Just Say It. Don't over say it. Conversation Language.
I'm guilty... We all are to a certain degree. What are we all guilty of?
Using more complex language than required to make a point or explain something.
Why do we do this? To make ourselves feel important? Masking not fully understanding a problem or situation? Dancing around answering a question?
No matter the reason, we are suffering. Our co-workers are suffering. Our organizations are suffering from decreased effectiveness, productivity, and clarity brought on by longwinded complex language.
As Granville N Toogood states in "The Articulate Executive":
"nothing gets in the way of doing business more than language that is anything other than conversational".
He goes on to say:
"a businessman should not sound like a businessman. A chemical engineer should not sound like a chemical engineer... and you can be sure that a consultant...should go out of his way not to sound like a consultant"
This should be freeing. Freedom to be yourself. As Christoph Trappe would say be authentic!
Where to start?
Marvin H. Swift offers a place to start in his 1997 HBR article. Start by reworking your communications. Take the extra 10 minutes to edit that email, prepare a pointed agenda for a meeting, etc.
He also advises that you stay the course as the rewards from focused communication start rolling in only after it becomes habit.
"Good communications... is five-tenths mental discipline, four-tenths willingness to rework first drafts, and one-tenth aptitude." - Marvin H. Swift "Clear Writing Means Clear Thinking Means…"
Even in the process of writing/ editing this post I found myself writing in non-conversational language.
It's a battle I'll continue fighting.
Question: Are you up to the challenge of using conversational language? Being authentic?
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!