Perspicuity in composition is a critical part of efficacious and broad dissemination of one's cerebration.
I bet you've stumbled across a sentence like that many times. Maybe in a company-wide email, or a training manual, or a set of new office guidelines? Many people, when they're trying to write something "important" sounding, use unnecessarily complex (cough: pretentious) words to get their point across.
But, according to a study I stumbled across, that's a terrible strategy. People who use short, clear phrasing in their writing are perceived to be significantly more intelligent than those who use big, complicated words.
Here's what you need to know.
- The setup: Researchers ran three experiments to test the connection between written complexity and perceived intelligence. In each, two different passages were given to two different groups of students to read: one filled with long, highly complex words and another filled with short, simple words. The passages were identical in all other respects. After reading the provided writing sample, students in both groups were asked to rate the intelligence of the passage's author on a scale from 1-7.
- The findings: In all three of the experiments, the short, simple wording produced the highest perceived intelligence ratings. It wasn't even close.
- The takeaway: Beware the thesaurus! If you're trying to impress, write simply. Small words. Straightforward prose. It's easy.