Is Your Reader Misunderstanding You?

When we write, we know exactly what we’re trying to communicate.

But we often forget to step back and review our words from the point of view of a reader.

What might your reader not understand or — worse — misconstrue?

Here are three unintentionally funny examples from actual church newsletters:

1. “Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.”

2. “The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.”

3. “Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.”

Before you send or publish or otherwise share anything you’ve written, take a step back. Review it from a reader’s point of view. Try to forget what you meant to communicate and examine what’s actually there on the page. You might be surprised.

About the Author

Robbie Hyman is a professional communications and public affairs writer. He has 15 years’ experience writing for nonprofits, small business and multibillion-dollar international organizations and is available as a freelance writer for federal agencies.

Robbie has written thousands of pages of content, including white papers, speeches, published articles, reports, manuals, newsletters, video scripts, advertisements, technical document and other materials. He is also co-founder of, an online course that teaches smart money habits to teenagers.