Essentialism in Communication

When I first started talking to my children in their babyhood, my struggle was to talk in plainspeak. They would ask me questions and my response wouldn’t make much sense to them at all. I had to learn to remove all the conversational fluff that I was used to and get to the essential content. I had to communicate in elemental terms.

In hindsight, I can see that it was a great lesson for me. When we are presented with new ideas or difficult concepts, many of us act like 3 year olds. We freak out, stonewall, ignore, get distracted or get confused. The person who is communicating could use the same techniques to peel out the non-essential layers and present the meat of the conversation in plain simple terms. I am not advocating watering down of the content. It is about retaining the essence while removing the fluff and decor. Using building blocks of simple geometric shapes, we could start building complex structures one piece at a time. This strategy could be equally valuable, whether we are engaging in design discussions with a group of programmers or teaching kindergarteners.