We are about to welcome in the 2020s. To celebrate, I have a gift that will make people like you. Having people like you is a good thing.
It is the secret of communicating effectively. There are four things to master. They are simplicity, brevity, truth, and attention to detail.
Luckily these are easy. Say what you mean, spell properly, punctuate precisely and phrase sentences logically.
Everyone uses what others say as a way to measure them. Subconsciously, however, they also take note of how things are said.
A good example has emerged in the past year. Young climate campaigner Greta Thunberg. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with her ideas. Step aside from that and look at how she communicates.
Listen to the way she delivers her points of view. It is the opposite of how most world leaders talk.
She is clear about what she believes in. She states her case in simple and polite terms. She is honest. When she doesn’t know something she admits she doesn’t know. People like her.
By contrast, watch how politicians, managers and liars deliver information.
Are they using plain language? Do they try to blind us with science? Do they bluster and fail to answer questions? Do they put their ideas across in easy-to-understand terms? Do they give the impression they know more than us? Do they pretend we couldn’t understand this hidden information?
The best pieces of writing and speeches have one main idea. They express that idea in plain language. These articles and speeches are often constructed using short sentences.
I’ve constructed this column using short, simple sentences. Indeed, the longest sentence in this 401-word article has 12 words.
Goodness knows I love an obscure and interesting word myself. But there is a time and place for such words. This article isn’t one of them.
Use the way people write or speak to measure them. In most cases you will have formed the correct opinion.
The truth doesn’t usually take many words to put across. Then you can deal with the consequences of the truth.
Say what you mean. Write what you mean. Use words you are sure that you, and others, understand. A clear idea, delivered honestly, in uncomplicated sentences. It’s a winning recipe.
Good, simple English is the root of being understood. If people understand you, they will trust you. If people trust you, they will like you.
Word of the week
Dazzlingly bright. EG: “If you use good English, you will have a fulgent new year and new decade.”
Read the latest Oh my word! every Saturday in The Courier. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org