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Message received and understood: the power of simple communication

January 4, 2013

Regular readers will know that I bang on about the importance of keeping your messages simple when you want others to really get it. It seems to me we attempt to make things ever more complex and potentially confusing. Take the recent fiscal cliff fiasco in the USA; managing an economy is not a simple business, and therefore helping your people understand the realities can be difficult. Really? Of course, it may be that different motives drive people to add complexity to their messages.

I follow a financial bulletin board and saw this great post from a fellow user called Orslega.

Fiscal Cliff explained……

Lesson 1:

U.S. Tax Revenue: £2,170,000,000,000

Federal Budget: £3,820,000,000,000

New Debt: £1,650,000,000,000

National Debt: £14,271,000,000,000

Recent Budget cuts: £38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:

Annual family income: £21,700

Money the family spent: £38,200

New debt on the credit card:£16,500

Outstanding balance on the credit card: £142,710

Total budget cuts so far: £385

Got it?…. OK now…

Lesson 2

Here’s another way of looking at the Debt Ceiling:

Let’s say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your street… and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings. What do you think you should do? Raise the ceiling or remove the sewage?

Your message makes so much more sense when it is simply compared to something that you already understand.

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Richard Lock

Management trainer, presenter, speaker and facilitator.

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