Nice Guys
June 17, 2007

On this day of such bad news here in Kabul, I thought I would post something to contrast it a bit.

I've had a problem with one unit sending out things before we have looked at them, and one of the things they sent out was EMBARASSINGLY bad. Really, really bad. And fearing others were doing so and I didn't know about it, I sent a reminder to everyone (see below).

A co-worker who wrote back is from Kyrgyzstan. He's a big Asian man who speaks with a pronounced Russian accent. He usually doesn't use noun articles. He has the patience of Job. I adore him. He *always* has me read whatever he's about to send out ("Here is paper. Very important. You read for me?"). I just thought his note was really nice, supportive, and gives an idea of the kind of people I work with.

From: Jayne Cravens
Subject: Please involve communications office in communications!

Dearest colleagues,

If you have drafted a new document in English (guidelines, proposals, handouts, etc.) that you want to give to partners, potential partners, donors, or anyone outside of of our organization, please give it to the communications office to review before handing such out to others. We will drop everything immediately and review any document you have a strict deadline for. We will even serve you coffee while you wait.

Many of you are good writers, so please don't take this as any sort of attack on your abilities; the reality is that we all need proofreaders (even me!). Also, there is a certain standard we want to achieve and maintain for our communications, and you can help us by sharing these documents for review before distribution. We want our organization's written pieces to be as reflective as possible of the excellent work being done by you all. We also want to avoid misunderstandings and confusion on the part of others.

Thanks for your cooperation, and please communicate this with all of your staff.


From: Erkin
Subject: RE: Please involve communications office in communications!

Dear Jayne,

What a generous offer. I already used such service in the past and must say that it was terrific support. I am glad that you can serve us in such way and even host us with coffee (what about green tea?).




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