Simple Communications

by Zig Ziglar

When I entered the sales world, one of the first things my manager taught me was to keep my presentation so clear and uncluttered that a child could understand what I was saying. This advice has had a lasting impact on my life. I frequently remind my audiences that I speak and write at the seventh grade, ninth month level. I do this because I’ve discovered that at that level virtually everyone can clearly understand the message–even college professors! I include college professors because they’re real people, and they, too, deserve to understand.

As my friend, Dr. Steve Franklin, a college professor from Emory University who taught me this, said, “The great truths in life are the simple ones. You do not need three moving parts and four syllables for it to be significant.” He then pointed out that “there are only three pure colors–but look what Michelangelo did with them. There are only seven notes, but look at what Chopin, Beethoven and Vivaldi did with them. For that matter, look at what Elvis did with two!”

Most of us prefer things we can understand. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is short and clear with nearly 80 percent of the words only one syllable. “God is love”–three words, all of them one syllable.

Seriously, now, when you ask someone what they had for breakfast, would you really appreciate it if they responded that they had the “upper part of a hog’s hind leg, with two oval bodies encased in a shell laid by a female bird?” Or would you prefer to have the person answer, “We had ham and eggs for breakfast”?

And remember, language changes. At one time we referred to a person who spread rumors around the office as a “gossip.” Now that person is called an “information specialist.” Personally, I prefer simple, clear, direct communications. I’m convinced that most people do. Keep your communications “simple,” and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

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