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Communication Lesson: Precision is Overrated

Communication Lesson: Precision is Overrated

by Frank Roche on May 19, 2009

in Communication

A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation. — Saki

We work in a field that demands precision. We need to get paychecks right every single time. Same goes for medical benefits. Sick days. STD. When we communicate about those, we need to use exact numbers. However, being overly precise in other aspects of our communications is often what causes huge misunderstandings for employees.

Contrary to what some company lawyers might tell you, capitalizing words doesn’t make them any more powerful or easy to understand. Nor does choosing sentence structures designed to dazzle law professors or our HR colleagues. Communication is about getting across ideas, not wedging every subordinate clause you can think of into your writing.

I’m not advocating being wrong. The communication lesson of the day is that precision is overrated. Get the numbers right, tell the unvarnished truth, and then…communicate. Think about who’s reading what you wrote. If you have people editing materials and they’re not asking themselves about the intended audience, no amount of precision will save them.

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