Level-Up by Dumbing Down

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Moving up the professional ladder requires nimbleness. Yet many would-be SVPs and CEOs miss the mark by hanging onto their technical roots too long.

What do I mean? I watch very capable people hide behind the technical jargon of their business. Getting these up-and-comers to explain something without a post-graduate thesaurus in hand is next to impossible.

You don’t have to sound like the smartest guy in the room to be the smartest guy in the room.

Very commanding C-suite leaders explain themselves in very simple terms. Using plain language is not talking down to anyone. Rather it is creating an open door for clear understanding.

It’s one thing to have mastered a very complex subject matter, like medicine, quantum physics, fluid mechanics or engineering, but it is something very different to be selected a leader in the field.

During my years as a CEO, I observed that people who are confident in their knowledge wouldn’t hesitate to share it with others in terms that are easily understood. Whereas, people who attempt to talk over people’s heads through the use of overly complex terms and descriptions were typically those who lack a true understanding of the subject themselves and are trying to mask that fact.

It was Albert Einstein who said; “If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Too often, people over-complicate things in business in an attempt to display their intelligence. In reality, they end up pushing people away and ultimately losing credibility. They come off as an elitist, rather than a team player. Truly intelligent people are not afraid to share their knowledge because they don’t view other people gaining knowledge as a threat to their own. Rather, they take pleasure in sharing and teaching others. As a result, they become builders of people, and they contribute tremendously to a company’s overall success.

“Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.” C. W. Ceran

Keep it simple

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Keep it simple, stupid.” The truth is that keeping it simple requires confidence and humility. We can all benefit if we can recognize that we don’t have to talk like a super genius to be seen as intelligent. There is a tremendous genius in our ability to keep it simple.  Don’t ever forget that many of the world’s most difficult problems have been solved with the simplest solutions.

Question: How is your communication style?