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Today, Presidents’ Day, I’d like to make a proclamation. Actually, it’s more of a strong suggestion.

As you work through your employee benefits communication plan for 2016 (and beyond), rather than communicating like a President of the United States (top down, authoritative voice), communicate as if you are a member of the President’s Office of Presidential Correspondence (collegial, we’re-in-this-together voice). That’s right: I’m suggesting kinder, gentler communications.

If you’re saying in your head, “But we ARE the top and we DO have authority….” I’ll say, yes – but. Why wield that authority in your communications?

Think like the writers in the Office of Presidential Correspondence. They are the people who make the President REAL. According to, this team receives and responds to letters, emails and calls coming into the White House Comment Line. They thank folks for sending gifts to the First Family and respond to requests for Presidential proclamations, messages and greetings. They also (I love this part) supply the President with a daily sampling of letters so POTUS stays in touch with Americans across the country.

The Presidential Correspondents (I just made that up, I have a feeling that’s not what they are actually called) are the finger on the pulse of the “thoughts, hopes and concerns of the American people.”

Make sure your benefits communications show that you, too, are in touch with the thoughts, hopes and concerns of your employees. Save the rhetoric and be real.