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Getting Your Idea Across in Minimal Words

It can sometimes appear to be very difficult explaining various things or concepts to many of the people around you. Everyone has completely different and unique experiences and knowledge, which means that the person you’re talking to at the moment might not know what exactly you’re talking about right away. Many complex ideas usually require some amount of invented lexicon and other inside vocabulary to fully grasp them, which can be hard to understand at first. This also means that, as the speaker for these new ideas, you’ll usually have to come up with a way to explain what you mean in as few words as possible. Here are a few tips with regards to communicating your ideas as effectively as possible in as few words as possible.


What Exactly are you Talking About?

This is always a good question to ask yourself before you start speaking, as it can often be used to determine your choice of words. Sometimes big, glittery words are important to what you’re saying, but that may not always be the case. If what you have to say is related to something more academic, it often comes along with a wide variety of included definitions and terminology, with specific and complex meanings. On the other hand, if what you’re saying is more based on your personal experiences, it’s often helpful to relate what you’re saying to the personal experiences and life story of the person you’re talking to, or possibly to more common life experiences and daily interactions in general. Below are a few useful guidelines through which you can decide for yourself what the content of your ideas entail best.



These types of topics can often be technical and very complicated. Avoid using words or phrases that are exclusive to the select field of study you’re discussing when talking to people unfamiliar with it. Keeping the complexity of the subject matter low is also usually helpful to convey understanding of the ideas present.

Personal Stories

The goal here is to be utterly entertaining and realistic. Be sure to gauge the reactions of your audience whenever telling an interesting story, to see if they’re still interested and engaged. Also, make sure that they can keep track of what you’re saying at all times, especially at the really interesting story moments.

Experience Based

This can appear or manifest in the form of helpful life advice, or some simple anecdotes that people easily relate to. If you can figure out how to relate to the person or people that you’re talking to best, then you’re golden. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes almost always helps you understand their perspective.


Find out Why You’re Saying What You’re Saying

Explaining something just the right way often requires quite a few sentences to eventually get to the point. Using more sentences is always significantly more time consuming, for both you and the reader, so you should almost always try to find a way to use fewer sentences. There are some different ways in which you can do this effectively while still maintaining your initial message and meaning.


Thinking Ahead

Before writing or speaking, ask yourself what sentences you definitely need to convey your point effectively. Cut out all of the ones that you think you won’t necessarily need to convey your point.

Prior Knowledge

People can sometimes glean what you’re saying before you say it. If you can find a way to make that happen, without confusing meanings, it would sure save you a lot of time talking or writing. When your audience already knows what you’re talking about, you don’t even need to say what it is.

Analogies and Metaphors

Another way that you can get people to the point before you present it is through common sayings and cultural iconography. This is often helpful when people are having trouble with what you’re saying, as they can act as a shortcut through an understanding of the analogy or metaphor and then your point as a result.

Body Language

This method would obviously only work in situations where you’re speaking. Simple gestures representing actions such as ‘stop’, ‘come here’, and ‘you know’ can be communicated nonverbally very easily and without misunderstanding.


Choosing Smaller or Fewer Words

Word choice can often be crucial in explaining many types of difficult concepts. The words you use can make even the most difficult to understand ideas easily reachable for whomever you’re speaking to. Words themselves, when compared to sentences, often contain the majority of information that you wish to communicate. This means that your whole idea can be lost on your audience, even if they don’t understand a single word that you’ve used. There are generally two opposing effects that you can apply to your words to get your ideas across easier.


Using Smaller Words

This is usually the right course of action when explaining complex ideas or concepts that usually require their own terms. Putting these ideas into more commonly used words or terms provides you with a medium through which you can deliver your idea to others.

Summarizing Smaller Words into a Larger One

This happens less often than the other option, but can still prove to be important. If you have a tendency to communicate through long dialogues, this method can help you save time whilst speaking.



Many different people have different ways of communicating. This means that it’s often hard to get your ideas across in the way that feels the most natural to you. When using the fewest words possible, it is usually much easier to get even the most complex ideas across. This is because, as humans, we understand the power that rests in the common usage of words, and what that means when exchanging ideas. If you can figure out how to make the important and unique ideas that you have available to the people that you’re speaking to, you can use your unique and creative ideas to make the world a better place.

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By Michael Faraday

Michael Farady holds degrees in English education and creative writing. As an educator, Michael specialises in corporate training having worked with IBM, Philip Morris International as well as the Danone food company in Paris. He is a published author and is deeply passionate about the written word.

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