6 reasons why academics should speak and write clearly

Conveying complex ideas in a way a non-specialist audience can understand has many benefits. Here are a few reasons why it is important and rewarding to practice writing.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Speaking and writing clearly is one of the key skills we as ongoing academics need to master. It is not an inborn talent. Conscious effort is needed precisely because it usually does not come naturally. For many of us, the challenge is even greater as we are likely to use at some point our second or even third language to communicate the results of our research. Conveying complex ideas in a way a non-specialist audience can understand has many benefits. When I say non-specialist I mean anybody, academic or non-academic, who has not spent the last x years working on the same topic as myself.

Here are a few reasons why it is important and rewarding to practice writing and speaking clearly:

1. It helps you to understand and to structure your ideas. Think of Einstein: if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

2. Clear language significantly limits exclusion of audience that does not posses the same level of specialist knowledge as the researcher. It is therefore more open and more democratic.

3. If people understand your points, you will get more feedback and perspectives. Your research will benefit.

4. It helps you to promote your work and to raise interest in your topic.

5. Academia is full of the word “interdisciplinary”. Clear language facilitates and promotes exchange among disciplines. This is especially relevant in social sciences that often study same or similar topics.

6. Complicated language usually takes more time and space. These are usually limited.

The good news is, clear language simply needs practice. Why not for example use this blog to do that?



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