It’s Tough To Be Clear, Easy To Be Clever
Being obvious can make such a difference. People can see the value you want to share.
Now is the time to put the full you into your work and being clear is going to help.
It can work in your favour, or it can miss the mark.
Hands up, where I was, it was just confusing.
Up to 2020 and looking back now, this trade-off from being clear to clever was apparent. I was trying to approach my work in a witty, left-field way, as wanted to put my stamp and interpretation on my work.
Here are some of my favourites, so I can prove to you what I published.
Looking back now, it reads like a cryptic mess.
Whilst the message was in there, it just wasn’t clear from the outset.
For many of us, the confusion comes from a mind that is trying too hard to impress.
It doesn’t have to be like that. This isn’t just for what you write but how you articulate and how you come across from delivering in front of others to how you shape your work. The strength is the messages you share that make sense to your audience. When it’s time for them to commit, it becomes easier.
I realise that no one wins when you try to sound smart. Being easy to understand isn’t easy, but the best route forward.
ChatGPT has now opened up the gates for a wave of lacklustre content to be made with ease. What can take a matter of seconds, means that if your content is filled with lists and industry how-to’s, things can get tricky for you. If you can share from lived experiences that’s something that AI cannot take control of.
If AI is taking the lead with dry, one-dimensional content that has no feeling, it makes it even more important to be clear (with your stamp) in 2023.
Here are the steps I have taken over the years, that have come with practice, not a magic wand when it comes to being clear, with your personality.
Discovering how the real you sounds
It is tempting to follow what has worked for others, but your style is unique to you. Sounding confusing comes from looking to portray a version of yourself that is attempting to appear knowledgeable and trustworthy.
We all want to come across as a dependable pair of hands for others to commit to. Whilst I send the weekly newsletter, I am also doing it sharpen my thinking and present the real me, to you. It takes confidence, but when you can be open and champion curiosity and not think you have to have all the answers does make a difference.
Be defined on the areas you want to champion.
Understanding what you stand for/believe in (and how you have a role for others), helps you to be concise. My work could have been confusing with a generic content marketing angle, has now become sharpened into what YATM is today. When you know your space, you can then explore. For instance, YATM looks at how people/businesses can nurture an audience, find their voice, share what they believe in and grow their own independent space (and business) that isn’t always reliant on social media.
Build up enough evidence to share with you own stamp.
When you spend time collating and discovering, from a podcast guest to delivering an event, the more you explore, the more you build your own interpretation. This is the experience you gain. The more you do, the easier it becomes to be focused on a particular topic. For instance, since 2020 I have been figuring out what it takes to bring people together where you find a balance between learning and camaraderie.
Know what doesn’t fit.
When you are clear on the audience you serve, you start to trim around the edges. I’m not the person to tell you how an SEO approach is going to work for you, but I can talk to you about how to build your audience in public.
Taking out what isn’t you, means you can put more effort in your own original clarity of thought. It is far easier today to pretend you have the answers to everything when figuring out a space to champion takes far more patience and drive.
It’s ok not knowing the answers, but it takes courage.
When you approach with fresh eyes and your own curiosity, you share from the heart. A lot of what I share is from my experiments and how they have worked. When it’s via a lived experience, it is more precise. You recollect what you have learned, what could be better and how what you did, could help someone else.
Take the approach that you are sharing for the younger you, 18 months ago, where the knowledge you have now gained can be such a source of insight for the younger you. You don’t have to have the answers now, it can be a scrapbook that builds traction and you do the working out, in public.
Your Clarity Becomes The Driver For Others
I don’t want to go back to the place where people had to work hard to understand. I was just confusing people. I wasn’t clear from the start.
If you weren’t aware of my work, it doesn’t give a good place to start. Whilst the message was on being ok with being slightly messy with how you create and build, from the outset it always has to be about someone else. Being clear comes from someone else being in the picture. Strength comes from being relatable.
Here are three points that support everything you do when you are clear in your delivery.
You can be the solution
By taking an approach to learn in front of everyone, over time, people recognise you are the answer to what they are looking for. You lead from the front and championing clear communication is from the experiences you have gained. It makes a difference to get your thoughts out there as by practicing gets better over time.
Always push for insight
Rather than just opinion, how can your own learning set someone else up for success or modify what they do? You don’t need to come across as smart, you need to be efficient.
Do it again and again
Sharing once is not enough. If there is a theme that is relatable to how you serve others and you can see traction ie. responses, views, comments, you lean into it intending to lead from the front. You take responsibility for making things happen and to figure out as you progress. This way, everyone has the opportunity to do better.
Everything you share should not be driven to sound worthier than others. A slog to be clever is only going to confuse people.
It also makes you realise that what you share is not about you and your achievements. It’s about the experiences you gain, the forks in the road that happen, the people around it and the impact you can bring into the medium you choose. It’s about bring you into your work.
When you know what you want people to do, fed by your own enthusiasm and curiosity, you take action. Clarity comes with practice, but it’s worth the effort as everything else falls into place with how people associate with you and how you are the right choice to commit to.