Do you struggle with being easy-to-understand?

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Have you ever been con­fused when some­one is talk­ing? Have you thought, their lips are mov­ing, but I don’t under­stand any­thing they’re say­ing!

Like you, I’ve had my fair share of con­fus­ing inter­ac­tions with people—from afar and up close. It can be drain­ing. You’re not sure if it’s YOU (not smart enough to under­stand what they’re say­ing), or if they’re just in anoth­er world.

When you “get it”

On the oth­er hand, you’ve had moments when “you get it.” Maybe you can remem­ber a teacher who could always able to explain things in a sim­ple way that helped you tru­ly under­stand.

These genius­es make them­selves acces­si­ble. They speak your lan­guage (or they take the time to fig­ure out how). And it’s almost a sur­prise to you how CLEAR every­thing is. They get your blood pump­ing; your mind engaged. Things click. (I love these moments.)

Everyone wants to be understood

Zig Ziglar said many times in his books and sem­i­nars that “Every­one wants to be RIGHT, and every­one wants to be UNDERSTOOD.” I think he’s right.

I want to be under­stood! Don’t you? When some­one doesn’t under­stand me, that’s frus­trat­ing! I believe you can become eas­i­er to understand—which is a skill that will always be in demand. Here’s how:

Step 1: Immersion.

When I talk to suc­cess­ful experts, they all have some­thing in com­mon: immer­sion. They immerse them­selves in “good research.” They soak them­selves in their sub­ject mat­ter and know it from every angle. They know much more than they need to know, and have mas­tered the skill of know­ing what to leave out.

I’m hes­i­tant to use the word “research” because I’m not sure every­one knows how to con­duct good research. I don’t just mean on the inter­net. I mean in real life. Pri­ma­ry sources. Well-researched books, going on-loca­tion, spend­ing time to col­lect real data. Immer­sion is the first step to becom­ing eas­i­er to under­stand. You must know what you’re talk­ing about—and how oth­ers are talk­ing about it.

Step 2: Attunement. defines attune­ment as being or bring­ing into har­mo­ny; a feel­ing of being “at one” with anoth­er being. When you attune your ears (and eyes) to oth­ers, you get out of your own world and into theirs.

For writ­ing, learn to attune your­self to the read­er. For speak­ing, attune your­self to a per­son lis­ten­ing and watch­ing in the room. For social media, attune your­self to the plat­form and how peo­ple real­ly use it. Learn the behav­iors of peo­ple you’re speak­ing with. (Chances are your favorite teacher knew how to adjust their style to your behav­ior because they were attuned to your age or ten­den­cies.) Learn about per­son­al­i­ties and how peo­ple are wired. This will help you under­stand oth­ers, which will give you the eyes to see how they will receive your infor­ma­tion.

Step 3: Break things down into small pieces.

You will find that when peo­ple are clear, it’s because they’re spe­cif­ic. To get spe­cif­ic, your scope must be defined. You choose to talk about ONE thing and know how to dis­tin­guish it from some­thing else that is close, but not exact­ly what you’re talk­ing about. Tack­le one thing at a time and only com­mu­ni­cate what is need­ed. (Leave the rest out!)

Step 4: Tell short, succinct stories.

Sto­ries are a pow­er­ful way to con­vey infor­ma­tion, but when they’re too long, peo­ple start snor­ing, delet­ing, scrolling, or day­dream­ing. To be easy-to-under­stand, a short sto­ry with a clear point can enlight­en oth­ers. Don’t wor­ry if you have to leave out a lot of the details. The pow­er of a sto­ry isn’t in its length, but its abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate deeply with anoth­er per­son. Use this strate­gi­cal­ly.

Step 5: Don’t fake it.

If you don’t know what you’re talk­ing about—don’t talk about it. It’s OK to say, I need to look into that or that’s a great ques­tion, but I’m not the best per­son to answer that. If you’re try­ing to come across like you know every­thing, guess what, you don’t! Peo­ple can tell when some­one is fak­ing it. So relieve your­self of the pres­sure of hav­ing to “be pro­fes­sion­al” and do what a real pro would do… take the time to immerse your­self before you speak.

Leaving a “communication reputation”

Do you want to have a rep­u­ta­tion for being con­fus­ing... or easy-to-under­stand? Do you want want to cause frus­tra­tion for oth­ers, or be a help­ful resource?

[share­able cite=“Josh Mitchell”]Aim to leave a rep­u­ta­tion of being easy-to-understand.[/shareable]

[reminder]What strate­gies do you use to be easy-to-understand?[/reminder]

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