If I speak for more than two minutes on one subject to my 8 year old, she’s lost interest before I’ve made my point. Thirty seconds in and my 3 year old’s wandered off singing a Frozen song. If I use a word either of them doesn’t understand, they don’t tell me they don’t know what I mean, they just ignore my instruction and tootle away to do things their own way.
This mini-insight into young minds helps me think more succinctly. It helps me to consider how much readers might understand what I’m trying to say. If it’s true that the average reading age is 9, then I should be crafting newsletter articles with the same simplicity as the notes I write from the tooth fairy, when I draw those tiny little hearts on the top of every ‘i’.
Just because the people I work with use long and complicated words to compile their reports, making their project/idea/job seem very important and indispensable, doesn’t mean I have to keep up the pretence in a translation for people out there in the real world.
I’m making the case for super simple, for stating the obvious and keeping things literal. If we want anyone to believe a word we write, and be encouraged to think differently, we’d better start by making sure they know what I mean.