The Tongue and Quill

For decades, “The Tongue and Quill” manual has been used by the U.S. Air Force to improve their written and verbal communication skills. The Air Force communication is required to be exceptionally clear and direct.

Unclear messages can cause expensive mistakes. Simplification of information and making each word count is vital in the military environment. But this is not limited to the Air Force, most of these techniques are valuable to have in the professional world as well.

The Tongue and Quill six-step checklist contains the six important steps for effective written communication:

1 – The First step is to question the need for communication and the receiving audience. Analyzing the purpose of writing helps to eliminate the delivery of information that might not be useful.

2 – This leads to properly being aware of the information being shared and having sufficient knowledge about it before sharing it.

3 – This also includes putting the logic to work and adding your thoughts to support the idea.

4 – Moving on to the structure, a straightforward format should be followed without any self-important words or fashionable phrases.

5 – The writing must be aimed to inform and not to impress. The language used should be as clear and understandable as possible.

6 – It is always helpful to take constructive feedback from others and make the necessary improvements.

Constructive Criticism and Hate

Both seem good, for both the feedback giver and the receiver. When I give nice feedback, I feel good about it. It feels equivalent to having done a generous act of kindness for the receiver which indirectly is true. Moreover usually, I either end up learning something new or it adds one more block in creating a strong relationship with the person I just helped.

Hate speech on the other hand can have a negative impact on the receiver but it takes out some amount of anger and aggression from the source. Whenever I take the hate, I save someone else from taking it and it’s fine as long as I am not looking back to it.

When you’re the hater, you not only detest but also are willing to stop someone from growing which is even worse. People pleasers try to make feedbacks less harsh but it reduces the genuine nature of how they should be. The harsh constructive feedbacks may occasionally be negative, but they are constructive, effective and worth thinking about. As Seth Godin says, “Holding back is selfish, because it deprives the group of your insight at the same time that it normalizes non-participation.”

The only question I like to ask myself before giving feedback is if it is genuine. The bleakness doesn’t matter as long as it’s genuine. And if it is too bleak, I will prefer holding back over false pleasing.