Many leaders mistakenly believe using complex, obscure language makes them sound authoritative. But this compensatory vernacular often backfires, undermining influence and trust. Have you ever had to listen to something like this:
We need to focus on a fisher price simple set of sizzle reels enabling tighter understanding from leadership on more verbose on-ramps and ultimately product expansion.
That's a near verbatim quote from someone who should have known better - in a few words, incomprehensible gibberish. Imagine if the quote was simply:
We need clear, straightforward videos to help leadership quickly grasp complex concepts. This allows smoother buy-in for long-term product growth.
Here are some healthier communication thoughts to avoid sounding like you have no idea what you're doing:
- Avoid jargon and buzzwords. Skip insider lingo and trendy buzzphrases in favor of simple, precise language.
- Explain concepts clearly. If you must reference sophisticated concepts, explain them in plain terms others can understand.
- Use conversational tone. Strive for the warm, human tone of a fireside chat, not a lecture.
- Tailor language to the audience. Adjust your vocabulary based on the backgrounds of who you're communicating with.
- Define unfamiliar terms. If you use a term others may not know, briefly define it concisely in context.
- Read your drafts aloud. If passages sound awkward when spoken, rework them to be clearer.
- Get feedback on comprehension. Ask trusted colleagues if anything you've written or said was confusing.
- Study great communicators. Learn from leaders who convey complex topics simply.
- Focus on the idea, not the words. Make the idea itself the star, not the language used to express it.
- Beware of virtue signaling. Using unnecessary jargon can signal false expertise rather than true merit.
The measure of effective communication is comprehension and connection, not complicated vocabulary. Resist compensating through excessive complexity.