If you’re a professional or an expert at, well, anything – you may have experienced that moment when you brought the full force of your expertise to bear and provided a complex explanation of something – only to find your audience staring back at you blankly, their minds trying to understand the meaning of the complex word salad you served them.

 Not being understood, or being misunderstood, destroys engagement and costs time and money – so it’s vital to practice techniques that make your message clearer. This applies whether you’re pitching an idea, selling a product, informing your team or instructing a child.

Here’s a few things to be mindful of when expressing prolifically (speaking in a complex way):

1) Know your audience

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is speaking over the heads of their audience. If you’re talking to business people, then use business language. If you’re talking to doctors, then use medical language. If you’re talking to a lot of people at once, then use general language.

2) Think before you speak

Consider the message you want to convey. Then consider how best to convey it. Then consider if there’s a better way of conveying it. The more you think about the message you’re intending to send, the clearer your message will be.

3) Watch peoples’ reactions

If your audience isn’t listening to you, if they’re confused, if they’re looking at their watches, if they’re making noises, if they’re looking around the room, if they’re looking away, then you may be speaking too complexly.

4) Don’t be a word salad

A word salad is a dish consisting of a mixture of chopped vegetables, often containing lettuce, with various dressings. A word salad is also a complex mix of words that don’t make any sense. Don’t make word salads by using too many words that your audience may find difficult to understand.

5) Be precise

When you’re speaking, use precise words – words that are precise in meaning. Avoid words that have multiple meanings. For example, the word ‘good’ can mean “tastes good” or “virtuous.” If you’re trying to describe a good tasting burger, you want to avoid using the word ‘good’ in this way.

6) If in doubt, use less words

Take time to think about the point you want to make. Think about the way you want to make it. Then cut out all the words you don’t need.

7) Avoid jargon

Jargon is language used by a particular group of people, in a particular place, at a particular time. It’s context specific.

8) Use analogies

Analogies are a great way to get your point across. For example: “It’s like I’m trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.”

 

The SimpleMarketing.AI Content Engine generated this post (with a little human editing). 

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