THE ART OF CLEAR COMMUNICATION
Clear communication is rare. Have you ever tried to follow instructions from a user manual that reads somewhat like this?
“Once the form is correctly filled in, and before your answers are ticked as prescribed in the relevant paragraph [insert reference to xy pages earlier in the same document], make sure you cross-check all data before proceeding to the next page. Refer to page xy in this guide for more information.”
If you have, you most likely would have had to read, and re-read, the steps to ensure you perform everything in the right order. As a result, you would probably have felt frustrated and would have perhaps thought that the product, service, or procedure you are engaging with is ‘difficult’.
THE FEELING OF ‘NOT GETTING IT’ IS TOXIC MATTER IN COMMUNICATION
You would have been absolutely right to feel and think that way. The fact of the matter is, it does not matter how wonderful a product, service, or procedure is in itself. If the perceived user experience is “I am wasting valuable time”, or, even worse, “I am too stupid to do this” all other magic is lost. Your product or service lands in the ‘too-hard’ basket of short-fused user patience. “On to the next solution that makes it all button-click easy for me!”, Joe User thinks, hopping off into the sunset.
Clear communication matters. If you cannot communicate with clarity, all magic is lost.
WHAT MAKES CLEAR COMMUNICATION?
In a nutshell, communicating clearly comes down to providing someone with
- the right information
- at the right time
- at the right location
- in a language or form that can easily be
- understood, and
- actioned by the target audience.
It takes skill, practice, and time to achieve clarity, especially in writing. As a busy professional, you may not have the patience or time to refine your writings to maximise the engagement or outcome you are after.