I was reminded yesterday of a fantastic concept that I learned years ago from Tharon Howard from his book Design to Thrive: Building Online Communities that Last. The concept is simple, easy to implement, and you’ll feel all the better. Taken from the fiscal studies realm, remuneration is more or less the act of giving payment for goods or services. (Here’s a short synopsis on the word from the book: HERE). If you ever get a chance to read the book, please do. I enjoyed it enough to feel compelled to email Dr. Howard to thank him and even think about the concepts still today. In this 3 part series, I plan on introducing you to the concept of remuneration and giving you some great tools to implement it.

The concept of remuneration is more than a simple transaction. It is a way to treat others. Really, remuneration is more of an awareness of the transactions that take place regularly. If someone visits your website, they are spending their time. Respect your users’ time. Since reading Dr. Howard’s book, I’ve seen and reflected on past experiences where the concept come out in dozens of ways. In 2007, I worked at an Arby’s and they showed an inspirational vhs tape during training called “Give them the Pickle”. A version of the video can be found HERE. Again, remuneration is there. Give your customer’s something for free that they were expecting to pay for and they will be that more appreciative. Respect your customer’s time. They did make the choice to come to you.

Remuneration is the outreached hand. It is giving over some of yourself to stranger in hopes that they give something back in return. It is taking everything anyone says with a grain of salt, instead of just calling BS. It is giving knowing that you are already getting something in return. I know that someone will read this blog post. I hopefully didn’t waste time telling the readers things they already know. I try to be aware of these things.

So, how do you use remuneration as a rhetorical device? Really, it all depends on your mode of communication and I will cover that in the next 2 posts; but know, if you make a document, make the document readable and worth the reader’s time. Honestly, if I have to read another blog post how-to that doesn’t help me, I’ll email the author asking them to delete the post. If you are giving a speech, webinar, video, any spoken communication really, speak up! Don’t stumble around your words. Again, treat your listeners like your readers by giving them something of value. Your audience may not remember the specifics of your words, but they are sure to remember the way you made them feel. Try to follow best practices for the mode and you should be just fine. The ‘meat-and-potatoes’ of your document/speech is what matters most, but be clear, understandable, and open. I’ll try to do my best with this.

Recently, Dr. Lisa Melançon helped me by sharing a list of Phd programs in Technical Communication through her website. She didn’t have to share those on twitter with me and she definitely didn’t need to share her website https://tek-ritr.com/ with me, but I urge other rhetoricians to check out her site. She shows remuneration better than almost any other blog I’ve come across. There are a ton of resources and ongoing/updated publications that I will definitely need to read through. All of this to say, I don’t believe she expects anything in return for all her effort. The least I can do as a reader and user of her website is to share it with others.

The next time you go to make a sale, or write a document, or give a speech, ask yourself, “Am I giving something of value to my audience?”. You just might find that at the end you’ll feel more confident in your results. Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will be writing on specific approaches you can use remuneration in your writing. In the meantime, thank you for reading.