The Essence of Communication

I believe the essence of communication to be this:  SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE.  Deliver your message so that the person or group to whom you are communicating clearly understands the message.  Speak their language.

Here’s the hard part:  Work to be authentic in your communication.  Don’t pretend to be something you are not.  Don’t pretend to know something you do not know.

Plenty of product names and ad slogans work in English, but have different, often negative, meanings in other languages.  Similarly, some Americans use words and references in their speech or writing that are not clearly understood by their intended targets.

Here are some tips for better communication:

Have your message checked by someone who can advise you about correct usage of words and terminology.  If you must use technical, industry-specific language, get help to assure your overall message is not sabotaged by misuse of those terms.

Be aware that you may be communicating to a variety of audiences.  I dislike the term “dumb it down,” but you may achieve a better result by using more common words and terms.

Consider the gatekeeper(s) who will share you message, perhaps via media.  Is the person who chooses whether to delete your release a seasoned pro or a raw rookie?

Avoid obscure references.  If you need to mention something that might be unfamiliar, briefly explain it and put it in context.

Provide complete information.  From Journalism 101:  Covering Who, What, Where, When, Why and How will help you communicate your message better.

Offer to provide clarification.  If there is a chance your message may not be clear, make it easy for the message recipient(s) to get the necessary information.

Sometimes it helps to repeat a message.  So I will again say:  “SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE.”

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