Edited excerpt from The Neuroscience of Recruiting: 3 Key Discoveries & Implications by Geoffrey James:
Unlike communications that are clear and precise, business communications that are fuzzy and imprecise generate connections between words that are similarly fuzzy and imprecise. In other words, it’s a feedback looping going on: fuzzy thinking creates fuzzy wording which in turn creates fuzzier thinking. Conversely, clear thinking creates clear wording which in turn creates clearer thinking.
What this means to recruiters: Today, many organizations tolerate the use of fuzzy and imprecise wording, typically in the form of buzzwords and jargon. As those organizations hire people who communicate in a similar way, it increases the amount of fuzzy think, making the overall organization “dumber.” In the future, recruiters must put additional emphasis during the hiring process on a candidate’s ability to write and speak with precision and clarity. As a result, the hiring process will tend to make the overall organization progressively “smarter.”
(1) This is why PowerPoint is such a disaster. Bullet points don’t have the rigor of full sentences and paragraphs. They lure you into thinking that you’ve thought through and articulated an idea, but in fact you haven’t. Bullet points are the poster child of fuzzy wording. And “fuzzy thinking creates fuzzy wording which in turn creates fuzzier thinking”.
(2) Because writing clarifies thinking, it’s often worthwhile to write a document even if nobody else reads it.
(3) I read somewhere that strategy meetings in Amazon start with the participants reading a paper about the topic. Benefits: (i) ensures there’s a clear “owner” for the topic, (ii) ensures that meetings are properly prepared for, (iii) ensures that people consider everything the “owner” has to say about the topic without interrupting, (iv) allocates time at the beginning of the meeting for everyone to prepare for the discussion.