Wordsmithing is not a 4-letter word.
In fact, according to Oxford and Merriam-Webster, it’s not a word at all!
But let’s assume for a minute that the circles I run in are not the only ones to adopt the term.
It’s used to mean “The making of changes to a text to improve clarity and style as opposed to content.”
And more often than not, it’s looked down on.
It’s seen as unimportant.
After all, isn’t the content what matters?
Why agonize over word choice when everyone “gets the idea”?
But that’s just it.
They don’t “get the idea”!
Everyone has some idea of what you’re trying to say, but is it truly what you intended to communicate?
An unwillingness to labor over the precise wording needed to convey a thought or idea is the very thing that will keep it from spreading or worse, result in the spreading of a distorted version of the idea.
For an idea to resonate and stick, it has to be boiled down to its essence.
It has to be memorable.
It has to be portable.
It has to embody exactly what you intend for the audience to receive.
If it contains more than you intend to communicate, the idea mutates into some adulterated version of itself.
If it contains less, the idea becomes anemic and its impact is diminished.
Your content is only valuable to the extent that others can receive it.
What a profound waste to slave away over content and neglect clarity and style!
Ambiguity and confusion will never galvanize anyone!
If your content is meant to elicit action of any kind, clarity and style are paramount.
Think about a beautiful and effective landing page.
If you strip away the styling or add in a bunch of superfluous information, the page will be completely ineffective!
The content is still there, but without any of its value.
Clarity and style are what make it effective.
This is particularly important for leaders to remember.
As a leader, one of your most important responsibilities is to provide clear direction.
How will anyone follow if they don’t know where you're going?
The destination is important, but it becomes irrelevant if it's not clearly communicated.
You’ll think they’re following you.
They’ll think they’re following you.
But in the end, you’ll find yourselves in completely different places.
Words matter… a lot!
If a message is worth communicating, it’s worth communicating well.