Lack of Clarity Undermines Leadership
I try to use clarity and simplicity interchangeably here to convey a simple point.
I have had the great challenge of working with leaders who obfuscate and adulterate (see what I did there?) their own messaging and I’ve wondered why. To sound pompous? Smart? knowledgeable? Credible? Likely all of those things and more. Sometimes it’s simply etched out of insecurity or arrogance. Who knows.
Help Leaders be Better.
Strong leaders are clear. Consistent. Pragmatic. When delivering key messages about success, challenge or change; staff, stakeholders and shareholders don’t remember the complex. And that may be quite intentional but it’s not effective. It generates distrust internally and skepticism externally.
As an example I worked with a leader once who gave a keynote address with all the ‘right players’ in the audience. I brought along a journalist to cover it as it was his beat. The leader spoke for 45 mins – way over the alloted time. I turned to the journalist and said ‘wow, wasn’t that great?’ (as optimistically as I could). He said to me “I’ve covered this beat for 10 years, and I don’t know what the presenter was saying. And I don’t think they did either.” No coverage. Not just then… ever. Credibility burned.
I have a long way to go before I can make any claims to be a good writer, let alone one who can write or present with simplicity clarity. I know I’m not alone however. I think often it comes from a lack of preparation. A true understanding of the audience – a major communications faux pas. Or an insatiable need to be ‘smart’ or the most credible voice in the room. So when a colleague of mine posted this to Facebook, I had to post. It is a great guide to reviewing your work and helping to write with improved clarity (below).
If you need more – check this quick YouTube post – its not specific to communications but it get’s to the point, quickly. As you would expect.