What’s the cost of unclear communication?
If you asked this question to Pepsi executives in 1996, they would have said $33 million.
Yes, in 1996, a man named John Leonard sued Pepsi over a commercial that promised a harrier jet worth 33 million US dollars.
Well, the whole lawsuit was based on a lack of clarity in Pepsi’s commercial tagline.
When it comes to effective communication, one aspect that stands above all: clarity.
Clarity is incredibly important in business communication.
You need to make sure your message is clear and easy to understand while communicating with colleagues, clients, or customers. Clarity in communication helps to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts that can be costly in terms of time, money, and reputation.
In this blog, we will explore five reasons why clarity is the most important aspect of effective communication. And how it can make a significant difference in our lives.
So, let’s dive in.
📎 5 Reasons Why Clarity Is Important in Communication?
1. Provides Guidance
2. Defines Purpose
3. Engages Listeners
4. Enables Persuasion
5. Avoids Misinterpretations
What is Clarity in Communication?
Clarity in communication means ensuring what you say is easy to understand for others. Clear communication encompasses not only clarity of speech but also clarity of message, intent, and context.
It means that the language, vocabulary, tone, and context are clear and straightforward, without any confusion or ambiguity among listeners.
By following the principle of clarity, we can build better relationships, foster understanding, and achieve success in our communication.
"If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself." - Albert Einstein
There are many factors that can make clear & concrete communication hard, such as:
- Language barriers: It’s difficult to convey your message accurately if your listener speaks a different language.
- Cultural differences: Different communication styles and norms across cultures make achieving clarity difficult.
- Emotional factors: Our emotions affect how we communicate. You may find it hard to express yourself clearly when you are upset or angry.
- Technical jargon: In some fields, there is a lot of technical jargon that makes it hard for non-experts to understand.
- Distractions: Digital distractions, such as notifications and social media, can interfere with our ability to focus on communication.
- Poor Communication skills: Lack of clarity can also result from poor communication skills, such as speaking too fast, using too many filler words, or failing to organize our thoughts before speaking or writing.
Now that we understand the meaning of clarity let’s see why it is the number one aspect among the 7 c's of communication.
1. Clarity Provides Guidance
The term "clarity" is derived from the Latin word "clarus," which means "clear," and this is precisely what clear communication aims to achieve.
In today's communication environments, there is often an overload of information. People are bombarded with messages from various sources, including social media, email, and text messages.
But communication can often be meaningless if it’s not clear. Additionally, there is often incorrect information, news, and data being circulated via social media platforms.
People will ignore messages that are ambiguous or confusing, and as a result, the intended message can be lost. If you can’t hold people’s attention, you can’t be a good presenter.
The clarity in your message ensures it stands out and is understood.
This allows the listener to make informed decisions based on the information provided, leading to better outcomes.
For example, if the manager communicates the project goals clearly to the team, the team will have a clear understanding of what is expected of them.
This clarity provides guidance and direction for the team, allowing them to work towards the project's objectives more efficiently.
2. Clarity Defines Purpose
When you communicate with clarity, you can clearly convey your goals and intentions to your listeners. This is particularly important in business, where your purpose is defined by your ambitions, actions, plans, and principles.
Clarity of speech ensures that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives.
For example, if your ambition is to make your company a leader in our industry, then you need to be clear in communicating this ambition to your employees, customers, and partners. You need to explain how you plan to achieve it and what actions you will take to make it a reality.
Now, this requires clear and effective communication that aligns with your values and principles.
If the message is not clear, team members may not fully comprehend the company's objectives, leading to confusion.
Finally, our principles and values play a key role in defining our purpose and communicating it to others. We need to be clear in communicating our values, such as integrity, honesty, and transparency, to ensure that we build trust and credibility with our stakeholders.
3. Clarity Engages Listeners
Clear communication captures the attention of your audience. It makes it easy for them to follow along with your message.
This is crucial when you are presenting complex information. People lose interest and stop caring if they find themselves struggling to understand your speech. They will tune out.
Clarity and simplicity in communication relieve your listeners of the burden of interpretation.
Imagine you are attending a lecture on a complex topic like quantum physics.
If the speaker uses jargon and technical terms that you are not familiar with, it can be difficult to follow along with their message. However, if they use clear, concise language that explains the concepts in simple terms, it becomes easier to understand and engage with the topic.
And when you engage your listeners, they are more likely to remember your message and act on it.
Simplicity is a powerful tool that helps to enhance the effectiveness of communication.
4. Clarity Enables Persuasion
Persuasion is an important principle of business communication. **Clear and concise communication plays a huge role in acquiring the ability to persuade others.
Whether it’s convincing your team members to meet deadlines, negotiating a deal, or convincing customers to buy a product or service. Clear and concise messaging is key to achieving your objectives.
Clarity helps to ensure that your message is understood. And your audience can see the benefits of taking action.
Trust and credibility are critical for effective persuasion. People will trust you if they believe in your speech. And people will believe you if they clearly understand your arguments.
A confusing message makes persuasion difficult. This can result in missed opportunities, lost sales, and other negative consequences for our business.
On the other hand, better persuasion with clear communication can lead to greater productivity, improved morale, and better results for our business.
5. Clarity Avoids Misinterpretations
Unclear communication has a greater risk that your message will be misunderstood or misinterpreted, which can lead to mistakes, conflicts, or even failures.
Your audience may make assumptions and draw their own conclusion, as happened in the Pepsi lawsuit mentioned in the beginning.
For example, imagine that you are giving instructions to a colleague at work. If your instructions are not clear, your colleague may not understand and may end up doing the task incorrectly. This can result in wasted time and resources, as well as frustration for both you and your colleague.
There are higher chances of misunderstanding while communicating under stress.
One way to test the clarity of our message is to use a simple exercise.
First, share one sentence with no less than ten words and no more than 15 with a person or group.
Then ask them to repeat it back to you verbatim.
If they can recall the message exactly, then your message was clear and easy to understand.
If not, try to simplify and bring more clarity to your message, still keeping it concise.
This helps to reduce misinterpretation and failure in communication, leading to better outcomes and more effective communication.
Clear communication is essential in every aspect of life, from personal relationships to business transactions. Without clarity, misunderstandings can occur, trust can be lost, and resources can be wasted.
Therefore, it is important to make a conscious effort to communicate clearly in all situations. This means taking the time to choose the right words, providing context and background information where necessary, and checking for understanding.
Though the responsibility for clarity in communication is always on the communicator, it is equally important for a listener to ensure clarity in communication.
It’s essential to actively engage in the communication process and seek clarification when needed. This means asking questions, paraphrasing the message, and seeking feedback.
Lastly, it's essential to work on improving your communication and language skills, including public speaking, to communicate clearly. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will become in expressing your thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely.
One way to improve your communication skills is to get a personal coach.
A personal communication expert helps you target your specific issues, such as grammar, vocabulary, public speaking, confidence, tonality, etc.
BBR English is a great platform to ensure personalized learning through live 1:1 interactive sessions. You’ll learn and practice techniques of effective communication from experts with corporate experience. A supportive environment and timely feedback help you accelerate your learning process and feel more confident.
Start your journey to clear communication by booking a counseling session with us today.
And join the hundreds of effective communicators who wrote their own success stories.
Thank you for reading.
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