Have you ever been in a meeting where someone is droning on and on AND ON about something using an expansive vocabulary? The noises they are making sound very impressive (all the syllables), but what they are actually saying cannot be determined? This is a common mistake people make when they are attempting to sound intelligent but really don’t have a good grasp of what they are doing. Big words can also be used as a signal of stature or rank where they act as an intimidation tactic.
Below are 3 reasons why you should keep it simple when trying to communicate.
- What are you really trying to say?
Communicating is hard enough, why would we need to complicate things with the need for a thesaurus? By using concise language, you are showing your listener you really care about being understood. You are also conveying that the information is important and thus cannot be subject to being misunderstood. Think about the objective of the conversation and what you are trying to get out of it (decision, opinion, etc). By being thoughtful you will be able to ensure your intention isn’t getting lost in the sauce.
- Don’t be a jerk.
I love an educated person just as much as the next guy, but I don’t need to be assaulted by expansive vocabulary. Using big words as a means to conflate your position is boring. This goes for those email signature blocks too. If I have to Google the myriad of degrees and certificates after your name, you have already lost me. Email signatures are the new business cards. Think about what you want someone to take away from both the content and closure of electronic correspondence. Do you really want them to know you have a certificate in auditing?
- You care about what you are doing and who you are doing it with.
We spend so much of our time working, doing a job that we hopefully are able to enjoy. The people we do that with deserve our respect and our effective communication so we can all do a good job. When email gets too convoluted and you find yourself assuming the intent of someone, pick up the phone. Remember we are all human, and misunderstandings can just as easily be resolved, as they can be escalated.
Talk to people how you would talk to friends. This shows them that you aren’t someone different when you aren’t working; what you see (hear) is what you get. That kind of authenticity and candor builds relationship capital that can help you down the road.
I would love to hear about some of the ways you have refined communication and eliminated word salad in your organizations. Drop me a comment and we can talk about it!