How to make a point

By February 21, 2011Presentation Skills

“Do you harness and promote cross-fertilisation between adaptivity and adaptability?”

“No, you’re thinking of Bob. I cascade qualitative learnings about end-user experience.”

The modern workplace contains a lot of abstract, meaningless language. Its purpose is to convey a sense of importance, to borrow the credibility of science for the fulfilment of mundane tasks. Its imprecision not only annoys us, it prevents understanding. We can’t get to the meaning through a fog of described processes and compound nouns.

George Orwell, whose classic 1984 contains brilliant warnings about the perversion of language, wrote: “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

Practising what he preached, this is the very model of clear communication. He states his point clearly up-front. He explains it succinctly. He gives a brilliant, visual illustration that lasts in the memory. And that’s it.

Let’s be more Orwell and less Orwellian.

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