Clear Language Gets Under Your Skin

16 September 2022

By Linda Ferguson

What do you do when you want someone to remember what you tell them? You might be giving instructions or motivating someone to take a next step. If people don’t remember what you’ve said, they are much less likely to take action.

Many people will talk about the need to make your ideas clear. But they mostly don’t explain that what is clear to human brains corresponds to lived experience. Your brain didn’t evolve for ideas: it evolved to keep you living. Living means experiencing life through your senses and your physiology.

Clear language gets under your skin and opens your eyes and ears. If you want people to take action, this is where you need their attention to be. You need them to mentally rehearse the action they will take and that means instructing them what they will notice as they do it.

They’ll remember it if they have walked through it. They’ll do it, if they agree with you. Agreement is the second essential. It doesn’t come from fancy language patterns or scripts. It comes from your genuine willingness to find common ground with people you want to influence. If you want want agreement, begin by giving agreement.

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