Sometimes – no – many times, we communicators work to advise and counsel our clients to keep things simple. “Keep the jargon out.” “Quit referencing the thesaurus.”
Our clients know their business inside and out. The challenge is to transfer their knowledge into simple, clear and efficient communications to engage employees. If employees understand leadership’s vision, objectives and goals, then it’s easier to move the business forward.
But as we know, clients like their jargon and big words. It’s as if the jargon and big words are the security blanket. So how do we wean the security blanket(s) away from our clients?
One solution is simplicity. We preach simplicity as well as educate and prove the effectiveness of simple messaging. We lead by example.
Here are some thoughts on simplicity and what it means to me, re: internal communications.
Let’s start with the definition of simplicity per Merriam-Websters Dictionary:
1 : the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded
2 a : lack of subtlety or penetration : innocence, naiveté b : folly, silliness
3 : freedom from pretense or guile : candor
4 a : directness of expression : clarity b : restraint in ornamentation : austerity
When mentioning simplicity to clients, it’s important to practice what we preach. For example, when working on client messages, my practice is to start by advising clients to strip out unnecessary words. I look at the complexity of the message. In other words, if I can’t follow or understand the message, a good portion of the audience will understand it as well.
Prioritization is also a key factor. While communicators receive many “surprise” projects during the day, it’s important to establish and be explicit about what is critical and actually needs to be done. Take everything else off the plate, so to speak. Do the hardest thing it is for communicators to do – say NO.
Another factor in keeping things simple is to ask yourself and/or the client “what is the business case” before investing time in the activity. People don’t like that question. They hate it. They don’t like being challenged. In some cases, there is no business case. They hate admitting that. They like doing things the way they have always been done. But, as a communicator, you don’t want to impede driving to results. You want to offer better ways of doing things.
Clarity is important. Ensure the clients fully understand your expectations. Verify that the clients know the business case by asking them to repeat it. You want to avoid confusion and rework.
Manage projects – understand the work requirements and don’t exceed them without a business case.
These are my thoughts. What do you think? What can you add?