A random compendium of theories and rules for effective communication. Follow the links for more information on each insight.
Don't be such a scientist
Randy Olson's approach
to connecting with people who aren't cerebral nerds, based on his acting and film making training and experiences.
- Connect to the four organs:
- Brain - facts and reasoning
- Heart - emotions and feeling
- Gut - prejudices and instict
- Crotch - sex!
- Arouse and fulfill, don't be too literal minded in your presentation
- Tell a story, find the tension or conflict and construct a narrative around it
- Don't be unlikeable, don't talk down to people, don't come across as excessively negative
- Find your authentic voice that can convey a rational, emotional and instinctive depth
Politics and the English language
George Orwell's rules
for good writing.
- 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
Making a good frame
George Lakoff's work
on linguistics shows how words or phrases can "frame" a topic by linking it to particular ideas or associations. Evoking the frame, or negating it, simply reinforces the frame. So, for example, if the opposition argues for "tax relief" it is pointless saying "I disagree with tax relief" because you are fighting something good - relief
He suggests four steps to developing an effective frame:
- Pick out the relevant core values for this issue.
- Write down how your position follows from these values.
- Articulate the facts and their consequences within this moral framing.
- Define us and them within this moral frame.