SLAPP your contract into productive shape
Mindset: Fine tune document performance
On this episode, we look at the SLAPP test.
This test gives some key tactics we can use to improve the productivity of the contract document.
• Academic studies showing the effectiveness of visual contract elements
• The picture superiority effect
• Why easy to read is easy to like
• Contract formatting tips
Step 1 (Structure) – Is your contract structured like a Reverse Sandwich so it’s useful & usable?
Step 2 (Likeable) – Does your contract look good?
Step 3 (Automated) – Is your contract ready for low-code automation?
Step 4 (Plain language ) – How easy is your contract to read & understand?
Step 5 (Pictures) – Do you use pictures, flowcharts, graphics, icons, tables & other visuals to break up text?
Open the Nozbe.how checklist version of the SLAPP test
‘But I am simple in my communications!’ I hear you say.
Well, there is an easy way to check. Go to your Sent email folder.
Find the last email you sent which had more than 3 sentences.
Head to webpagefx.com & paste the text in. See what score you get…
If you get a grade over 9, try re-writing & simplifying.
Links to sources from this episode of the Checklist Legal Podcast and background information:
- Music: Silent Partner, ‘Sway this way’
- Test the Automated Visual Notice Clause Builder
- Learn more about visual contracts
- H Haapio & S Passaria, ‘Improving Contract Clarity’ (31 July 2014) (an excellent webinar presentation with accompanying notes) & H Haapio & S Passaria, ‘Visual Law: What Lawyers Need To Learn From Information Designers’ (15 May 2013) www.blog.law.cornell.edu/voxpop/2013/05/15/visual-law-what-lawyers-need-to-learn-from-information-designers/accessed 10 June 2017.
- Stefania Passera, ‘Contract visualization – boost your brand & bridge the language barrier’ (10 December 2014). www.iaccm.com/resources/?id=8255&cb=1478262447, accessed 10 June 2017.
- DL Nelson, US Reed, & JR Walling, ‘Pictorial superiority effect’ (1976) Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory, 2, 523-528.
- For a visual overview of the Picture Superiority Effect, see DigitalSplashMedia’s fun animation www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLLDUyy8utY, accessed 13 May 2017.
- Get the template Key Details Table and other free resources via http://checklistlegal.com/resources
- The eBook by Verity White, Secrets of Productive Contracts
- Quick wins for contract productivity: a Nozbe.how electronic checklist
- Document structure concepts: International Business Communication Standards Association (IBCS-A)
- ER Tufte, ‘Envisioning Information’ (1990) www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_ei, accessed 10 June 2017.
- Hannah Morgan-Stone, ‘Plain to all: Using logic to distill complex thinking into clear documents’ (November 2016) Presentation at Clarity2016, Wellington NZ.
- Caitlin Whiteman, ‘Why easy-to-read is easy to like – what science tells us about the remarkable benefits of simplicity’, (21 March 2016) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-easy-to-read-easy-like-what-science-tells-us-caitlin-whiteman
- H Song & N Schwarz, ‘If it’s hard to read, it’s hard to do: Processing fluency affects effort prediction and motivation’ (2008) Psychological Science 19(10): 986–988. www.dornsife.usc.edu/assets/sites/780/docs/08_ps_song___schwarz_effort.pdf, accessed 10 June 2017.
- See generally Geoffrey Marnell (excellent not only for the title pun but also the content) ‘Measuring Readability, Part 1: The spirit is will but the Flesch is weak’, www.abelard.com.au/readability%20statistics.pdf, & ’Advantages & disadvantages of readability formulas’
- Shelley Davies is an avid promoter of plain language & writing like a human.
- NA Merola, ‘We like people who are easy to read: The influence of processing fluency in impression formation’, (2014) PhD thesis, University of Texas. http://www.repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/21572, accessed 11 June 2017.
- S Michie & K Lester, ‘Words matter: increasing the implementation of clinical guidelines‘, (2005) Quality & Safety in Health Care 14:367–370. Retrieved via http://www.qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/14/5/367.long, accessed 11 June 2017.
Head to the Checklist Legal Resources page for access to the other templates and examples mentioned in the show.