When you have something to say, say it in a way that makes it easy for people to understand you.

Lack of clarity causes problems

If you leve things unclear or ambiguous some people might just ignore the rest of you message.

Opportunity lost.

Or they will ask clarifying questions.

More work for you.

And if your communication lag is significant (e.g. communicating across time-zones) the added delay might be costly too.

Or worst of all: they might act on their incorrect understanding.

Get ready for problems later.

Make things clear, unambiguous and easy to digest

1) Loyal readers of will be familiar with this: make your communication CCM – Concrete, Concise and Meaningful (to your intended audience).

2) Use simple words and grammatical structures:

  • Instead of “indicate” write “show”
  • Instead of “perform” write “do”
  • Instead of “optimal” write “best”

Test your writing using the Hemmingway app.
(This article gets a “School grade 4 level, good” where a lower grade means easier to understand).

3) Write as if you were talking to your colleagues. As Kathy Sierra put it “Conversational writing kicks formal writing’s ass

4) Use headlings & lists to make things skimmable. Start with the most important point. Make details available but not required for people to get the main point. as appropriate. That applies to the message as a whole as well as each part.

5) Make references concrete. If you’re talking about an external resource link to it. Avoid context-dependent references like “they”, “that”, “those”. They non-obvious references are a common cause of misunderstandings and at best require additional efort to untangle.

Clear writing will save you time (and pain)

If you build a habit of writing clearly and make it easy for people to understand:

  • you will save time on clarifications,
  • you will suffer fewer unpleasant surprises,
  • and people will correctly assume your thinking is as clear as your writing.

What do you think? Is it worth some deliberate practice?