Improving your communication is essential as you step out into the world of work. Forbes’ contributing writer Amy Blaschka offers some pithy words of advice for all, excerpted below, from a May 4, 2020, article.
“Stop meandering and get to the point…
Have you ever starting reading something that went to go on and on, where you struggled to figure out the author’s intent? Or maybe you’ve started watching an eight-minute video only to discover that five minutes in you’re still not sure what the poster wanted to say?
Meandering signals that you’re unorganized and unsure. Worse, you’ll lose your audience’s attention—and the opportunity to communicate. When you want to deliver a message, be intentional about it, eliminate extraneous material, and get to the point.
Focus on one takeaway
Another common communication misstep is trying to cover too much at once. A good rule of thumb is that each piece of content should revolve around one central theme. This forces you to get specific about and home in on your message. And that clarity promotes better understanding, making it easier for your audience to understand your perspective,
Switch from negative to positive
When you use positive language, you’re perceived as more likable, supportive, and caring. In contrast, using negative language paints you as critical and confrontational, even when that’s not your intent. Positive language lets someone know what you can do instead of what you can’t do.
According to studies, positive statements are more quickly received, and they are also well-received by the audience. In addition, research shows that using positive language is a highly efficient tool for being happier and more productive.
Move from passive to active voice
Imagine if Nike changed its tagline to It was done. Not very inspiring, is it? Passive voice is just that: passive. With it, the subject is acted upon by the verb. Something happened to it; there’s no forward momentum.
Using the active voice conveys a strong, clear tone, such as Nike’s famous tagline, Just do it. There is a call to action. Action-oriented language propels us to do something rather than remain idle. Where possible, minimize passive language and use using active voice.
Incorporate evocative language
Incorporating evocative language into your repertoire opens you up to a more descriptive, interesting lexicon. Never again will you have to use “nice,” “good,” or “fine”—the four-letter milquetoasts of the word world. You’ll stand out, capture your audience’s attention, and ensure that your message will be more memorable.
Craft your story
The finest and most memorable communicators understand the power of story to convey a message… Research from Paul Zak confirms this: Stories that are personal and emotionally compelling engage more of the brain, and thus are better remembered than simply stating a set of facts. Sharing our stories help others us.
If you’re looking for a way to communicate and connect better, craft a story. Because once you have your story, it changes everything, including how others perceive, pay, and promote you.”