Clarity: A Matter of THOUGHT-Talk
... is a matter of Thought, and then Talk. It is a clear mind that gives rise to clear wording. It is almost humorous how the drift in the culture is that we all commonly know something clearly, but can’t find the words to explain it. Sure, maybe with love or the beauty of a sunset over the Pacific Ocean we can’t find the words, but when it comes to explaining why we should add staff to a department, we surely must understand the reasons in order to articulate them.
Clear Thought – Clear Talk
When you see someone giving a garbled rationale for a decision, you are not seeing a clear thinker expressing words in a sloppy way. Instead you are seeing a garbled thinker expressing his thoughts accurately!
Wittgenstein gives us a couple of points for reflection here:
- Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. – Ludwig Wittgenstein
- If a lion could talk, we could not understand him. – Ludwig Wittgenstein
It’s pretty plain, isn’t it? If you can’t say it you don’t know it. If you don’t know it, you can’t say it. Since we think in words we actually can explain what we are thinking with the words we have to make up the thought. If you don’t have the words, you don’t have the thought. Now, this makes clarity a profound thing…unless we are clear first in our Thought, we have no chance of being clear in our Talk.
Clear Terms – Fewer Terms
Clarity is essential in communication because it is all about something being easily understood. Clarity is also normally easy to remember as well. Often opposites clear up our misunderstandings by way of contrast. When we think about something being unclear it normally involves either poor definition or simply too many elements to make sense of the information. If you want to guarantee clarity in communication, then you will want to pay careful attention to two simple aims:
- Use clearly understood terms or define the terms
- Use as few terms as possible
Try those two simple principles in your writing or speaking today and note the difference. You will likely see that practicing just those two ideas, you will be thinking about your communication more and therefore, speaking about your topic with greater clarity.