Do You Really Communicate As Effectively?

William Butler Yeats once said, “Think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.” While you could interpret, “language of the people” in a lot of ways, in my view, Yeats is saying know your audience and speak to them so they will understand.

This notion goes beyond writing for public consumption, or speaking at a podium. Familiarity with industry terms, acronyms, and other specific references can vary within your workplace and among stakeholders.

For instance, using acronyms is efficient when the listener is your lab partner, your boss or a member of your immediate team. But for people in other departments, subcontractors, customers and volunteers, you may as well be speaking another language.

Often, people won’t tell you they don’t understand. So each time you speak, consider your audience to make sure your choice of words effectively conveys the intended message and enables you and others to move things forward.


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