It’s all in the context

Now, as a copywriter, I like to pride myself on my superior communication skills but there is the rare occasion when I am quickly brought back down to earth. Like the time I dropped into my neighbours when I needed some help. I entered Sophie’s unit and announced ‘My mouse has just died, have you got a spare?’

If you’re at your computer right now, you’d probably be thinking that I was referring to my computer mouse and you would be right. But what I had interrupted at my neighbour’s place was a group of nursing students cramming for their exams. They heard something completely different. This time the miscommunication was easily cleared up and, yes, she did have a spare mouse. Nothing lost. However, when you’re writing your copy, it pays to check that what your customer is reading or hearing from you is the message that you intended.

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