Effective Communication is clear and concise

Some people can compress a lot of information in a sentence. People who can clearly and concisely articulate themselves have better chance of getting and maintaining attention of others. It’s the art of increasing the signal vs noise ratio and increasing value density of every word used.

The opposite of that is rambling. Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of it, because it takes time and cognitive effort to extract meaning from the noise. Jargon filled language and fancy words take similar toll and usually mask inability to communicate ideas simply.

Precise communication is crisp and makes the ideas much higher fidelity. Those who talk without fillers, padding and get to the point demonstrate clarity of thought. The more efficient a person is the higher the chance the message will get through because attention is scarce.

Another key to effective communication is adapting to your audience. Be aware that people interpret ideas, concepts differently. Various audiences may care about different aspects of the same thing because of their unique viewpoints. For example, conversations among old friends or long-time colleagues may seem foreign to an outsider. Their shared experiences and understanding allow them to communicate at a level of abstraction that bypasses the need for elaborate explanations. For them the words are few but meanings are deep.

Here are some things to try for improving communication:

  • Know your audience and avoid making assumptions about people understanding the jargon or underlying concepts. Ability to go up and down in the abstraction is powerful.
  • Avoid generic and vague words such as “good”, “stuff” etc. Instead, use accurate words as alternatives. For example: “acceptable, exceptional”, “projects, tasks, devices”. Watch this video for some pointers.
  • Read more to expand your vocabulary. Pay attention how experienced authors communicate ideas. There are few examples of high density reading: The Almanack of Naval RavikantA Philosophy of Software DesignSeeking Wisdom: From Darwin to MungerEssays by Paul Graham.
  • Write more. Writing is thinking, it prepares you better for talking than anything else. This advice by Scott Adamsis one of the best tips how to improve writing, the same applies to general communication.
  • Be intentional when talking. Think before you talk rather than think while you talk. Remove the fluff and get to the point quickly and then keep expanding as needed.
  • Don’t repeat yourself. Many people will go in circles repeating the same idea using different words (I am one of them).