Clarity – is it too much to ask for?

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There’s a saying I like – “any fool can make simple things complicated; it takes a genius to make complicated things simple

Communicating clearly can be surprisingly hard work. Clarity of communication drives action. Get it right and the right message is delivered and understood, the expectations are set. Clarity can dictate how we create and build relationships, trust and credibility.

Get it wrong and you have confusion, frustration, and mistrust.

Take, the recent chaotic scenes at Croker for the All Ireland hurling final. Stunned and confused, I sat in front of the telly watching thousands of unmasked fans sat side-by-side, as one, shouting, cheering, celebrating. Was I watching a rerun of ‘Reeling in the Years‘?

The anger, frustration and outcry from the entertainment industry that’s been left dormant for 18 months was to be expected. The rest of us were left confused and questioning the logic of the public health guidelines in place.

Where was the consistency? How was it fair? How could it be justified? It couldn’t. The Government’s credibility took another painful blow.

It came as the dust was just beginning to settle on the controversy surrounding the Tánaiste’s attendance at an outdoor event at the Merrion Hotel a few weeks earlier that had the hospitality industry up in arms. The Tánaiste felt he “probably” didn’t breach guidelines. The Taoiseach admitted the guidelines weren’t clear. And the expectations of everyone else were thrown up in the air.

At the core of all this frustration, anger and controversy was clarity. A lack of it.

To be fair, it would have been next to impossible for the Government to maintain effective and clear communication throughout a prolonged, complex and ever-changing pandemic. But these were heavy hits to take.

Undoubtedly, a level of credibility will be clawed back with the promised roadmap out of lockdown due in the coming days – clarity, which is all the public, the entertainment, the hospitality industry etc. need and are asking for.

The take home here is the importance and need for clarity and what can happen when you don’t have it.  

A few quicks tips for clear communication:

  • Define the purpose of the communication
  • What outcome do you want from the receiver of the message – set expectations
  • Be specific – The more specific you can are, the less chance there is of a misunderstanding
  • Be clear, concise, and consistent
  • Choose your words carefully – Don’t use big words when small ones will do

Remember, clarity in communication is in everyone’s best interest.

Aoibhinn

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