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Communication Is Key

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Some call it the curse of knowledge, and others call it professional-speak. Sometimes we get so caught up in our knowledge and expertise that we forget that not everyone understands the complexities that excite us.

As one client told me, “Barbara, {insert profession here} love to talk about what we love to do.” And my response was, “But, dear professional, do they have a clue to understand what you’re talking about?” His downward glance and sigh showed that he knew exactly what I meant.

It’s a common phenomenon that intelligent professionals struggle to share their complex insights so others can follow along. Engineers, architects, contractors, attorneys, accountants, doctors, and IT professionals often overwhelm with complicated processes and details. Actually, I find the same phenomenon rings true when I’m talking with a mechanic, equipment repair specialist, photographer, and, well, just about anyone who’s educated in areas where I’m not.

Still, communication is the practice of making ideas common. Communication is successful when it is transmitted clearly and received accurately. When the message is too complicated, it can’t be received well. Try as they might, the recipient just can’t figure it out. Whether they misunderstand or give up completely, the message isn’t received. The communication process has failed.

So What?

Awareness is the first step. Be on the lookout when the language you use is technical. Avoid jargon. Recognize that because you understand all the in’s and out’s of a process, your audience might not understand when you provide a lot of detail. Though their heads may nod, they might not be understanding all the complex details you’re providing. If writing, make sure you have someone read the content for understandability. If speaking, share your insights with someone who isn’t familiar with the topic.

Do not assume that everyone knows as much as you do. As one engineer told me recently, “Barbara, you’re just going to have to teach the world to think like engineers since we can’t seem to communicate very well.”

Ah, forehead slap 🤦🏻‍♀️ and eye roll 🙄.

I help professionals communicate clearly so they win work, attract employees, and grow their firms.

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