Clarity FirstAug. 23, 2020
"Clarity beats accuracy"
- Dominic Walliman, PhD, in his TEDx Talk about communicating complex scientific principles to a less-scientific audience
It's a common communication challenge: you've got specialized knowledge about your field, and you want to explain it to an audience with less expertise in that area.
It's a hurdle for the parent trying to explain interest rates to her teenager, and for the software engineer trying to explain his technical obstacles to the marketing team.
We emphasize clarity over accuracy when:
- we use vocabulary our audience will understand, rather than insisting on technical language that is correct but confusing.
- we prioritize our audience's learning over how smart we look.
- we selectively choose what to share, instead of trying to cover every nuance.
- we pay attention to the audience's appetite for details, rather than our desire to give them.
When it comes to communication, prioritizing clarity is about putting our audience first. Prioritizing accuracy is about putting ourselves first.