KISS: Keep It Simple, Squad - The Pickering Group

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KISS: Keep It Simple, Squad

Clarity Begins at Home

Let’s be clear: no really, let’s. Clarity in both written and spoken communications is key to getting the results you want. And yet persistently we see superfluous and extraneous verbiage that is impedimental to both comprehension and ratiocination. Or rather, words are confusing and it sucks. Let’s put all our jargon, buzzwords and legalese to the side for the moment and talk about the importance of plain language.
Mainly on the Plain
Plain isn’t the most attractive word. Think of a plain bagel: dry, crumbly, boring. Isn’t plain language the same? Won’t we bore people if we can’t embellish our speech with the smashed avocado of clever words?  Au contraire! Sorry, that is to say, no. Plain language just means making something understood the first time it’s heard or read. Without repetition, without asking for explanation. Clarity means getting the results you expect, the first time you ask.  Legal writing expert Bryan Garner describes it as ‘the simplest, most straightforward way of expressing an idea’. Can’t get a plainer bagel than that.
Re: re: re: re: WTAF??
We all know the phrase ‘Time is Money’.  It’s why we fill out client timesheets. It’s why we may even make the tough decision to let a client go when their demands outweigh their spend. Bye, Felicia. Yet one study found that in a company of 100 employees, an average of 17 hours a week is spent clarifying business emails. Not just reading over-long emails, but going back and forth to find out what those over-long emails were actually about and what people might be meant to do about them.  Per last email, face-palm emoji. 
Tips for Clear Communications:
You want it short and sweet, so let’s get to the bullet points.

  1. Use short, direct sentences
  2.  Avoid long words, jargon, and ANOKBUs… Acronyms No One Knows But U
  3. Compose for your audience, not yourself. What’s their level of knowledge?
  4. Important points go first, like this one didn’t. 

Talking Down
You might feel it’s patronising to simplify your language for your audience, but complicated communications could be obscuring your message.  Or you may feel that business jargon is a way of signalling shared understanding, and we’re more likely to persuade and convince when our audience feels we’re on the same page.  That can be true, but unless we’re sure our entire audience is in the club, we risk alienating them.  It’s like a secret handshake: unless both people are in the know, it gets really awkward really fast.
Plain and Simple
At The Pickering Group, we’re communications experts, and that means we love language.  You can still weave beautiful visions with your soaring rhetoric – just make sure you’ve covered the basics with clarity. We can help you find the balance to bring your spoken and written communications to new heights of effectiveness, without JARGON: Jarring And Redundant Gibberish Obfuscating kNowledge.  Ugh, acronyms are hard.  Check us out at for our group or one-on-one training, which we can deliver both on-line or in-person. Or follow us on LinkedIn for curated selections from the world of communications thinking.

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