Lost in Translation: Why Clear Communication Matters (and How to Get It Right)
5 minutes
Strategic Insights

The Case of the Missing Daycare Pickup

Let’s rewind to yesterday morning. I’m sipping my coffee, scrolling through emails, and the kids happily giggling through their cartoons. Then, like a rogue plot twist in a sitcom, my husband strolled in, nonchalantly dropping a seemingly harmless bomb: ‘I have that meeting out of town today, I’ll be home late.” Unbeknownst to me, nestled within that seemingly innocuous sentence was a hidden message, “Hey guess what? You need to pick up the kids from daycare because I won’t be there!”

Fast forward to 5:30 pm as I’m packing up at work when reality comes crashing down that I need to get 45 minutes across town before daycare closes in 30 minutes. Cue the mad dash home, the apologetic phone calls, and the general feeling of being a colossal parenting fail.


From Daycare Disasters to Marketing Mix-Ups

This (admittedly hilarious) miscommunication got me thinking. How often do we, in our personal and professional lives, fall victim to similar misunderstandings? We send emails riddled with jargon, craft marketing messages that sound like someone spilled a thesaurus all over the keyboard, and don’t tell our audiences exactly what we want them to do next. And just like my “traveling husband” situation, the consequences can range from minor annoyances to full-blown disasters.

Think about it:

  • In sales: You pitch a product with endless features and benefits, leaving the customer drowning in a sea of information and unable to make a decision.
  • In marketing: You write a blog post with a clickbait headline and a rambling, meandering narrative that sends readers fleeing for the hills.
  • Even in relationships: You express your feelings vaguely, hoping your partner will somehow magically intuit what you’re trying to say, leading to frustration and resentment.


The Cure for Confusion: Use Story to Simplify Your Communication

Using ancient storytelling techniques to simplify your communication is a way to cut through the noise, ditch the ambiguity, and ensure your message lands with the clarity and impact it deserves. Last year I attended classes to become a Business Made Simple Coach. A portion of the certification was training on Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process, a framework that helps craft compelling narratives that resonate with our audience.

Imagine communication as a hero’s journey. Your audience is the hero, facing a challenge (whether it’s making a purchase decision, solving a problem, or simply understanding your point). You, the communicator, are their guide, leading them through the obstacles and towards their happy ending.

Here are some key principles to keep in mind:

Clarify the villain: Who or what is standing in the way of your audience’s success? Identify the obstacle they need to overcome, whether it’s a competitor, a bad habit, or simply uncertainty.

Emphasize the hero’s desire: What does your audience truly want? Tap into their deepest needs and aspirations and show them how you can help them achieve those desires.

Craft a clear call to action: Tell your audience exactly what you want them to do next. Whether it’s visiting your website, buying a specific product, or simply taking a moment to reflect, make sure your call to action is specific and actionable.


Create Clarity by staying away from the Jargon Jungle: Examples of Before-and-After Messaging

Let’s see how the approach can transform confusing jargon into clear communication. Here is a message makeover example:


Headline: “Revolutionary AI-powered data analytics platform for enhanced business optimization and streamlined workflow efficiency!”

Body: “Our cutting-edge technology harnesses the power of machine learning algorithms to extract actionable insights from your Big Data, enabling you to achieve unparalleled productivity and profitability. Don’t miss out on the future of data-driven decision-making!”


Headline: “Feeling overwhelmed by data? Get actionable insights in minutes with our AI-powered analytics tool.”

Body: “Stop drowning in spreadsheets. Imagine making better business decisions, faster. Our simple tool turns your data into clear, actionable steps to boost your productivity and profits. Try it free today!”

See the difference? The first message bombards us with buzzwords and technical jargon, leaving us feeling lost and confused. The second message, however, speaks directly to our pain points (feeling overwhelmed by data) and offers a clear solution (actionable insights) in a simple and engaging way.


The Takeaway: Speak Clearly, Be Heard Loudly

In a world overflowing with information, the ability to communicate clearly is the difference between being lost in a sea of noise and making a meaningful impact. Remember, clear communication isn’t about sounding fancy or using the biggest words. It’s about delivering your message in a way that resonates quickly and directly with your audience.

Think back to my daycare debacle. If my husband had simply said, “Honey, I need you to pick up the kids tomorrow,” the whole situation could have been avoided. That’s the power of clear communication – it prevents misunderstandings, builds trust, and ultimately, helps us connect on a deeper level.

So, whether you’re a parent navigating the complexities of family life, a professional striving to make your mark, or simply someone who wants to be better understood, remember the importance of clear communication, embrace simplicity, and tell your story with clarity and purpose.


My Clear Call to Action

As a certified Business Made Simple Coach and CLM’s Strategy Director, I offer workshops and training sessions for businesses looking to simplify their approach to sales, marketing, and communication. If your team struggles with focus, simplicity, or getting everyone on the same page, contact us and we can set up a training package that helps outline a clear communication path.

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