When communicating, keep it simple


Sometimes when we communicate, we have a tendency to elaborate on every minute details. Personally, I often made this error in the past as well. I do this because I want the listener to receive the message in one go. However, I realise that we lose precision in the process of communicating.

Let’s have a look at two forms of dialogue on the same topic.  For this scenario, let’s just consider a student Peter inviting his friend George to his birthday. The first form of dialogue is as follows:

“Hi George, are you free on the 21st of November? I have a birthday coming up and I will like to invite you to the party. It kind of starts at 1pm but I will be receiving guests around 12pm. Preparation starts in the morning at 7am. Some of our friends are coming but I do not know when. I will like you to join my birthday party. Can you make it?”

After hearing this invite from Peter, I am sure George will go “Huh?”.  I will too. What about yourself?

The reason this approach does not work is because there is a lack of precision and accuracy in Peter’s speech. It’s not to the point, although all the details are there. George will probably be wondering about the following:

  • When is the exact time that I should turn up?
  • Is 21st November a weekday or a weekend?
  • Some friends of ours are coming. Who are they?
  • Is George asking for my help in his preparation for his birthday party implicitly?
  • Where is his place (assuming that George does not know Peter’s home address)?

It is confusing and George will in turn need to ask specific questions that will be rather time-consuming.

 The second approach is better. Here it goes:

“Hi George, I am having a birthday party on 21st November, which falls on a Friday. I will be receiving guests at 1pm. Joshua, Mary and Jane will be coming. My residential address is 15 Bolington Road. And do not forget my present. Haha! Just kidding! So, will you be there?”

This approach is better simply because it is precise and the listener can get the message easily. However, it should be emphasised that to speak in such a precise manner requires planning before making the call. So, it’s advisable to pen our thoughts on paper in point forms (preferable in the right order) before dialing that number.

 When it comes to communication, simple is better.


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