Purpose – This paper aims to summarize advice from two professors of accounting on the language CEOs should and should not use in their official communications. Design/methodology/approach – This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments. Findings – The paper suggests that readers ought to think of the last time they either gave, advised or heard a CEO's speech. They ought to reflect on the last letter they sent or received with a CEO's signature at the bottom and to ask if they were the writer, how did they went about choosing their words and if they were on the receiving end, how did they respond? It suggests that what was said and what was actually communicated might not be the very same thing. Practical implications – The paper offers case studies which may help CEOs and their teams put together savvier communications documents. Originality/value – Readers are made to focus on the potentially large impact of the use or misuse of certain words, encouraging them to be more aware of the minor details of their communications.
Strategic Direction – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 18, 2008
Keywords: Chief executives; Leadership; Metaphors; Narratives
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