How to profit from Mark Twain’s take on clear speaking
The trouble is that, in many cases, we lack very lucid thoughts. The world is complicated, and it takes a great deal of mental effort to understand even one facet of the whole.
Until you experience an epiphany, it’s better to heed Mark Twain: “If you have nothing to say, say nothing.”
Simplicity is the zenith of a long, arduous journey, not the starting point”.
The above passage is from the book I’ve been mining of late, The Art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli.
In many of my posts, I’ve belaboured the ‘Simplicity sells’ message. It’s one cornerstone of my work with clients.
But I think you’ll agree an alternative message – ‘Verbosity rules’ – still reigns in the corporate world.
Here’s a further message from Dobelli’s book, “He (Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric) once said in an interview: “You would not believe how difficult it is to be simple and clear. People are afraid that they may be seen as a simpleton. In reality, just the opposite is true.”
Regarding simplicity, former foreign minister of Australia, Bob Carr, had a telling mantra (when I interviewed him for my CD ‘Choice Voice’): ‘When in doubt, strike it out.’
Here are two former posts on Simplicity sells.
Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post: The next time you think you are rambling, pull out this sentence ‘Let me leave it there’. When you’re in a meeting with your direct reports and unsure if you should talk or not – don’t. You can always interject later.