The secret to effective communication

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Regardless of what you’re trying to communicate; no matter who will receive your message; despite the channel through which the message will be sent… there is one constant. Knowing this ONE fact about communication can possibly solve all your issues. 

The only thing you need to know

The first (and only) thing you need to know about communicating effectively is that the message must be simple. 

Communicate in such a way that PhD candidates and children in kindergarten can understand your message.Keeping your message simple entails more than just eliminating big words; it is about the efficient use of words. There is usually a call to action, or some kind of focal point in every message – that should be direct and (AGAIN) simple. 

What slogans can teach us about talking to each other

One example of the effectiveness of simple, direct messages is a slogan :

  • how much they have changed over the years (they have generally gotten shorter and more direct)
  • their effectiveness in associating a brand with a behaviour

In the 1940’s Colgate toothpaste had the slogan: “It Cleans Your Teeth While It Cleans Your Breath”; by the 60’s they changed it to “the Colgate ring of confidence” (source). After several years it was evident that the market associated Colgate with toothpaste, so it was changed to  – “Number 1 recommended by dentists” (source).

Another example of the importance of simple messages is an elevator pitch. Being able to speak about yourself; your product; or your business in 30 seconds – summing up who you are; what you do/what’s special about you; and why people should care.


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The audience can be anyone, you take the stage

Your audience’s attention span (which started decreasing as soon as you grabbed their attention) is one factor in message brevity, but it also showcases your efficiency as an employee; business owner; partner, etc… Efficient communication makes a statement, builds connections, improves relationships and reduces the chance of miscommunication.

The idea is to capture the attention of the recipient; keep it; and leave them with a compelling message which will lead to a feedback process, which will eventually open up avenues for continued (seamless) communication. 

A very simple message outline you can use:

  • Introduction: initiate the topic 
  • State fact and/or Idea: information that will make your audience want to lean in
  • Reason: why should the audience care/ why are you sharing this information
  • Make space for feedback

Communication has one goal: all parties should understand each other. When we keep messages simple it is easier for us to achieve this goal.

Keep it simple!

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