For anyone, reading and understanding the title of this column is pretty impossible. The reason is plain – I just closed my eyes and pressed random keys, so it makes absolutely no sense to anyone.
Why? Because I wanted to make a clear illustration of my point: If a person doesn’t use words that are clear and easily understood by the reader, then why bother?
Why am I talking about this? Here is my reason. If I write and no one understands my sentences and therefore my thoughts, then I have accomplished nothing. In fact, less than nothing. I have wasted my column space, my time and yours, and insulted you.
I did some online researching today before I started typing, and here are the facts. Today’s average adult in our country reads on an eighth-grade level. Eighth grade. So given this truth, why in the world would I want to use language that exceeds those levels? To impress? To educate? To irritate? To confuse? That would be stupid on my part.
If I am wanting my reader to understand what I am trying to say, then I need to be smart enough to use language we both understand. And yes, I am addressing teachers, ministers, spouses, parents, teens, kids, bosses, and anyone else who needs to communicate with people on this planet.
People, there is no way to understand, teach, agree, obey or argue with you, if you are not communicating plainly. How many jobs have been lost by this problem? How many divorces are on the books? How many teens have been lost to their families? How many companies have gone down the drain? All because the people involved have not communicated well with each other.
Ministers can preach about a relationship with the Creator until they are blue in the face, but if they are not using language that the listener understands, they have accomplished little. Parents can lecture their kids about their bad conduct, their low school grades, and the inevitable consequences until the proverbial cows come home – but if their words don’t convey love, concern, and real discipline, then nothing is accomplished. Except contributing to rebellion on the teen’s part, probably.
Endless books can be written by authors who have a stream of PHDs behind their name, but if their lofty and worthy ideas are not understandable by the reader – then why write? Oh yes, I do know that there are books that have to be written for the waaayyyy-above average reader. Physicians need to educate other doctors on new methods and techniques, ministers need to teach theology to Bible students, college professors have to challenge their students. But that is not the average Joe or Joleen.
The Joes and Joleens of us simply need to make certain we are understood when we are speaking, writing, or conveying with our body language. Otherwise, we are simply blowing hot air, and wasting each other’s time. And risking the harm that comes with miscommunicating.
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