As a communicator you should be.docx - 1. Define Your Terms...

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1. Define Your TermsEven when you are careful to craft your message clearly and concisely, noteveryone will understand every word you say or write. As an effectivebusiness communicator, you know it is your responsibility to give youraudience every advantage in understanding your meaning. Yet yourpresentation would fall flat if you tried to define each and every term—youwould end up sounding like a dictionary.The solution is to be aware of any words you are using that may beunfamiliar to your audience. When you identify an unfamiliar word, yourfirst decision is whether to use it or to substitute a more common, easilyunderstood word. If you choose to use the unfamiliar word, then you need todecide how to convey its meaning to those in your audience who are notfamiliar with it. You may do this in a variety of ways. The most obvious, ofcourse, is to state the meaning directly or to rephrase the term in differentwords. But you may also convey the meaning in the process of making andsupporting your points. Another way is to give examples to illustrate eachconcept, or use parallels from everyday life.Overall, keep your audience in mind and imagine yourself in their place.This will help you to adjust your writing level and style to their needs,maximizing the likelihood that your message will be understood.2. Choose Precise WordsTo increase understanding, choose precise words that paint as vivid andaccurate a mental picture as possible for your audience. If you use languagethat is vague or abstract, your meaning may be lost or misinterpreted. Your
document or presentation will also be less dynamic and interesting than itcould be.Table 2.2 "Precisely What Are You Saying?"lists some examples of phrasesthat are imprecise and precise. Which one evokes a more dynamic image inyour imagination?Table 2.2 Precisely What Are You Saying?The famous writerWilliam Safire died in2009; he was overseventy.The former Nixon speech writer, language authority, andNew YorkTimescolumnist William Safire died of pancreatic cancer in 2009; he wasseventy-nine.

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Clumber Spaniel, William Safire

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