I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Ensure your surveys give enough options

Earlier this week, I answered a brief survey from a Government body – correction, I tried to answer a brief survey but the questions stopped me.

For a series of items, you had the choice of yes (I want to get this) or no (I don’t want to get this).  And you had to answer yes at least one to have your survey accepted.

However, for three of the items I already have them. So my answer is neither yes nor no, leaving me in a quandary about finishing their survey.

I choose to answer no because I didn’t want duplicates but I wonder how much that has skewed their results? And how many other people in my position chose no?

When writing surveys and forms

It is really important to think about your questions from every angle to be sure people can complete your survey/form.

Making your questions easy to answer

I think it’s especially worth thinking about if you have made the answers black or white – can you be sure no one will want to answer grey?

exclude people if options are too few

Assuming only two currencies definitely excludes some people

If you’re asking for a gender, under 18/over 18 or in business/not in business, there is a clear either or response. However, as soon as you have a less concrete option, be careful to include that in your possible responses.

While ‘other’ or ‘unknown’ may seem weak answers, they do at least give people the option of completing your questions without getting stuck or making up answers.

And a ‘both’ or ‘all of the above’ answers give a lot more choice, too.


Intranet content

A few years ago, companies created a section of their website as an intranet for staff communications. Now, they can run an intranet as part of a website still or have it on a blog, a wiki, online document sharing software, or even communicate via Tweeter platforms.

But if you need to set up an intranet for your business or workplace, the same basics apply. An intranet aims to make life easier for all staff by having relevant and current information stored in one place.

Having run a and set up a few intranet services, here’s my top list of things to include on the site:

  • contact lists – the more staff in the business, the more this is necessary
  • document registers
  • soft copy letterhead, cover sheets, forms, etc that staff use frequently
  • human resources forms (leave, change of bank account, etc)
  • graphics files (e.g. logo, advertising banners) although some companies limit access to certain staff
  • style rules and guidelines (often in the form of a style guide)
  • standard text
  • policies and procedures, especially relating to staffing

Some other things that suit in many businesses are:

  • photos of events
  • links to online reviews of the business/product
  • archive of old documents in case people ring with queries based on old versions
  • staff newsletter
  • archive of old business newsletters and promotions
  • organisation charts
  • lists of ‘who to contact for…’ (such as Mary to order business cards, John for building maintenance and Jill to book company car)

What else would you like to see in an intranet? Is that something you’ve made use of before or just know from experience?