Staff at the University of Leeds have been told to "demonstrate their positivity" and even use "some gentle wit" when composing official documents.Leeds? Have they been to Yorkshire, home to the Geoff Boycott charm school? Well, I suppose that the connection of universities to their locality can be tangential. Even so, the attempt to turn academics, cynical moaners par excellence, into a bunch of beaming Moonies seems doomed to failure.
New "tone-of-voice guidelines" have been drawn up to help employees "write more creatively and effectively" and create "a strong verbal identity that we all understand".
"Words are our most powerful tool," says the 30-page document, which has been sent to all staff. "What's more they're free, available and ready to use."
The guide includes a list of university principles - "collaboration", "challenge", "generosity" and "excellence" - which it says should "come through in the content of our language and the messages we try to communicate".
The guidelines continue, without any sense of irony,
The university is "down to earth ... in touch and relevant", the document says, warning academics and others against "falling back on tired old clichés" in their communications.Like, 'positivity', 'challenge', 'excellence', 'relevant', etc?