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The power of simple, concrete, and positive language

12 May 2023

Discover the impact of simple, precise, and positive language in achieving swift and efficient interactions.

We at Athiya believe that soft skills are invaluable to business success. In this issue, our focus is on one of the most in-demand soft skills in any job: communication skills, more specifically the language we use in day-to-day spoken and written interactions. Three of the characteristics of effective business communication are simplicity, concreteness, and positivity.

If you follow the habit of using complicated and abstract words to make a great impression, it is mostly because you are inclined to think that complicated words make you seem more intelligent or sophisticated. However, you might not realize that your choice of words may take its toll on the meaning of your message and leave your audience confused about what you are trying to say. Today, plain language is seen as a necessity because simple words are easy to understand and lead to swift and efficient communication.

The debate on word choice is not a new occurrence. Following a disagreement about vocabulary choice, Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway, known for his simple and natural use of language, wrote, “He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.”

Another aspect of effective communication is the use of concise and precise wording. Professional writing should not be ambiguous. Overly general terms may be interpreted in different ways, thus making the intent of your message unclear. Vague terms also include clichés and overused expressions. Precise words and phrases anticipate and answer questions that your readers or listeners may have.

Just as importantly, using positive language can have a big effect on the overall tone of your message. Positive language is supportive and encouraging, focuses on what can be done as opposed to what cannot be done, contains words that are non-discriminatory and convey pleasant associations, and suggests alternatives and choices.

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