How to Be Clear In Business

The best way to be clear in conversation is to write about it

The French saying l’esprit de l’escalier roughly translates to “staircase comeback”, in the case of a hostile exchange. It’s that sick burn you came up with – hours too late. Nice one.

You could also think of it as just a “staircase reply” if the interaction was good or neutral in tone.  “Damn, I had a much better answer to that question”, you say, after it’s too late. I rarely have a long meeting without at least one of these.

I wrote a long article that gave a better answer to the question, “what do you mean by strategy – what is that in this context?”  I had given an unprepared, bad answer in real-time during a large work meeting. I told myself “This is what I should have said” enough times that I finally decided to write it down. That writing process diluted my thoughts on strategy into a satisfying, one-sentence definition that I can give any time anywhere. It may be totally wrong but at least I don’t rattle on incoherently.

I have thousands of amazing staircase comebacks; some of them just keep getting better over the years (:

You must have a few? I hope so. I think you should accumulate les esprits des escaliers with no shame. It means you care about the quality of your interactions.

But instead of muttering them to yourself or a friend, get them out of your head and onto a page. Not only that – try publishing that page on the Internet, on your business website. 

Next time around, you’ll be much more clear.

Have a great weekend ahead,