The official letter just had to be read – was it an government letter reminding me to complete paperwork for my business or was it a cleverly disguised advert?

I’d picked up the letter on my way out the door. I was driving so had passed the letter to my 14-year old to read it out to me (multi-tasking!). He read it once, then read it again as I just didn’t understand it. “What do you think it’s about?” I asked, thinking I must have lost the meaning in negotiating tricky country lanes.

“I have no idea”. Robert is the master of precis.

It was from an official Government department – the Office of National Statistics (ONS). It was about the Labour Force Survey (LFS). There’s a pattern here. Or as my teenager put it, it’s all about TLA s. Or Three Letter Acronymns to you and me.

Although well written in many aspects (Plain English – short sentences, lots of active verbs, easy to read, well laid out, lots of white/plain green space) it had no CTA. That’s a Call To Action.

  • It just didn’t tell me what I had to do.
  • It didn’t reassure me that I had to do nothing.
  • It certainly gave a contact number but why would I bother if I wasn’t sure if it was relevant, important and needing a response?

So when we write those emails, webpages or even letters, have they got a call to action? If not, is it clear that they don’t need to do anything, it was just FYI*?

If not, according to my 14 year old (with a scatological sense of humour), it’s like the letter I got; a Pointless Official Observation.

*For Your Information ;0)