If you can convey complex messages to ten year olds and win back enthused responses, you’ve likely connected with the kind of zip that sets meaning into gold casings for the rest of us. Check out 106 ways to become a master connector.
In spite of what we tell ourselves, jargon is rarely if ever necessary if you think about it. Not that clear communication’s easy, or that lucid language leaps into place without some struggles. It’s just that clutter – or alien words build unnecessary barriers, and work against even high impact minds.
Check out recent facts from the brain sciences that foster clarity. The human brain’s hardwired, for instance, to latch onto familiar parts of any message communicated, in order to pound new neuron pathways toward meaning in that message. Clear communication links what you already know to what stirs curiosity in your brain. See the mental synergy created here to chase and absorb complex skills? In contrast, jargon breaks any exchange and risks meaningless circles that go nowhere.
Jargon stops clarity, robs understanding, implies exclusion, and sends overtones of pretentiousness. Yet we delude ourselves into thinking it’s necessary when we speak in our own area of expertise. Read any PhD thesis – including mine – and you’ll see what I mean.
Some people speak of “dumbing down” a message, when they really mean making their bright ideas simpler so that people they assume to be dumber than them, can understand. Yikes! Spot any arrogance here?
Others speak of jargon as essential for bright ideas that engage people of only highest intelligence, when they really show lack of skill to engage diverse thinkers, who may need a few basic facts illumined, to catch deeper meanings.
Here are five brain based questions that leapfrog over jargon, and promote richer communications:
1. What would your idea look like if we had one?
2. How does your insight improve one practice we currently do?
3. If your idea was written into a play what would appear on the stage?
4. How would this design be worded for a 10 year old to apply it?
5. What exactly would result if your proposal was lost to the world?
Intelligence that’s rarely engaged in circular constructions or projected by jargon, springs into life when words connect dendrite brain cells in high performance minds. C.S. Lewis claimed that not many do this well, and he showed how deep meanings – communicated well – involve simplicity beyond complexity. Those who share deep ideas in understandable lingo, though, will rarely tell you that jargon’s useful in any exchange.
What do you think? Could you covert a complex concept from your field into a dynamic topic that generates a ten year old’s curiosity? If so, why not share it here with that same sense of wonder that builds clarity without jargon.