By Alan Graner
When you communicate, you exchange an idea, a thought, a suggestion, an explanation, a command, an emotion. If the receiver doesn’t understand what you’re saying, no communication takes place.
All too often “communicators” forget this simple truth. They are more concerned with scoring personal points than in communicating.
For example, they use big or obscure words, tortuous sentences or convoluted ideas with the intention of demonstrating their superior intelligence.
They use inflated language such as “as some point in the near future” instead of “soon” to make what they’re saying seem more important.
Others use industry-specific jargon such as “recursive exemptions” or “geothermal declivities” or “transverse parallaxes” to demonstrate their advanced knowledge. (To be fair, sometimes they use such terms so often in their everyday work, they forget those outside their specialty don’t understand them.)
Still others hide behind mushy language to cover up the fact they don’t really know what they’re talking about.
They may be talking, but they’re not communicating.
If communication was easy, everyone could do it
One of the difficulties with communicating is you’re not always sure people are hearing what you’re saying.
For example, you may be explaining how your widget can be assembled in seven easy steps, but the listener is hearing “It’s way too complicated.”
How can you be sure people understand what you’re saying, especially in written pieces when you’re not standing beside them to answer their questions?
Here’s one solution.
After you write a marketing piece—article, blog, case study, whatever—give it to someone who knows nothing about your subject and ask if they understand it.
If they don’t, rewrite it. And keep rewriting it until they do understand.
It is ironic that in this Age of Mass Communication there is precious little actual communication.
What are your secrets for effective communication?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business marketing content and distribution firm. For content that makes you stick out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at email@example.com. Or visit www.dsprel.com.