Sitting Around the Electronic Campfire

Mar 19, 2019 | Better Writing

Thousands of years ago, your distant ancestors and mine sat around campfires and talked. We’ve come a long way since then. We can send our thoughts to the other side of the planet in milliseconds. With a couple of mouse clicks or punches on our smart phones, we can find answers that would have eluded an expert reference librarian just a decade ago.

In some ways, though, things are the same now as they were way back then. If you want to communicate with someone today, think less about the magical technology and more about what our ancestors did around those campfires.

Make Sure You Have Something to Say

People pay attention to you if you have something to say. Answer a vexing question. Tell them how to do something they want to do. The more they think it’s “just for me” the better.

Be Clear

Use simple language, the kind that people use around a campfire. Big words and fancy sentence constructions may make you feel good, but they also make you less understandable. If people don’t understand you, they tune out or listen to someone else.

Make It Interesting

People will stay with you longer and pay more attention if you make it interesting. Tell a good story or two. Draw pictures or word pictures. Provoke a natural laugh.

Bottom Line

Communication doesn’t have to be a super-head-breaking deal. Do it the way you would around a campfire. It will probably work on a page or on the net, too.

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