“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
Napoleon Hill

Even though we all do it daily and mostly without a second thought, communication is often a risky business. Without careful planning, and especially under stress or when we are nervous, we tend to unload too much information on our listener. They will then either be confused or just switch off. When you want to transmit your messages clearly, you are better off keeping things simple.

10 top tips for keeping it simple:

  • Plan your messages carefully: tell them clearly at the start what you hope to achieve and the outcomes you need from them.
  • Have a coherent structure: complex messages are harder to remember and open to misunderstanding.
  • Only tell your listener what they need to know right now: focus on things that are relevant to the current discussion or decision.
  • Make every word count: choose to express your ideas in vocabulary that your listener is likely to understand and be familiar with.
  • Avoid ‘clever’ jargon, abbreviations or complicated explanations: no-one wants to be made to feel ignorant.
  • Make it easy to follow your ideas: this holds attention and stops peoples minds wandering off-topic.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words: use visual imagery to simplify complex points (analogies, metaphors, examples).
  • Be open to questions: encourage your listeners to ask for clarification when they need it.
  • Check frequently to ensure that the message you are sending is being received and understood in the way you intended
  • Close with a key message or a short summary: repetition makes your messages more memorable.