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Clear communication is revelation work

Some things are hard to understand and even harder to explain. Which is a real problem when this thing is your idea and it has the potential to change something for the better.

Yet, you’re so deeply expert in that field that it’s hard to find simple language. The Curse of Knowledge has its mighty grip firmly wrapped around you: the more you know about a thing, the harder it gets to speak about it in simple terms.

Here’s what happens in many companies at that point:

Meetings are scheduled to figure it out. Long meetings, in fact. Also, PowerPoints are produced. Whiteboards are filled. Heated discussions about the implications of saying “X” vs “Y” erupt. Opinions clash … until … finally … they settle with a compromise that everyone can (only) kind of live with.

The one thing that they didn’t do was speak with their audience. Start a conversation. Figure out what language the audience uses. Check how they really understand what you say. Validate your assumptions. Cross-check them over many conversations.

Clear communication is much more revelation work than it is creative work. It starts with valid data.

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