Wednesday, April 20, 2011

5 Reasons Why You Should Simplify What You Say, and How to Do It

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere”.
Lee Iacocca 
One of the trickier things about social skills is to get your message across.
One reason why people have difficulty with this is because they use more words than needed.
I know. I have done so too many times to count. I keep babbling on and on about something for far too long and fill the air with too many words.
Now, sometimes that can be a good and enjoyable thing. Sometimes it’s just a way to feed your own ego and keep the spotlight on yourself for as long as possible. A lot of the time I think it can be useful to simplify and try to use fewer words.
Why? I’ll get to that.
First though, just a few thoughts on the how. How do you keep your wordcount down? I think you just have to try to be more aware and alert. Think about what you are about to say before it whooshes out of your mouth. Focus on what you really want to convey.
Babbling on too much is, at least in my opinion, something that often comes from being too focused inward. Being too focused on yourself in a conversation.
If you instead focus more outward you’ll be less self-conscious. This reduces nervous and slightly nonsensical babbling.
And if you focus more outward, on the people you are talking to and less on your own glorious voice and golden words you’ll be more aware of what you are saying and how the conversation is going. If you focus on the other guy/gal you’ll be more focused on getting through and more attentive to the reactions you bring out.
So, stay aware of what you want to convey. And focus much of your attention outward to reduce babbling and to be more alert to what’s happening and how your message comes across. Now, on to reason number one why you should keep it simple.
1. Clarity.
Obviously. If you only use what is needed then there will be less room and risk for misunderstandings. And overall, the message usually gets through easier when someone keeps it simple. This has at least been my experience when I listen to people who keep it simple.
2. Emotional punch.
Just like when you’re writing, keeping it simple can give your spoken words a bigger emotional punch. When your message is focused and clearly directed instead of muddled and lost in too many words it becomes more powerful.
3. Less risk of boredom.
Even though you may think what you are saying is most interesting thing since we first discovered YouTube others may not share this feeling. If you keep it concise with a clear intention your message becomes more lucid, more emotionally powerful and probably shorter. So it becomes easier to keep the attention of your audience and actually get your message through.
4. You’ll be less eager to stroke your ego.
Going on and on about something may be a way to show off your cleverness. Cleverness is overrated. It’s mostly a good way to feed your own ego. It’s not such a good way to get your point across. Or to become less self-conscious.
By complicating things and wanting to be clever you reinforce your negative habit. You’ll focus too much on yourself and what others may think of you.
If you keep it simple and clear and if you focus on the people you are talking to you’ll become more free to say what you want. It might not feel as good at first since you are not stroking your ego or reinforcing your cleverness. But I have found that in the long run it makes things easier and reduces some of your own inner limitations. The real, less self-conscious you gets more of a chance to shine through.
5. It keeps the rest of your communication more focused and aligned.
If you keep your mind focused on what you are trying to convey and on the people you are talking to you are a lot more focused compared to if you just ramble on.
When your mind is more focused on these two things the rest of your body plays along more easily. And your body language and voice tonality is 93 percent of your communication.
As you are more involved and attentive in the conversation more emotions like enthusiasm is pumped into how you are saying something. And your body language becomes more focused with an alert posture and, for example, with clearer hand gestures. You become more in sync with yourself and all parts of your communication become simpler, clearer and more powerful.

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