And we sure experience all those things during the holiday season at year's end. It's often the only time we communicate with some, even many, people--by communicating through Christmas cards and letters. And it's a time when we likely put in more time and effort than usual to communicate with particular people--in what we share with them, what we give to them, what we spend on them.
Having spent decades as a professional communicator--in journalism, education, public relations and marketing--I know communication isn't free. It has its intended expenses and unexpected costs.
But one thing I've been learning and relearning in the past decade or so is that we can complicate communication so much that the people we're trying to reach don't get it. They don't understand our messages and thus don't respond as we hoped they would. Or our messages are so unclear that they get lost in the always-present interference between us and our audience.
In writing, for one thing, I've been trying to practice and promote the principles and methods of plain language. It's an international effort to write and design documents so clearly, so concisely, that readers will understand them the first time they read (or view) them. They're documents that meet the needs of readers while meeting the needs of the writers.
And that brings me to this article by Joshua Becker. Becker's article is a useful annotated list of links to other thoughtful articles about giving (and communicating) simply during the Christmas season.
I am not the first to write about enjoying a simpler Christmas. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, there are countless posts/articles/guides on experiencing a simple, stress-free Christmas. And in an effort to create a valuable resource for myself and others, here is a comprehensive list of the best links in one handy, thorough, shareable guide.The links are listed under several headings (followed by some sample headlines):
Rethinking Christmas."35 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget"
Gift-Giving Guides."The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide"
Simple, Practical Guides."Three Steps to a Simplified Holiday"
Holiday Printable Guides."Christmas Budget Worksheet"
Emotional Needs."This Christmas, Give Peace"For more information on communicating simply, visit the Plain Language tab above and Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It covers these seven steps:
- Focusing on your reader and purpose
- Organizing your ideas
- Writing clear, effective paragraphs
- Writing clear, simple sentences
- Using suitable words
- Creating an enticing design
- Testing for clarity.
Becker's article is featured today, Nov. 24, in my online daily paper, Garbl's Simple Dreams--available at the Simplicity tab above and by free email subscription.