If you can’t explain it simply…

If you can’t explain it simply, you probably don’t understand it well enough.

Students come to me often and say, “I want to use more complicated sentences, like a native speaker.”


Expressing yourself well does not mean using complicated sentences.

Actually, it usually means the opposite. Expressing yourself well means understanding your idea so well that you can express it simply.

Steve Jobs spoke at a fifth grade level. That means a 12-year old could understand him.

Jack Welch said, “[People] worry that if they’re simple, people will think they’re simple-minded. In reality, of course, it’s just the reverse.”

Remember, your objective is not to impress your audience. It’s to get them to do something.

Related Posts

Alternative CYA phrases

"CYA" (cover your ass) is a great phrase for office life, but sometimes it has connotations of selfishness, like you're saying someone just wants to protect himself, he doesn't really care about the group or the company. Example: "That email was mostly CYA. He just...

Three tips for videoconferencing

I know a lot of you are working from home this week. It probably involves a lot of videoconferencing, which might feel a little strange, since it's probably a bit unfamiliar. I do a lot of videoconferencing, so here are three tips that might help.  1. Humans like...

CXO letter sample

---------- Forwarded message --------- From: matt@krauseenglish.com Date: XYZ Subject: CXO Letter sample To: xyz@xyz.com A favorite word that I've run across an unusual number of times in my readings this week is "slog." This word can be a noun or a verb, and using it...