I communicate much clearer and effectively when I speak direct and with a purpose. When I try to make up stories or give excuses the communication process breaks down in that I don’t really say what I mean, or the person receiving the message misunderstands what I was trying to say.

I am part of a business group that meets once a week in Columbus, Ohio and the group leader is always challenging us to be honest with ourselves, admit our shortcomings, and push ourselves to be the best we can be. I wanted to put William Shakespeare’s quote to the test and the next time I was asked a question by our group leader I wanted to be direct and speak with a purpose. That is it, no reasons, excuses, or stories with my answers, just the plain truth.

The opportunity came, the leader went around to each member in the group this week and asked if we had memorized passages from a book he was referencing. There were 7 people in the group and I was the last one to answer in that I was sitting at the end. The first 6 individuals all answered yes and the answers varied, some were very direct and to the point while others were indirect and vague with their answers (You can guess who was probably telling the truth and who wasn’t). The group leader then asked me if I had memorized the material and I said, “No.”

The leader acknowledged my answer, appreciated my honesty and said, “that’s okay, I want you to have one for next time.” However, I had to be on guard in that as he was going around in the circle I was going to make up an excuse before he got to me and tell him why I didn’t have the material memorized. The troubling part of this for me is that speaking plainly and directly was not my first reaction, rather, making up an excuse came to my mind first.

William Shakespeare is the master communicator who says “Speak Plain and to the Purpose” which means no stories, white lies, or excuses, just straight to the point. Imagine our relationships, personally and professionally, if this was to be done on a more regular basis.

Chad J. Willett (National Speakers Association/ Screen Actors Guild) is a motivational speaker who quotes Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Ali and many other creative geniuses as a means of thinking different.