The Power of Clarity

Clarity and Social Advocacy

Clarity is especially important if you want to move people to action. If the spread of social innovations depends on particular people or groups taking certain actions, the clarity of your message may be the hinge factor. In social advocacy, likewise, clarity of your message may easily outweigh numerous other factors. This might explain why many social advocacy campaigns fall flat. Often, charities and other NGOs come up with simple and engaging messages, but their call to action is less than crystal clear, and this lack of clarity is usually enough to break its overall effectiveness.

Even more generally, if your message lacks clarity, it may fail to move to action even if it is simple and vivid. Simplicity usually backfires if it sacrifices clarity. And clarity is also one of the best indicators of competence.

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The Art of Plain Talk

That which is easy to understand is usually more persuasive. Also, vividness can boost your persuasion if you follow the three rules. If you want your language to be vivid and easy to understand, consider embracing the art of plain talk and imitating the Chinese language.

Rudolf Flesch, the Art of Plain Talk, and the Chinese language

Rudolf Flesch was one of the pioneers in the plain English movement. He is perhaps best known for his readability formulas, including Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Many government institutions in the US and elsewhere use these readability formulas for official publications.

In his “The Art of Plain Talk” (1946), Flesch suggested turning to the Chinese language to learn the art of plain talk.

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