read. So we write in a way that makes that as easy as possible. Typically that means shorter words, sentences and paragraphs than the average bit of business writing.
You can measure it with tools like the Flesch-Kincaid readability test. The longer and more convoluted your words and sentences are, and the more passive your writing is, the lower your readability score.

2. It’s about effect, not rules

Many of the so-called rules we were taught at school aren’t rules at all. So rather than asking ‘Is this right or wrong?’, a better question is ‘How do I want to come across to my reader?’.
Here is our new product. You will love it.
Here’s our new product. You’ll love it.
To most people, the latter feels slightly more genuine, because it’s closer to how we really speak. Not wrong; just different, and in many contexts, more effective.

3. It’s not dumbing down

As Einstein said: ‘Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.’

4. Business writing has changed.

Over the last ten years, there’s been an explosion of written business media: email, websites, IM, Twitter. And they’re all less formal than the business writing of yesteryear. With it, readers’ expectations have changed.
A typically formal business letter that used to sound neutral can now sound like you’re deliberately trying to sound formal. And most readers associate that formality with officiousness and distance. So we often try to find a tone which sounds 'normal’, and sometimes serious, without being formal.

Lastly, as any long time reader of this newsletter know: I believe emojis actually make our language better. Check out Vyv Evans‏'s article in the New York Post addresses misconceptions about Emoji. And skip don't assume formal means better. ✌️

with appreciation,


❤️  this? Please tweet it, share on LinkedIn or post on FB. 🙏


Bonus: "Nonverbal cues can clue listeners into implied meaning during in-person conversations, but, until recently, tone and nuance were often lost during digital interactions. Enter the emoji." Listen to the podcast here.


Our Best Eurobike yet!
#EUROBIKE 2017 — our third @eurobike_show in a row!

#EUROBIKE 2017 — our third @eurobike_show in a row!

Last Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, Guy & I were down by the Bodensee for Europe's biggest bike show. We had great meetings for our clients, got to ride with Tom Ritchey, managed to have some new business conversations & Guy even edited the above short film about the trip on the ride home! See you next year in July Friedrichshafen!

Brooks C13 Transfer Ride

Brooks C13 Transfer Ride

We're doing a special ride with Brooks Nederland  this Sunday: the C13 'Transfer Ride' will roll from Free Wheely in Haarlem to Breetbikes in Wageningen. Join us!

As Bike-Sharing Brings Out Bad Manners, China Asks, What’s Wrong With Us?

As Bike-Sharing Brings Out Bad Manners, China Asks, What’s Wrong With Us?

The popularity of shared-use bikes has brought a wave of misbehavior, raising questions about social decay and the decline of decorum.

On social media and in conversation, it is common to hear people describe bike-sharing as a “monster-revealing mirror” that has exposed the true nature of the Chinese people.


Identify high-growth companies and trends in Europe using real-time data

Dealroom tracks the growth performance of over 500,000 companies globally, from seed to (very) late stage.

Sheryl Sandberg: Develop Your Voice, Not Your Brand

Sheryl Sandberg: Develop Your Voice, Not Your Brand

Focus on developing your voice, she says. Figuring out what’s important to you and being willing to use your voice for that purpose is incredibly valuable. “If you are doing it to develop your personal brand, it’s empty and self-serving and not about what you’re talking about,” she says. “If you’re doing it because there is something you want to see changed in the world, that’s where it will have value and depth and integrity.”
You Are the Product

You Are the Product

A long, grim yet worth it read.

The view of human nature implied by these ideas is pretty dark. If all people want to do is go and look at other people so that they can compare themselves to them and copy what they want – if that is the final, deepest truth about humanity and its motivations – then Facebook doesn’t really have to take too much trouble over humanity’s welfare, since all the bad things that happen to us are things we are doing to ourselves.


The Theory and Data Underpinning Sales Commission Plans

The Theory and Data Underpinning Sales Commission Plans

Every startup’s sales commission plan is different. But it’s key to understand the theory and the benchmark data that governs the creation of sales commission plans to create a good one for your business.

Trust Based Relationship Selling: Yes, It Still Matters!

Trust Based Relationship Selling: Yes, It Still Matters!

Robots & AI will never replace the human-to-human part of sales. Learn why you should implement a trust based, relationship selling approach. (Don't forget emotion matters too)

The Most Important B2B Digital Marketing Trends and Stats of 2017

Which social platforms work best for B2B marketing? How is the demographic of the B2B buyer changing? How are B2B marketers using content?


fOUR-reckless (by Nate Wood) - YouTube
nate wood | fOUR

nate wood |  fOUR

I stumbled across Nate Wood on instagram recently. I spent today listening to his band Kneebody but the real radness I discovered was his fOUR project:

fOUR is a project of one take performances with no prerecorded backing tracks, overdubs or click track. Currently only available as video performances on Youtube and Facebook, album coming soon.

Here's to dodging formal for more normal this week!

Written by
Jon Woodroof
♥️ @Kristyspark✨, Otto, Mira, Errol, Simone, Brayden & Rowan 💡 living the dream @Workspacesix & @Twotoneams 💌 I love to send special stuff to special people weekly.
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