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.

 

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.