Simplicity is Key to Effective Communication

made-to-stick.jpg The expressions “Keep it simple, stupid!” and “Less is more” pinpoint the importance of simplicity. A powerful idea must be simple. Why clutter your audience with excessive information that fogs up your message?

Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made to Stick” outlines six principles of sticky ideas, and simplicity tops the list. According to the Heath brothers, simple messages are core and compact. A sticky idea is profound and stripped down to its critical essence. Chip and Heath argue that easy words are better than hard words, sentences are better than paragraphs, and two bullet points are better than five. Relentless prioritization is key.

By genuinely knowing your audiences and your objectives, you can create simple message that stick. Peter A. Eschbach, senior vice president of Porter Novelli, wrote a blog post highlighting the importance of keeping your message simple and profound. He asks, “Are your employees all PhD’s? Then stop communicating as if they were.” Eschbach argues that although lengthy sentences laced with high-sounding words may be impressive in some boardrooms, they will probably end up being misunderstood, ignored, or in the trash if used in communications to your employees. If messages are wordy and complex, there is a good chance they are ineffective.

Eliminate dense jargon and get to the core of your message. Simplicity does not equal uninteresting. It equals effective communication.

Image courtesy of barnsandnoble.com

 

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