Editing Philosophy in Authentic Communication

The Authentic Communication model revolves around empathy, clarity, and trust, including editing communications.

Positive Feedback First: In the Harvard Business Review’s The Feedback Fallacy, the myth of “constructive criticism” is debunked. HBR shows why criticism inhibits the brain’s ability to learn and lays out a strong research-backed foundation on how and why to build positive feedback and recognition into your culture. Using their article as inspiration, we’ve incorporated those principles into how we work.

Empathy: We recognize and respect the creative energy, effort, and time that an author or creator puts into their work. We want everyone—including ourselves—to grow as writers. Disproportionate critical feedback impedes or inhibits us from learning and growing as writers. For this reason, we put positive feedback first in our editorial review process.

Clarity: Writers need to understand specifically how, why, and where their first draft is “good” (i.e. writing that connects the audience to the intended message in a compelling way). Seeing and explicitly highlighting examples of how they demonstrated excellent use of a writing principle highlights patterns writers can recognize, anchor, re-create, and refine.

Trust: We build trust with each other when we recognize an author’s work. According to HBR’s article The Neuroscience of Trust, recognition is one of the most important factors of building a culture of trust. We also build trust by having a system of editing guidelines and codes, which lets the author trust that the edits to their work are more objective (not perfectly, but more so than freestyle editing) and connected to a consistently and consistently applied set of principles and guidelines.