June 28, 2023

Unpleasant Truth Hiding Behind Confusing Speech

D’you know what annoys me most about political speeches, press releases, corporate documents, and other "formal" interactions? When people start using big words and complex phrases unnecessarily. Like saying “at this point in time,” instead of saying, “now.” Or masking bad news and lack of information with flowery statements, hoping to sound smart.

Because that’s what it is most of the time: unpleasant truth hiding behind confusing speech.

Lack of substance can’t hide behind clear, straight-to-the-point language. It needs words that lead the listener through turns, around and around, until the truth is lost (or the listener).

If you want your message to be understood, and if you want to sound like someone who knows what they're talking about, then aim for simplicity.

Take it from Mark Manson:

Expertise makes something complex appear simple and intelligible. Bullshit makes something simple appear unnecessarily complex and unintelligible.

Expertise creates value for people who don’t know better. Bullshit extracts value from people who don’t know better.