Convincing 960 legal and compliance colleagues to ditch the jargon and communicate clearly
MetLife is one of the largest providers of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programmes in the world. Having recently introduced a new brand philosophy that included a new tone of voice, MetLife were keen to ensure it was being adopted in all communications – both internal and external.
Using plain language is a fundamental part of MetLife’s new brand philosophy but the Communications.Simplified Committee understood they’d have a job persuading colleagues to use it. So they established the Legal Affairs Academy and with it a training programme that would help them to communicate simply, directly, accurately and in an audience-friendly way.
Knowing that we’d already become MetLife’s tone of voice experts – we’d crafted their tone of voice training materials and rewritten marketing materials to reflect the new style of speaking – and that we had vast experience in running tone of voice training sessions, the Legal Affairs team asked us to kick-start their training programme. Our interactive global webinar on the why and how to write clearly helped colleagues understand the huge value in making sure the MetLife tone of voice resonates in all their communications. And when not to use the passive voice…
What we did
First, we needed to truly understand what made it so difficult for colleagues to adopt the new MetLife tone of voice. We uncovered the myths and misconceptions that stopped colleagues from embracing a clear way of communicating – that clear English means ‘dumbing down’ and that complex topics shouldn’t be simplified, to name just a few.
Armed with this intel, we created a bespoke session with three distinct objectives:
• Colleagues will understand the benefits of clear writing – both for their own communications and for the business as a whole
• Colleagues will be able to apply the new tone of voice to their everyday communications
• And the session will spark a culture change among legal and compliance colleagues towards clear, not complex, communication.
Conducted as a face-to-face and WebEx workshop to colleagues around the world, the training session explored our expert techniques for writing in clear language, before applying those to their own real-life legal communications through MetLife-specic interactive activities. Colleagues were able to see first-hand just how easy it is to incorporate clear English into their everyday comms.
We also laid bare the corporate benefits of using clear language, examining case studies from other businesses who’ve reaped extraordinary rewards through simpli ed communications – did you know that by rewriting one form in clear language, Royal Mail saved £500,000 in just nine months?
Throughout the session, MetLife employees were encouraged to chat, share ideas, take part in quizzes and contribute to polls, enabling them to truly immerse themselves in the session, start applying the learning to their own communications straight away, and have some team fun with words.
If breaking MetLife’s Webex training session attendance records wasn’t evidence enough of the programme’s success, here’s what some of the attendees had to say about working with us:
“Although I had to miss the live training, I have just listened to the recording and love Write the Talk’s guidance – very clear.”
Head of International Compliance
“Thank you so much for the wonderful presentation! I’ve never seen engagement like that through the chat function. Awesome job!!”
Assistant General Counsel
“It has been a collaborative process. Write the Talk made every effort to work with us. Their passion and enthusiasm for the subject really came across. The messages were clear and concise and I believe will have a signi cant impact on how we communicate as a department.”
Head of Compliance, UK
100% of employees agreed that it was relevant to them
81% agreed that the speaker was effective in presenting/ facilitating the content
86% of people agreed that their understanding of the content was enhanced by the presentation materials
85% found the format/ structure of the content engaging