Removing Digital Noise

virtual with people Apr 22, 2024
Mastering the Art of Clear Online Communication




I sat down with a small business owner and chatted with him over a cup of coffee a few weeks ago. We’ll call him Taylor. Our topic was supposed to be about purpose, but as we sat in the far back corner of the coffee shop to avoid the hustling layers of people cycling through the doors, Taylor brought up the overwhelm generated by the drive for more content.

“Look at everyone,” he said. “They’re all marching to the beat of a different drum. Some have their own drum, while others chase after the beat of another’s drum. They try to be seen and understood, but no one can understand the evasive social media algorithms.”

“Do you know what you just said?” I asked.

“I don’t have a clue, nor do I know how to communicate online in a way that works. It’s like they keep changing the rules.”

Jasmine Star was recently on ‘Living an Intentionally Full and Authentic Life with Darrin Johnson,’” I said. “She talked about how the social media rules keep changing so no one can game the system. In search of the latest formula, many people post content without purpose, hoping something sticks or goes viral. But it just creates noise.”

“I just want to know the secret sauce to make my content go viral,” Taylor said.

Our conversation quickly focused on the increased noise within digital platforms and how to stand out when everyone is standing out—to the point that no one stands out.

Harvard’s Professional Development blog emphasizes that eliminating irrelevant details is key to powerful communication. When people chase after the creation of viral content, they lose sight of their purpose and their content loses their ideal audience.

By focusing on one’s purpose, we will know how to avoid ambiguity in our message, making it easier for the audience to understand us. Our main point will become crystal clear.

According to Wharton Magazine, this approach will make your message more accessible. It is also more likely to be read and understood by busy professionals who often skim content to find what they need.

I shared this new perspective with Taylor, hoping he would focus on his purpose and the gift he brings to society. “Everyone who chases after viral content is creating the noise. We don’t have to go viral, but we do need to share a clear and simple message with more people than our competition.”

He became curious, so I shared tips on how to avoid the noise and overwhelm. After all, in an ever-growing ocean of content, the clarity of our message can often determine whether it sinks or swims.




Clarity ensures your message is easily understood and free from ambiguity, so the audience takes the desired action.

If your audience comprises Gen Z and the Alpha generation, you’ll be surprised how quickly they will swipe away from your message if they detect a hint of complexity or a lack of focus.

Complex and cluttered messages are skipped over in favor of content that gets to the point quickly and clearly.

Clear and concise communication will more likely capture and hold the audience’s attention.

A Psychology Today article underlines the importance of clear and concise communication in capturing and holding an audience's attention. The author points out that disorganized communication can leave listeners trying too hard to follow along, leading to misunderstandings.

By organizing thoughts and delivering information in a structured manner, the communication becomes more effective, allowing listeners to follow and remain engaged with the message.

Preparing in advance and shaping comments to be straightforward can significantly enhance the clarity and impact of your message.

Simplicity in communication is not about dumbing down your message but about making it accessible and engaging. In their book "Writing for Busy Readers," Todd Rogers and Jessica Lasky-Fink emphasize that using plain language and straightforward sentence structures help the reader understand the message without rereading sentences.

This approach respects the reader's time and cognitive load, making the content not just seen but absorbed and remembered.

Simple messages influence our behavior. Clear, direct, and unambiguous messages cut through the noise of online distractions, helping audiences focus on the core message and increasing the chances that they will act on it. This principle is essential for communication, especially when crafting online messages, as discussed in research available on ResearchGate.

The research established that the social exchange of information affects consumer attitudes and purchase intentions. In other words, it won’t cause them to buy, but it will drive their perception of the item or service and impact their intent.

Simplifying the message drives platform adaptability, enhancing its reach and effectiveness. Today, the most effective method of reaching new audiences is repurposing content for other platforms. By updating and presenting existing content in new formats, you can engage different segments of your audience who may prefer one medium over another.

This strategic approach not only extends the lifespan of your content but also enhances its reach, ensuring that the message resonates with a broader audience. HubSpot's blog highlights the power of this approach, providing numerous examples of how repurposing content can increase visibility and engagement.

Taylor appreciated everything I shared, but he wanted more than merely gaining an awareness of online clarity. He asked for specific tips that he could implement that very day. I took another sip of my hot tea and shared a few things that would give him a quick win.




“Taylor, I’ll give you some practical tips for a few quick wins, but you can’t look at what I share as a formula. Instead, use it as a process that frames how you move in a purposeful direction with your online communication.”

Taylor nodded, and I shared the following tips.

Identify the Core Message: Distill your communication to its essential elements. Ask yourself what the single most important thing you want your audience to understand or remember is.

Focus on One Idea at a Time: Each piece of communication should center around a single main idea. This focus prevents the message from being diluted and helps the reader grasp your point without confusion. Movies that make one key point always outperform movies that attempt to make several points at the box office.

Break Information into Manageable Chunks: Complex information stops being complex when presented in small, simple, organized bite-sized chunks. Two shorter sentences are better than one long sentence.

Be Concise and Direct: Start by being economical with your words. Avoid filler and fluff that can cloud your main points. Use short, direct sentences that convey your message without unnecessary complexity.

Use Simple Language: Avoid jargon or a complex vocabulary. Simplicity is your ally. Our society’s visual literacy rate has recently risen above the declining written literacy rate. Focus on showing, not telling your audience how to achieve in the areas you can help them.

Use Active Voice: Active voice makes your sentences clearer and more direct, which is a form of simplification. For example, “The manager approved the project” is simpler and more direct than “The project was approved by the manager.”

Taylor listened intently to what I shared, but it wasn’t enough. He asked, “CJ, how will I know if your tips work if I don’t see growth in you?”

He made a good point, albeit a bit skeptically.

To prove the above content, I entered a speaking competition with multiple levels, both online and on stage, starting locally and rising to the international level. In developing my talk, I crafted a story that required me to clarify the message with focus and simplify my presentation for understanding.

Keep in mind that I’ve attempted to win these competitions several times in the past without these techniques and failed miserably.

This time has been significantly different. At the time of this writing, I have won three levels of competition using these online communication techniques.


Because clarity and simplicity drive the hearts and minds of all audiences.


By CJ Powers - President, Powers Productions

CJ is a creator, speaker, and owner of a digital marketing company in Chicago. To learn more or connect with CJ, you’ll find his links at