If you’ve seen the movie “Margin Call,” you’ll recall the scene where the CEO, played by Jeremy Irons, reminds the young analysts to keep it simple:
“Speak as you might to a young child. Or a golden retriever.”
It’s a great line, and I use it often with my coaching clients — especially executives in the science and technology field.
Every field has its jargon. And jargon has its place in technical and trade contexts. But when talking to someone outside your field, speaking clearly and understandably is paramount.
The true test is whether you can unpack all the concepts the big words contain (credit default swaps, anyone?).
As Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Let’s make sure we do understand what we’re trying to say, so that our audience can too.