When I was in high school we read Macbeth and the assignment we had to submit had three parts. I wanted to do a great job with the presentation of my assignment, I stained the paper with tea and coffee to age the paper, I wrote my assignment in calligraphy and I even burnt the edges of the pages all to match, what I thought, was the Shakespearian period … remember I was young! 🤦‍♀️

I spent hours on the presentation that I actually forget a whole segment and only submitted two of the three!

My teacher was gracious and gave me an averaged score to cover the missing question but I did get a serve and a big lesson: substance over style! 

Time and again, communication is the fundamental issue that impacts progress, conflict, planning, productivity….

As stated in an AZCentral article, “effective communication leads to improvements in productivity of as much as 25 percent”.

When the focus is on the quality of the communication, that is, the substance: clear, as complete as possible, concise, timely, rather than the style: verbose, vague, full of assumptions, jargon, the impact on productivity becomes obvious.

As Brene Brown says in her book Dare to Lead, “clear is kind”, and while she’s referring to difficult conversations, the message applies for all communication.

When you have to deliver a message, when you’re running a meeting, when you’re having feedback conversations, when you’re getting the team inspired about a new project … substance will beat style every time. 

Take the two most popular words today, “information” and “communication.” They are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.
– Sydney J. Harris

Style might be attractive and draw people to you, and there’s nothing wrong with style, just not at the expense of substance. Check out the video below…

I’d love to know your thoughts.