How to speak with clarity
Even the best script won’t persuade listeners without clear, forceful language: the language of leadership.How can you make sure your audience understands you? Follow these guidelines:
1. Think before you speak. Clarity comes from putting in those hours preparing for a speech, or simply pausing to collect your thoughts before answering a challenging question or speaking up at a meeting.
2. Always be “on message.” The best speakers are always on message, and they back up their contentions with strong supporting arguments. The guidelines for message and structure are important not only for the overall shape of your talk, but also for your paragraphs and sentences. Clarity involves more than simply choosing the right words. The clearest speakers stay on message and present evidence in a well-structured manner.
3. Be precise.Precision is crucial to achieving clarity. It means being exact about expressing your ideas.
4. Be succinct.Clarity also involves expressing your ideas succinctly. Some speakers think that extra words make their arguments clearer. Remember, inside every fat sentence is a thin sentence dying to get out!
5. Make your language appropriate for your audience. Speaking with clarity requires that you have a keen sense of audience. Speakers who know their audience and assess their listeners’ level of expertise can pitch their comments accordingly.
6. Avoid jargon.Jargon is the bane of business,government and professional organizations. It consists of lazy language, inflated terminology and phrases that get repeated so often that they lose their meaning.