How to be Clear not ‘Clever’

| 8 March 2024

I often sense a lack of security or lack of confidence in someone when they try to bamboozle me with acronyms, jargon or overly complex explanations of things that can be explained clearly or succinctly in layperson’s terms. They’re trying to sound clever – but are we impressed?

If it’s not a lack of confidence, it’s perhaps an ‘assumption’ that everyone else understands their jargon (when people often don’t).

Every industry and sector has its jargon but it’s often not understood outside. (Coaching has its jargon and I must be mindful too of the ‘coaching language’ that makes no sense to other people – I mean, what does ‘fulfilling your potential’ even mean?!).

Either way, instead of building a connection, these smart arses do the opposite. They confuse, overwhelm, annoy or simply make us switch off. Not a great way to build relationships, alliances or to get things done.

There’s a useful reminder in that phrase ‘Would this make sense to a five-year-old?‘ (If you know any 5-year-olds they would be a great person to test your messaging on!)

It’s not about dumbing down or trivialising something or being overly simplistic. It’s about giving a clear message that everyone understands the first time.

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