Are You Smart Enough to Say It Simply?

Today, we’ll share a recent experience with an intern and a doctor. The intern explained what was going on, and we understood almost none of it. He only used medical terms. When we questioned him, he compounded it with even more technical words. A great guy, but he didn’t communicate effectively.

Then we talked to the doctor. The doctor explained everything in human terms so we fully understood. Sure, she used technical terms, but she quickly explained what they meant in layman’s language.

She was smart enough to say it simply!

So from that we can only conclude that women are better communicators than men!

Okay, that’s not what we’re saying. It’s not about gender, it’s about these three factors:

#1 – Personal characteristics

Consider two ends of the spectrum – on one end, there are people who lack confidence. On the other end, there are people with ego.

Confidence. These people may be somewhat new to the subject they’re trying to explain so they’re not that sure of themselves yet. They’re uncomfortable talking about it. So they talk about it the way they learned it – in technical terms. It’s a nervous reaction.

Ego. These people are experts and they want you to know just how smart they are. They may even be arrogant. They’re smart, but not smart enough to realize how important it is to clearly communicate with their audience.

#2 – Communication skills
This is about preparation. They know they have a message to relay, but they don’t put any thought into how to relay it. They’re very skilled in their profession, but they don’t know how to communicate with the average Jane or Joe.

#3 – People skills
They’re not able to read the people to whom they’re talking. If they get a blank stare, it doesn’t register that the person doesn’t understand. These people are brilliant in their profession, but they lack the ability to connect with people, especially those outside their profession.

2 tips to say it simply
Here are two questions to ask yourself about your audience before you try to communicate with them:

Question #1 – What is their level of understanding about your subject?
The answer to this question will help you determine how you form your message. If you’re talking to a colleague, you can go crazy with all that jargon you love! If you’re talking to someone outside your profession, keep it simple!

Question #2 – What do they need to know?

If the CliffsNotes version will do, don’t recite the whole book! Determine what’s really important and leave out all the rest. They’ll ask you if they want more.

It’s smart to keep it simple!

Our bigg quote today comes from the French philosopher, Voltaire:

“If you wish to speak with me, define your terms.”

And limit those terms to terms of use by your audience.

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Next time, we’ll offer guidance to a business owner who’s going through tough times. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image by danzo08)

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    2 tips to communicate more effectively….

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