Orwell on communication

The American management association has a wonderful wealth of articles on their website. Here is some advice from an article, written in 2006, that still holds true today. It discusses, among other things, the advice from George Orwell from his essay:”Politics and the English language” and although he mainly talks about communication in politics the advice is valid for most communication:


• Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 
• Never us a long word where a short one will do. 
• If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. 
• Never use the passive where you can use the active. 
• Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. 
• Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. 

Simple suggestions, yes—but then, that’s the point. Ideally, communication should be simple. The one thing that all poor communication—whether business, political or academic—has in common is needless difficulty. If you want to be heard, business-speak will do the trick. But if you want them to listen, you would do well to leave the jargon out.


Talk less, Listen more

You have probably all heard that saying; if you talk, you cannot listen. Well this story by smartblog on leadership explains again what the right communication strategy is here.

Better leaders and managers Talk less and Listen more. This goes well with our 10 points on management where we emphasize in the communications part that you need to be concise, and in the Resources part we make the point that you need to listen to those who are close to the action.

The smartblog on Leadership puts it like this:


  1. Get it all out. Like Jake, you might have a certain level of frustration. Don’t take this for granted. If you have a lot to say, write it out or vent to an appropriate partner. Do this before you get in front of the employee.
  2. Keep your part brief. Practice and plan to only say two sentences and one question at any one time. The longer you talk, the more they build up their defenses. The more airtime you use, the less likely you’ll uncover what is going on in the employee’s head that you need to address.
  3. Get them talking as quickly as possible. After appropriate greetings and getting comfortable, a manager in Jake’s position could start with: “Sophie, you and I have talked about an aspect of your performance a few times now. I want to make sure you understand the impact it’s having on both your co-workers and your own performance. What have you been thinking about this?”
  4. Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. Don’t just plunge forward as if with a script. Ask questions building on their responses. Be curious. If you offer two statements, use them to summarize what you heard. An opinion or fact may be appropriate at some points. But remember, you are to lead them through a discussion to where they can examine their own thinking and behavior that is causing them problems.
  5. Inspire hope and action. Keep going with the good questions and assertions, using their responses until you have a plan of action you both can go forward with. It should not all end up on your to-do list. The person in front of you should leave the room encouraged and realize one action they can take immediately to improve.
All great points about communication.
You can read this interesting post in full HERE