How do you communicate? What is your language style?
Are you a “hand-talker”? Do you use idioms or expressions? Or, do you just speak plainly? There are many different ways that people talk and write. However, it is always important to tailor your communications and presentations to your audience.
No matter what line of work you’re in, chances are, there will always be someone who doesn’t necessarily understand what you mean. If you work for an organization that is very diverse, and particularly global, I would suggest keeping idioms and expressions that are culturally allocated to a bare minimum. What one expression means in the United States, may not mean the same thing in India or Brazil for that matter. Therefore, not only is it good to avoid a misunderstanding, but you also want to make sure you’re not being offensive as well.
My rule of thumb is to think about how you would want someone to explain something to you. I know I would want the communication to be clear and not contain puns, etc. Keep that in mind as you prepare any documents, emails, or presentations.
Have you had any experiences where you used an idiom and it was misconstrued by your audience? Write to me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear about it!