Pretty or Plain?

I was riding in my car the other day listening to the Catalyst ’08 CD’s.  When I got to the session when Jim Collins (author of Good to Great) spoke, a thought struck me.  It was very profound (to me), and vexing and cumbersome.  I thought…

“Jim Collins is a well-educated man with a robust vocabulary, and he is fantastic communicator!  Do I need a robust vocabulary to be a great communicator?  I’ve known well-educated people with similar calipered vocabularies in different periods of my life, and they don’t even come close to being great communicators like Jim Collins.  So, is vocabulary the key or the stumbling block to great communication?  When should I strive to expand my vocabulary – before or after I improve my communication skills?  Is it easier to become a great communicator with a limited vocabulary?  Do I even need to add to my vocabulary, or will that just hinder the level of communication I have now? ”

Here is my answer (or at least the part I have right now)…

Language is beautiful – in literature, such as novels and poems and prose and short-stories and even in songs.  But Language in communication, such as reports and headlines and blogs and speech and CONVERSATIONS – is just a load of crap!

Another well-educated, communication-conscious guy encouraged me to simplify my communication (still working on it), so does an extensive vocabulary help me do that, or hinder me?

What benefit do I get from having flamboyant speech?

What benefit do I get from listening to flamboyant speech?

And don’t think that I’m saying Jim Collins is wasting his time using big words when he goes to speaking engagements.  I’ve never met him or talked to him, but he probably has a purpose for the way he talks.  But if you think that trying to imitate him (or others like him) and use big words will automatically make you a great communicator, you are sadly mistaken.

So, from now on, don’t talk PRETTY to me, just say it PLAIN!


2 comments on “Pretty or Plain?

  1. pastorrobbiejones says:

    There are two things that I have noticed about great communicators.
    1. They know how to be themselves and they are very comfortable in who God created them to be.

    2. They know their audience. Many times we get so caught up in what is being said that we forget communication also requires hearing and understanding. This is why Jesus used Parables!

    I don’t know Jim Collins either, but his book Good To Great changed my life more than any book I ever read in college or graduate school. The point is – The message got out and most important….I GOT IT! That is communication.

  2. […] not because I want to expand my vocabulary to impress people (see my thought’s on that here).  It’s because being in the medical field I understand the meaning of words like […]

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