I wish I could sum up this ‘how to’ article in two simple words…Be clear! That sounds so easy, but according to David Cho, “Every group, be it a profession, subculture, religion, or social group, has its own collective lexicon of unique jargon, understood and appreciated only by its members.”
In my world as an Evangelical Christian, the distinctive verbiage is often called Christianese and, I know from firsthand experience, it can be a roadblock to understanding for people who don’t share that spiritual heritage.
With that in mind, let me propose some ideas to try before you have that next ‘important’ conversation. One or more may improve your ability to be clearer when presenting the significant material to your fellow human.
4 Steps On Communicating Clearly
- It helps to keep a proper perspective on sharing. Remember that being convincing is not necessarily the best goal in communication; clarity is. When someone understands the message we’re communicating, we’ve often done our part.
- Find an explanation online for what you want to share. Rewrite it, eliminating any mumbo jumbo language and give both to a friend who is not part of your cultural ‘group’. Ask which they think is easier to understand.
- Post your thoughts on social media and ask readers to comment on any words or phrases that don’t make sense to them. Reply to their observations with a different way of explaining the things they didn’t understand and a request for them to give it a second review. Repeat these steps until they clearly grasp everything you’re trying to say.
- Revisit the same discussion you’re planning on having, with someone who has already heard it, and ask them if any of the words or phrases you used were difficult to understand. If they point out any, try other ways of expressing the same idea until it’s clearer to them.
What’s Your Advice?
Follow these four ‘simple’ steps and you’ll be an instant expert in communications. Ok…that’s an example of extreme wishful thinking but utilizing one or more of them, could make your next ‘difficult’ conversation easier and more fulfilling.
Got any steps you use that might help others be clearer in their communication efforts? We’d love to hear your thoughts and, who knows, it might be just what someone needs to prepare them for that talk they’ve been dreading.
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