Code Yellow

| 2 min read
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I responded to a Code Yellow folder emergency this morning.
As any parent of a NSW Year 11 student knows, exams start next week. This is the first time Year 11 results will appear on the HSC record, so stress levels are high in households of Almost-Year-12ers all over the state.
By texting she had a “code yellow folder emergency”, my teen girl took me from “you’ve got to be kidding” to “on way” and “mission complete” inside of 15 minutes.
By using language that draws on shared knowledge and experiences, by leveraging shared understanding, my daughter demonstrated that she
• knew her audience
• used language to which her audience would respond, and
• provided an opportunity for shared amusement for we two, plus the staff in the Student Services Office at her college.
A code yellow folder emergency evoked the image in my mind of months of missed parties, of late nights and anguished mornings, which could have all been wasted if those hard-won revision notes had been disordered or, worse, lost all together.
By using language that evoked pictures in my mind, my daughter changed my resistance to compliance. She changed my attitude from “Really? You expect me to drop everything and drive to school, again, to deliver a ring binder?” to amused cooperation.
When communicating with your audience, what language do you use? On what shared knowledge do you build? Do you provide any opportunity for moments of fun or is it all serious stuff?

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About

Maureen Shelley is CEO and owner of TCC. She is an experienced digital and content strategist and was a nationally-syndicated journalist. Our all-round guru. Maureen manages corporate, digital and government projects for TCC. She loves helping clients and, with three masters degrees, knows lots.

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