The Liability of Complex Communication

Guide4ClearYesterday I found a study published by the University of St. Gallen “Complex to Clear – Managing Clarity in Corporate Communication“.

The authors Martin J Eppler and Nicole Bischof argue convincingly a business case for clarity in all types of corporate communications. They address reports, emails, and even Twitter. That fascinating study can be downloaded from the University’s website and there’s also a presentation on Slideshare.

I was so fascinated by the clarity of the report – it follows to a great extent the recommended principles very closely – that I decided to blog about it straight away. It took me just half an hour to read through the 67 pages.

High cost of uncertainty

I guess, like myself, you have been creating emails or documents that were crystal clear to you. You send it out and expect the necessary action or response. Unfortunately it never came. In my case I made an assumption that the people who gave me the scope of a project did the background check and had good reasons for the boundaries. So my correspondence took this as granted. That assumption was incorrect and caused a great delay because I had to back track and negotiate the scope first. By that time a few people were not particular happy.

Clarification Process

Clarity Check

Martin and Nicole prepared a clarity check that can and should be applied to all kinds of communication, internal and external, written, graphical, or spoken, email, twitter, powerpoint or report.

Clarity Check








I highly recommend downloading and reading the full report. It’s time well spend.

I leave you with a quote from Joseph Pulitzer:

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”

I won’t claim any of that but that study can.

Have a great weekend 😉

What's your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s