What is the best advice you’ve ever had about effective communication?

An online discussion recently on what was the best bit of advice you’ve ever had about effective communication was a real poser back and forth across the Atlantic.

It was a valuable debate and here’s the top 10 that I took away from the 50+ posts:

  • We write to express, not impress
  • Always know your audience and direct your message to them
  • Never use a 50 cent word when a five cent word will do
  • Ask yourself: ‘Will my mum understand this?’
  • Use the ‘so what?’ test. Ask yourself why your audience would care. If you can’t answer that, you’ve missed the boat
  • Always get another pair of eyes to review your work
  • When in doubt take it out – Einstein said ‘If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself’
  • Identify exactly what you want to accomplish with your message/project etc
  • ‘Don’t eat in the kitchen’ – so if you’ve organised an event, don’t be on the desk handing out badges, be out there with the executive
  • Less is more

My own personal advice would be: ‘Focus on the leave-behinds not the take-aways’. The best communicators are great at learning and gathering information and equally adept at transferring ideas, aligning expectations, inspiring action and spreading their vision. It’s what we leave behind that matters more.

What’s your best bit of advice? What would you add to the list?

By Suzanne Peck, Managing Director of Sequel Group