We have all heard the phrase, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Saying what you mean is not always as easy as we would like to think, particularly when speaking to children, anyone with low auditory processing, or people with whom we have an emotional attachment. Communication, the foundation upon which we all interact, is obviously vital and very often seriously compromised.
Terin Izil, in her TedEd presentation, addresses the need to use words that simply communicate the intention. As Terin says, simpler words can often make it easier to say what you mean—so-that-it-is-understood. It doesn’t help a lot that you felt you had said what you meant, if what you said was misunderstood or just flew over someone’s head. Parents and teachers often feel that the more words they use, the more they are communicating and helping children understand what they mean. The opposite is generally the reality. Don’t overestimate other people’s processing ability, particularly your child’s. Keep it simple.
On the other hand, I watched the Republican Presidential Debates on CNN last night, and I think it would have been a really good idea to give potential presidents more than 30 or 60 seconds to explain how they would defend the country, build the economy, and turn the nation around. Some things do require more words; but as displayed last night, some understand the issues better than others and can articulate them better than others. If you really understand what you are saying, you can state your thoughts clearly, succinctly, and in plain language, but it still might take more than 60 seconds. We need more than good sound bites and catchy one-liners.
I will have more to say on this subject in an upcoming article.