Keep it simple is a key to good communication
When taking journalism classes many years ago we were taught right out of the box that good communication does not entail an overabundance of words, but straightforward, conversational simple sentences. That thinking held true back then and it holds true today.
One of my favorite sources, Allan Starr of Marketing Partners AZ in Phoenix (www.marketingpartnersaz.com) posted a recent blog where he expanded on the keep it simple notion. He pointed out how a friend told him how job applicants would often use too many and too fancy words only to compensate for their lack of communication skills. Starr calls this the “word crutch.”
“The best communicators deal with little repetition, flowery language or hyperbole in relating to others,” Starr writes. “The same could be said for the most articulate politicians and other opinion leaders, though among the former this seems to be a vanishing trait.”
Starr reached back into something he’s written years ago when he got a little ditty from McGraw Hill. Here’s what he got from the publishing house:
Keep it simple
· Strike three
· Get your hand off my knee
· You’re overdrawn
· Your horse won
· Yes. No.
· You have the account
· Don’t walk
· Mother’s dead.
These exemplify basic occurrences requireing simple language. “On the other hand, idiosyncratically euphuistic eccentricities are the promulgators of triturate obfuscation,” writes Starr. That’s right, we have no idea what he is talking about and that’s his point.
Starr writes in his blog about having a journalism instructor in college who was the sponsor of a school newspaper, Bear Tracks. The instructor would mark up the copy liberally and give it back to the cub reporters telling them he had marked out the unnecessary words.
“The next time your or your associate writes something take a red pen or pencil and mark out everything unnecessary to making your point,” said Starr. “My guess is that as you pause to re-sharpen the pencil I will have made my point.”