I read an article this week that provides invaluable advice for attorneys, but it’s guidance that’s heard – and heeded – far too seldom. In fact, it will strike some lawyers as counterintuitive and wholly inappropriate for the profession of law. Nonetheless, this wisdom needs to be shared: “Dumbing down” your communications can be a smart idea.
The source of the article was Entrepreneur.com, so it wasn’t written specifically for attorneys – or even with attorneys in mind. Yet, its main point is as pertinent to lawyers who are communicating with their clients as it is to the entrepreneurs that the writers had in mind. (Which raises another favorite issue of mine – that all attorneys should think of themselves as entrepreneurs – but I’ll save that for another time.)
Why Dumbing Down Your Message Isn’t Dumb
Entitled, “Why Dumbing Down Your Message Isn’t Dumb,” the article, written by media trainers Andy Craig and Dave Yewman, makes a valuable point about the importance of speaking and writing in a way that anyone and everyone can understand. I’d add that if you have a visceral, negative reaction to the idea of “dumbing down” anything you write or say (and I can understand that), you may want to define your goal as “communicating with clarity,” which is always a good thing. And just so there’s no confusion, I would suggest that you should communicate with client-centric clarity.