The language we use influences the way we think
How effective are you in your everyday communications? Are you thoughtful, concise and positive or do you let your ego get in the way?
Article by Malcolm Levene
For some time I’ve been meaning to write about my interpretation of what is known as clean language. For me, it equates to brevity, succinctness & thoughtfulness. In no way, do I mean short and sweet. What I do mean is, be concise and enable your delivery to encourage more inter-activeness. Therefore, conversations are not just all about you, they become more about us, which means you’re being inclusive, not exclusive. Many describe clean language as less is more. Generally speaking, I agree with that often used saying. However teaching others how to conclude that this is so can be quite challenging. It’s like unlearning before you learn.
Sometimes I can over garnish when I talk (old habits die hard). In saying that, if one considers how to edit what we say, that helps. For instance, leave in anything that is relevant or you feel is important, remove anything superfluous or almost irrelevant. Tough? Sure is, that’s why so few attempt to do it. From what I can gather, a number of motivational coaches & NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioners include clean language in the way they teach. Personally, I believe communicating with clean language is about awareness. For instance, how many time do we hear, ‘Well, to be honest with you…’ Does that mean you are not being honest at other times?
This is where editing comes into play. We don’t need to preface every statement we make. It’s as if we are justifying that which we’re about to say. Or, when I hear people add a negative comment to a worthy statement. Something like, ‘Oh, you may not like my suggestion, so don’t feel obliged…’ Here, we tend to negate what we have said initially, rendering the comment as being of no importance. I do not wish to infer that you reduce what you say for the sake of it. Endeavour to omit negative comments, leave in helpful/useful suggestions, where possible. In any event, learn how to monitor the way you communicate verbally. By doing so, almost by osmosis you will begin to make improvements.
So for me, clean language is like cleaning/housework/tidying-up. It is a necessary part of staying healthy & maintaining a decent lifestyle at home. To experience a more effective way of communicating verbally, endeavour to attain your interpretation of clean language. I understand that for many, brevity just does not work. In that case, ask yourself if your style of verbal communication achieves your desired outcomes. If it does, so be it, good for you. In any event, I’m going to stress that you reflect, consider & decide if you can make any adjustments that are likely to sharpen your delivery. Remember, people are likely to remember the last thing you said!
- Increase your vocabulary, decrease the length of your explanations.
- Be a better listener than speaker.
- Recall who you think verbally communicates excellently, then endeavour to emulate him/her.
- Only talk about things you know enough about.
- Don’t allow ego, arrogance or I know it all to get in the way.
- Use humility as it enables us to be more engaging.
- Try to use your passions to express who you are.
- Tell stories but ensure they have universal themes.