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5 Reasons Why You Should Simplify What You Say, and How to Do It


“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere”.
Lee Iacocca

One of the trickier things about social skills is to get your message across.

One reason why people have difficulty with this is because they use more words than needed.

I know. I have done so too many times to count. I keep babbling on and on about something for far too long and fill the air with too many words.

Now, sometimes that can be a good and enjoyable thing. Sometimes it’s just a way to feed your own ego and keep the spotlight on yourself for as long as possible. A lot of the time I think it can be useful to simplify and try to use fewer words.

Why? I’ll get to that.

First though, just a few thoughts on the how. How do you keep your wordcount down? I think you just have to try to be more aware and alert. Think about what you are about to say before it whooshes out of your mouth. Focus on what you really want to convey.

Babbling on too much is, at least in my opinion, something that often comes from being too focused inward. Being too focused on yourself in a conversation.

If you instead focus more outward you’ll be less self-conscious. This reduces nervous and slightly nonsensical babbling.

And if you focus more outward, on the people you are talking to and less on your own glorious voice and golden words you’ll be more aware of what you are saying and how the conversation is going. If you focus on the other guy/gal you’ll be more focused on getting through and more attentive to the reactions you bring out.

So, stay aware of what you want to convey. And focus much of your attention outward to reduce babbling and to be more alert to what’s happening and how your message comes across. Now, on to reason number one why you should keep it simple.

1. Clarity.

Obviously. If you only use what is needed then there will be less room and risk for misunderstandings. And overall, the message usually gets through easier when someone keeps it simple. This has at least been my experience when I listen to people who keep it simple.

2. Emotional punch.

Just like when you’re writing, keeping it simple can give your spoken words a bigger emotional punch. When your message is focused and clearly directed instead of muddled and lost in too many words it becomes more powerful.

3. Less risk of boredom.

Even though you may think what you are saying is most interesting thing since we first discovered YouTube others may not share this feeling. If you keep it concise with a clear intention your message becomes more lucid, more emotionally powerful and probably shorter. So it becomes easier to keep the attention of your audience and actually get your message through.

4. You’ll be less eager to stroke your ego.

Going on and on about something may be a way to show off your cleverness. Cleverness is overrated. It’s mostly a good way to feed your own ego. It’s not such a good way to get your point across. Or to become less self-conscious.

By complicating things and wanting to be clever you reinforce your negative habit. You’ll focus too much on yourself and what others may think of you.

If you keep it simple and clear and if you focus on the people you are talking to you’ll become more free to say what you want. It might not feel as good at first since you are not stroking your ego or reinforcing your cleverness. But I have found that in the long run it makes things easier and reduces some of your own inner limitations. The real, less self-conscious you gets more of a chance to shine through.

5. It keeps the rest of your communication more focused and aligned.

If you keep your mind focused on what you are trying to convey and on the people you are talking to you are a lot more focused compared to if you just ramble on.

When your mind is more focused on these two things the rest of your body plays along more easily. And your body language and voice tonality is 93 percent of your communication.

As you are more involved and attentive in the conversation more emotions like enthusiasm is pumped into how you are saying something. And your body language becomes more focused with an alert posture and, for example, with clearer hand gestures. You become more in sync with yourself and all parts of your communication become simpler, clearer and more powerful.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michelle Shelton July 27, 2008, 2:23 am

    Writing is about thoughts being conveyed and expressed. The thought was conveyed. The author wants to say more with less words. The more I write, the more my skill and the nuts and bolts of writing are perfected.

    I would challenge the author to take the original work and go back through and scale it down and drill in…then spelll check and keep going through it and repost. This is what truly makes for a great read. In my opinion…of course.
    -M

  • Fran August 29, 2008, 5:40 am

    “5 Reasons Why You Should Simplify What You Say, and How to Do It” I had to just say, you are doing a FINE job on your Post. I love reading all that you have to say, preach or no preaching. A mispelled word is not going to kill the reader either.

  • Brandon E September 25, 2008, 8:15 am

    Excellent article. Your English is excellent.

    Anyone who is trying to improve social skills will find this article to their delight. The others, the ones who want to criticize, well…..it was not meant for them anyway.

    Thanks again!

  • Nelly October 28, 2008, 2:10 pm

    So u corrected the spelling, thats enough 4 an ego boost today….i liked the article n didnt realize all this mumbo jumbo till i got to the comments

  • Donald May 28, 2009, 7:17 am

    Great job, very helpful facts. Way to go and keep up the good work!

  • Diane June 15, 2009, 1:33 am

    People who are correcting spelling or complaining about grammar are
    1) Being rude, obnoxious, and contributing absolutely nothing
    2) Missing the whole point of this blog, which is about improving your life and being positive
    3) Overlooking the obvious that English isn’t the writer’s first language (the name Henrik is your first clue) and failing to give him credit for having better English skills than many native speakers.
    Go away if you can’t be positive, don’t disrupt and belittle other peoples’ efforts.

  • carol August 21, 2009, 7:08 pm

    when public speaking, I try to remember the 20-minute rule. this is the average attention span of an adult and as much as possible, I squeeze everything within those precious minutes or else, i lose my audience. when it’s not possible then i give one interesting statement for each 20 minutes of the speech to renew their interest with what i am trying to say.

    thanks, great post. :)

  • anupam October 5, 2009, 7:47 pm

    the overall concept was really good ………….simple is always beautiful and praise worthy……..keep it up

  • gary stoudenmier January 10, 2010, 2:22 am

    criticism self-centered grammarians practice what you say & have mercy on us underlings . NO INSULT INTENDED > Thanks for your ear. DOCTOR G

  • Honeymoon March 15, 2010, 8:19 pm

    Very nice and informative post. I have subscribed to your twitter.\
    Thank you

  • Georgia April 2, 2010, 11:55 am

    I think this article is simple enough to be understood by any reader. In this day and life everything needs to be made simple. It’s silly that you are all commenting on grammar. Does it really matter? Read the front page of any news paper and I am quite sure you’ll find plenty of spelling mistakes which have written by professionals.
    So come on, if you are that bored with your life go to shops buy a highlighter get your hands on every news paper in the country and highlight every mistake you can find. Im sure that will keep you busy.
    From my point of view the people that have read this article clearly need some sort of help and if you ask me I think its served its purpose quite well.
    So in conclusion well done. Your at least out there trying to help people with there lives. So for those ungrateful why bother reading it in the first place?

  • Dr Paul Dyer June 4, 2010, 3:03 am

    One of my all time favorite quotes comes from C.S. Lewis, “If you cant’ say it simply, you don’t really understand it.”

  • Wally Peterson August 18, 2010, 4:00 am

    Great tip. One of my favorite quotes:

    The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. –Thomas Jefferson

  • organic green August 20, 2010, 11:33 pm

    Knowing who you are helps bring clarity to a conversation as well. When you know exactly where you’re coming from, the connection comes through in your words and other areas of life allowing for more harmony in all that you do.

  • mohammed mujeeb uddin September 1, 2010, 12:02 pm

    i should see myself as a sucessfull person in my life after three years