Today’s evolving businesses require simplicity – and anyone who cannot explain something, may not themselves understand what it is they are attempting to explain. No one cares how intelligent we sound when we speak, but how our knowledge and expertise translate to solving business problems to achieve targeted business goal.

I recently attended a virtual technology board meeting. On the agenda was a Smart Cities item of discussion. Smart Cities are urban areas that maximize use of electronic devices and sensors to collect important data to identify and solve problems – challenges like unavailable parking, loitering, traffic congestion and so forth. The technical jargon that was thrown about in this long-winded dialogue would have made a nontechnical person’s head spin. It was a video conferencing cacophony of gibberish; and about as unpleasant as the sound of fingernails scratching downward on a chalkboard. In an Inc. Magazine editorial, Use Big Words to Sound Smart? More Like Opposite, writer Joshua Spodek goes so far as to say, “Using big words and jargon implies you feel insecure about your intelligence and education.” Spodek adds that the practice makes people sound needy. Now, I wouldn’t go that far but certainly there’s something there.

In this more complex and technical job market, as communicators — and we all are communicators, our bread-and-butter relies on language simplicity. While there are many strategy for communicating messages, most fundamental are:

Knowing Your Audience

When we communicate in professional environments, we must remember that each of us comes with our own set of unique experiences, skills, education and training, from a variety of fields and industries. Because of this, we must also know who’s in the room – to whom are are speaking? Knowing our audience not only regulates what we say, but how we say it; our tone, and the words we use to communicate an idea or message is critical for greater understanding.

Keeping It Simple

Some might argue using industry jargon with layman to sound like you know what you’re talking about is a mask for lacking real understanding, but even worse than that it may have negative downstream impacts on a project, ultimately hurting the bottom line. Some nontechnical business leaders are often so far removed from the rudimentary and more granular nuances of projects they have no choice but to rely on the direction of hired professionals. And we can almost be certain that if the captain of the ship is unclear how to reach his destination, so too are the sailors.

Keep your language simple. No one cares how intelligent we sound, but how effective we are in solving a business problem to achieve a targeted goal.

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