If you have read my post on how you can be more influential, you would have realized how much importance I place in credibility. Why is this so?
With the looming specter of the pandemic causing panic globally, communication has been the very source of reprieve for many. Citizens look towards the establishments and governing agencies for updates and vital information that will help them decide their courses of actions.
At the same time, it has been noteworthy to have observed how communication can be delivered in two different extremes. We have seen leaders being at the forefront of news conferences and interviews, giving their opinions and discussions. Some were delivered admirably while most were done with much to be desired.
What was lacking in most of the communication?
It is one thing to be able to cite numbers, facts, statistics, opinions and personal thoughts. It is another thing altogether to be clear.
Imagine, someone coming up to you and asking for directions to the nearest bathroom. You took the whole minute to tell the stranger that he will find a bathroom, after he passes an eatery that is owned by an Italian family, after which he will see a neon colored signboard that has no relevance to the location of the bathroom and then telling him that he needs to switch on his Maps application on his phone.
Compare that to you saying, “Oh, just walk a 100 meters ahead and turn to your right. The bathroom is there.”
Why is clarity so darn important? Let me tell you.
- Clarity gives direction
Clarity comes from the Latin word clarus which mean clear. In our current communication contexts where there is either an overload of information, false information of just plain nonsensical information, everyone needs information that is clear. Free of distractions. It is easy to know if your communication fits the clarity checklist.
- Can you repeat the communicated information to other people
- Can you use the communicated information to decide on something
- Can you use the communicated information to act on something
If your communication hits any of the above, then you have clarity. If you hit all of the above, then you are a communication maestro.
How can you have more clarity in your communication? Here are 5 steps to do so.
- Know your desired outcomes. What is it that you want to achieve out of your communication?
- Prepare the message. Even stand up comedians prepare their routines. Why do you think they do so? It is because, preparation removes the clutter and mentioned distractions.
- Practice your communication. Practice will not make your message perfect. It will make your message permanent.
- Deliver your message with conviction. Clarity needs conviction. It does not matter if you are singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. If you are not singing it with conviction, even adults will cry at how badly it is delivered.
- Use words that add impact. Not effect. Unless you are telling a story to a bed filled with children going to sleep, you can do away with exaggerations and humor. Clarity in communication banks on the words you use. The shorter the sentence structures, the better it will be for you.
Clarity in communication is both an art and science that you can develop and utilize over time.