By Gavin Moffat
a noun \ˈkler-ə-tē, ˈkla-rə-\ : the quality of being expressed, remembered, understood, in a very exact way
How often do you find that people are vague with their comments, requests, instruction and other utterances? I encounter it often enough for it to have a real impact on my life. clar·i·ty goes a long way to ensuring that life has less clutter and fewer things to be concerned about.
If people (clients, suppliers, banks etc) are clear about what they want from you, or you are clear in your request or instructions, then the outcome will more often than not be within your expectations and theirs.
This clar·i·ty can come in the form of the 5Ws and an H. Who, what, where, when, why and how. If you cover these elements then you should both be on more or less the same page. I say more or less, because we are after all human and misunderstanding can creep into even the clearest instruction, through misinterpretations of language or understanding of terms, or just plain not listening.
One of the aspects that I enjoy about clar·i·ty is that it significantly reduces the potential for conflict, as communication should be close to crystal clear – leaving little room for argument over expectations. This can be crucial in a business context.
It also has the added benefit of reducing clutter. Clutter in this context comes in the form of attachment, fears and finding something to worry about. Attachment because we are expecting a particular outcome or result and if there is little clar·i·ty then we are likely to be disappointed, because there is no shared expectation of outcome. Fear because clar·i·ty allows us to get on with doing what needs to be done in the knowledge that we are following a clear brief. Isn’t it great to have one less thing to worry about? We’ve got the task or we’ve given it out, and chances are high that we should get an excellent outcome, all things being equal.
I have become way better at being clear in my daily life, but it is still a chore. Sometimes it involves asking a ”stupid” question to get clar·i·ty. It can involve being repetitive if someone is not being clear. It can also be taxing for others if they are not in the habit of being precise about their requests. Just imagine if you deal with someone who never tells you when they want their order by, but whenever you deliver, it’s too late anyway. Start asking them for greater clar·i·ty and the problem will go away.
clar·i·ty is just a small part of making our communication remembered, understood, clear and actionable. And communication is key to business success, so we need to get it right.
So, let me be clear about this, my next piece may or may not be about the future of wearable technology, and how the luddites of technology are leading the way in rejecting the world of the always-connected. Maybe.