One of the secrets to successful speaking is simplicity. But simplicity is not always “simple” to achieve, because the more one is an expert on a subject, the more he tends to repeat that “it’s not that simple.”
Yet, the act of simplifying is “supreme sophistication,” as Leonardo da Vinci said. Simplifying your remarks makes it possible to address everyone and boosts audience approval. The reflex to simplify is the hallmark of leaders.
So being simple is good, but how can you avoid falling into the opposite pitfall of being “simplistic” and popularizing your remarks to an extreme? It is true that a balance can be found and that any simplification may not be the best way to go. So, how can we simplify correctly?
Here are 3 tips to simplify… but not too much!
- Keep the essentials: Sort through your ideas. Don’t get lost in the details. Don’t fall into the trap of over-justifying yourself, at the risk of losing track of your ideas. The same goes for your slides where your leitmotif should be: “simplify to amplify.” The beauty in simplification is that by getting rid of the unnecessary, we strengthen the impact of our ideas, which is anything but simplistic!
- In search of the right word: Being simple is also being accurate. By continually searching for the right word and the right sentence you’ll strengthen the impact of your thoughts and you’ll accompany your audience, step by step, in understanding complex topics. Always ask yourself what is the most efficient phrase to express an idea so that it can be understood without being betrayed.
- Vary the different levels of semantics: Vary the enjoyment between anecdotes, analogies, rules and concepts. Depending on your audience and the message you want to convey, varying helps heighten your audience’s attention and identify the best level of speech to use.