An old post (Whoops! Wasn’t an old post, it was from yesterday!) from Steve Rubel’s Micropersuasion turned me on to The Monster Blog. They’ve got a great post today called Speak Simply to Impress, which is primarily about the old saying that the mark of true intelligence is being able to express complex ideas in simple, everyday language. The physicist Richard Feynman was a master at this art. His lectures on physics are still models of how to express complex ideas in regular language.
Anyway, back to The Monster Blog. They made a reference in today’s post about a BS generator…a good reference point for how not to speak. I think a good exercise would be to grab about ten of the BS phrases from the generator and practice turning them into simple language. Kinda like this:
- "productize compelling applications" becomes "offer useful applications"
- "incentivize mission-critical initiatives" becomes "help people work better"
- "e-enable proactive mindshare" becomes…ok, I don’t know what that means.