7 Tips for Clear, Concise CommunicationJoy Montgomery
As wonderful as our language might be, it’s an imperfect communication tool.Using it in the simplest ways can result in unwanted surprises! If you’ve everbeen puzzled by a response to something you wrote or said, you may behappy to have these seven tips:
- Don’t confuse your audience by changing terms. Aliases are the“Criminal Elements” in communication. If you call a board a board at thebeginning, don’t change to card or device unless there’s a reason for thedistinction. If there is a reason, explain it clearly.
- If you use these two letters, they require at least two courses of actionor you’ll have to follow up with at least two memos or make at least twophone calls. For example: “If it’s sunny Sunday, will you go to the beachwith me?” You may wind up alone in the rain while the object of youraffection is bowling with someone else.
- Does your audience need to know everything you said to respondor take the correct action? Scope creep can actually hide the subject anddelay action. Your audience may not know what you want them to do.Conversely, did you say everything they do need to know to respond ortake the correct action?
- Do you “kill” your verbs? Do you talk about youraudience instead of to them? For example: Upon receipt of the new rulings,the updating of the file will be done by the User.” This could be, “When youget the new rulings, update the file.” Use strong, precise verbs and talk toyour audience.
- Prepositions are building blocks for run-on sentences.When you use them, be sure they’re really needed. Chances are they’re notadding any value at all. These are commonly used prepositions: after, at,before, during, except, from, in, into, of, on, to, with.
- A conjunction is as good a building block for run-onsentences as a preposition. Conjunctions are like adhesive and they canhook unrelated topics together and they fill up every space where youmight have taken a breath and they use up every space where youraudience might have needed a breather and they make it difficult to findthe subject of the sentence but they’re used a lot!