“The words that you use to say something are as important as the decision to speak.”
Remember the movie Amar Akbar Anthony and its famous song “My name is Anthony Gonsalvis.” Over the years I have heard people sing or hum its catchy lyrics. While most of us remember the song well, I have yet to meet someone who can sing the very first lines of it, which goes as:
“We want a wonderful wow, wait wait wait…you see the whole country of the system is just the position by the haemoglobin in the atmosphere because you are sophisticated retoration intoxicated by the exuberance of your own BLAH BLAH BLAH…”
Ever wonder why? It’s because most of us don’t know what exactly is being said, in other words the lyrics is complicated and though our brain and mind remembers the song it simply rejects the beginning, because it is knotty for most to comprehend.
This is what we do in everyday life as well. We unconsciously reject the complicated. And that is why we must choose our words carefully if we want to make a difference or simply connect with each other. The key to this “choice of connection” is to use simple words.
Winston Churchill said, “Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and old words when short are the best of all.” We are living in a ‘wired, social media and mobile’ phone world where the use of ‘concise and simple’ words is at a premium. Usage of words that can be easily understood by one and all will more effectively drive home your point with ease of clarity. For example, “This memorandum is to make you cognizant of and imperative the use of telephonic and electronic communication instead of personal visitations” can be simply put as, “This memo is to make you aware that you should use telephone and e-mails as much as possible instead of making personal visits.” Here, it is also important to bear in mind that the language we use may not be the native lingo for all our listeners and readers – it may very well be their second language.
As a writer I believe in using unadorned words in my language; words that should be easily and clearly understood. I feel that use of simple words makes reading or listening to what is being said a pleasure, because it leads to an easier, deep and visual connect with the target group who do not have to bother looking up a dictionary to find the meaning of a fancy word. Try impressing your friends and family members with expressions or words that are difficult to grasp and you will immediately observe that you have lost them.
In the world of business, marketing, advertising, technology and public relations, the challenge is to break and present complex ideas and concepts to consumers in a manner that is engaging – done best with the “power of simple and clear” words. The old English proverb “Use soft words and hard argument” is a gentle reminder to keep it short and simple.
Please remember that using simple words does not mean that you are not as “expression savvy” as those who prefer using “lofty” words to communicate their opinion. It simply means that you have a better connect with your reader, audience or stakeholders. You may please hold George E. Buckle’s pertinent words close to your chest – “To simplify complications is the first essential of success.”