Use Language to Express — Not to Impress

Words, words, words. The dictionary is packed with them. But do you have to use them all?

A youngster asked his teacher, "When is the best time to see the moon?"

The teacher replied, "A skilled envigilator can best observe the lunar surface in that stage of the earth's rotation during which the interference of solar illumination is minimized."

The teacher could have said, "Look for the moon at night."

Business has no time for long or fuzzy words. Effective business communication is built on simple, but hard hitting words. Every word must convey a precise meaning that is understood in the same way by sender and receiver. To speak and write like a pro, use short, simple words and avoid unnecessarily complicated sentences. Avoid teflon words—words that are so over-used they just don’t stick—words like solution, and value-added.

Of course, all words have specific meanings. However, some words are more specific than others. Avoid pretension and use those "more" specific words to speak and write vigorously. Use shirtsleeve English to be sure that you and your audience are on the same wave length. It’s that simple—and that’s smart.