“Psychology is an elaboration of the obvious” ~William James
I first heard this quote in a psychology class during college and immediately fell in love with it. Not only did I find it accurate with regard to my psychology courses, I have also found it to be an excellent reminder about effective communication.
When we’re communicating with a wide range of people, or with people who are unfamiliar with a concept we are attempting to teach, we should strive to use language that most simply conveys our message. I’m not talking about “dumbing down” our content, but rather choosing to avoid unnecessary complexities when clear simple language will suffice.
There are times when both the topic and the audience warrant complexity, like at a conference for rocket scientists or brain surgeons, for example. But many of the concepts and ideas we want to share with other people can easily and effectively be delivered with clear and simple language.
The next time you have a presentation or a speech to give where you’ll be explaining a concept to wide ranging group, consider using clear simple language that is free of jargon and industry buzz words. At the very least, you’ll be putting your audience in a better position to understand what you’re attempting to communication. And at best, you may even be able to influence their thinking.