I’m not a big podcast fan BUT I have a select few I’m quite fond of. One is Three Little Words by comedian John Bishop and actor and writer Tony Pitt. They ask guests to bring in and discuss three words they love and one word they’d rather never hear again. The last one I listened to was with my fellow Oldhamer Professor Brian Cox.
I’m not so much interested in the words they choose for the podcast as I am in their reasons why, and the ensuing conversations. I had to go back and check which of the Prof’s three words this related to, and it was ‘wonder’. I’m paraphrasing, but his main point was about not dumbing down (they use the word compromise) too much when discussing complex subjects. He said he pitched things at an engaged and interested 12 year old, using his own son as an example, when discussing things on telly or at his live arena shows. His rationale being that if you dumb things down too much you make things unfathomable. The listener/recipient has to do some really hard thinking to understand what you are trying to say if you give too little away.
I tend to agree, though my argument looks at this from the other perspective. I think (though I’d never attempt to speak for him), that he’s talking about plain English and trying to not bamboozle people.
Keeping it simple does not mean dumbing down and you can keep it simple WITHOUT dumbing down.
Keeping it simple can be tricky, some may say it’s harder to write in plain English (reader – I don’t think so). I would find it tricky to be overly verbose. It is not my style. I want readers to understand what I am saying. Don’t we all? I could use the current Prime Minister’s Conservative Party Conference speech yesterday (6th Oct) as a prime example of someone who DOESN’T want to be understood, but no one wants to read more about that do they? Build Back Beaver??! Enough said.
Trying to translate wordy nonsense is hard. No one wants to tie themselves in knots trying to unravel wordy gymnastics.
Keep keep it simple as your mantra. Call in a copywriter if you can’t do it yourself.