To Kiss or Not to Kiss – Muddled Communications

Crystal clear communications are the bedrock of great marketing. But real life comms often let us down. Here are a couple of examples of horribly muddled communications. 

Air-kissing, hand wrenching nightmares

Go back three decades and it’d be weird to kiss someone unless you were actually in a relationship with them. Men and women simply shook hands, and it made life wonderfully easy.
These days it’s so confusing – do you kiss someone hello, goodbye, or both? Do you kiss people in a business context or only kiss friends and family? Do you do one kiss, two, or even three? Do you actually kiss or air kiss? Do you accompany the kiss with a quick squeeze or a hug?
If, like me, you’ve ever ended up kissing someone on the nose or chin, reared back in alarm when a stranger lunges at you with their lips pursed, or unexpectedly been kissed by a colleague, you’ll know what a minefield it is.
According to my husband, the man-shake is just as confusing. No longer do men have just the one, basic old-school handshake to contend with. There’s the sideways handclasp ‘n’ slap for a start, a complex affair often accompanied by either a full-on manly hug or a quick shoulder squeeze. But there’s more. There are all manner of quirky man-shakes out there, leaving a trail of baffled blokes with their thumbs twisted, fingers squished or –  having missed the shake altogether – left red faced, grasping fresh air. Nightmare!
I can’t be the only one hoping that, one day, the humble handshake might come back. I dream of the old times, those halcyon days when a simple handshake fulfilled every meet and greet situation perfectly…

Parking ticket comms madness

I’m not here to name and shame, but when my brother was mistakenly given a parking ticket when visiting us last weekend, we were stunned by the extraordinary email he received from the council. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a crappier piece of communication, and they ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Here it is:  
Thank you for your correspondence in which you challenge the issue of the above Penalty Charge Notice.
The Penalty Charge Notice was issued as no pay and display ticket was visible when seen by the Civil Enforcement Officer, see photographs attached, however, as this is your first Penalty Charge Notice (for this parking contravention) and you have provided this office with your valid Pay and Display ticket for the date and time that the contravention occurred, I can confirm that on this occasion only that the decision has been made to cancel the Penalty Charge Notice.
Please be advised that if in the future, should you incur a further Penalty Charge Notice for the same contravention then we will enforce the charge. We would always advise members of the public ensure that their Pay and Display ticket is clearly visible in the front windscreen before leaving their vehicle.
X District Council will use any data collected through the issuing of an Off-Street PCN for the enforcement of parking contraventions and other associated purposes. This data may be disclosed to other enforcement agencies for the purposes of this enforcement. It may also be disclosed to other departments within the Council or external parties for related purposes or as required by law. All processing of this data will be in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Yours sincerely,
The Parking Office
Then they go on to add insult to injury with this awesomely long and complex email disclaimer, another example of the worst possible type of communication:
This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or other action taken in reliance of the information contained in this e-mail is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please use the reply function to tell us and then permanently delete what you have received.
Any views expressed by the sender of this message are not necessarily those of the x District Council.
E-mail is inherently insecure without specific security measures being taken. In essence we cannot guarantee the safe and private delivery of all e-mail, both outbound and inbound, due to the complexity and nature of the networks that it may utilise. Please bear this in mind when sending critical or sensitive information.
Senders and recipients of email should be aware that under UK Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation these contents may have to be disclosed in response to a request. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Lawful Business Practice Regulations, any E-mail sent to or from this address may be accessed by someone other than the recipient for system management and security purposes.
This email and any attachments have been checked for viruses however you should carry out your own check before opening any attachments. x District Council enforces a corporate wide anti-virus policy. The Council does not accept any liability in respect of damage caused by any virus that is not detected.
WTF?! Dear council, please use a copywriter.

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