I had an interesting conversation with my five-year-old son over the holiday. He asked me to explain something about sailing (which, of course, made his Dad smile). He doesn’t yet know how to sail on his own, but I’ve taken him out many times, and he loves it. He talks about boats all the time, and always has a question about why something is the way it is. He’s inquisitive, which I love.
So he asked me a question, although it is not important to the story what the question really was. Rather, what is important is that I had a hard time explaining the answer to him in a way he would actually understand. On my first attempt… “Daddy, I don’t understand. Can you try again?”
On my second attempt… “Daddy, simpler please.”
And so on… finally on my fourth attempt, I made it simple enough for Zach to say “OK, Daddy… I get it now. Thank you!”
The point of the story is this. No matter whether you are speaking to a five-year-old boy or a fifty-year-old professional, there is an art and significant value in being able to explain things in simple ways. Everyone in the professional world can give you the complicated answer. But only a select few have the skill to take the complicated issue and explain it in a form simple enough to be understood.
If you want competitive advantage in the workplace in 2015, work on being the person who can explain things in simple ways. Your colleagues will love you for it. (And so will your children…)
Have a great day.
Photo by Timothy Valentine used under the following license.
I have to agree with you .Simpler the better
Fully agree Dr.Dean. When talked with my 6-year-old daughter, we must use the simplest way to make it more clear.
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