Do you talk in clear, simple ways? The most effective communicators all do. Use these tips and make your language a breeze to understand.
Early in my teenage years, I began to learn humor. Mostly I watched late night talk shows and crafted one-liners. I tried longer funny jokes too, but they usually fell flat. The lesson I learned - without realizing at the time - was simple one-line quips usually worked best.
Another early humor realization: obscure humor leaves most people confused. For maximum laughs, choose easy-to-understand humor almost anyone can relate to.
After high school I became a tire salesman. At the start, I'd give lengthy sales pitches with all the features a tire had. I'd ask customers questions like "What are you looking for in a tire?" (since most people don't know much about tires, that question usually got blank stares). My boss noticed this and told me to forget about features and focus on the benefits. The customer doesn't care the tire was laser-etched. He does want to know it grips the road when the streets are wet, or provides a smoother, more comfortable ride. So I switched to my boss's clear, concrete examples, and I sold more.
Next my boss told me to ask how the customer's current tires did for him. And he told me to ask if there was anything the customer wished his tires did better. So I did that, and instead of blank stares I'd get direct answers: "It'd be nice if they'd lasted a little longer." Or "I have trouble with them when it rains." Now that I knew what each customer wanted, it became easier to sell, and I sold more still.
When I began to write sales copy, a friend told me to throw my copy into Hemingway Editor. The editor rates a piece's reading grade level: does it read at a first grade level? A fifth grade level? A tenth grade level?
I'd seen Hemingway before and run my writing through it. Sometimes it came back as "Post-Grad." How intellectual of me! I thought at the time. My friend pointed out this actually meant the writing was hard to read. The higher the grade level, the more challenging the read. Even for the well-read, lower reading level writing is easier to process. My friend mentioned he'd whittled sales copy of his for a finance product down from Grade 8 to Grade 4, and his sales doubled. "If I can explain a complicated finance product in fourth grade language, you can do it for anything," he told me. I became a devotee of the app. I didn't just use it for sales copy; I ran all sorts of writing through it, and used it to make all my writing simpler.
Next I reread Stephen King's On Writing. Suddenly all King's talk of removing adverbs, gerunds, and the word 'that', plus using simple words instead of complex ones stood out. I made all those changes to how I wrote and spoke.
Each step of the way, in every new language-based endeavor I took on, I learned the same lessons. Language works best when it is simple and clear.