Rackham's post has inspired me to try and explain the work I do in the simplest terms possible using the KISS principle and the Up-Goer Five Text Editor, a site that forces you to explain an idea using only the 1000 most used words in the English language.
Here is a typical explanation of what I do:
In my work I encourage clients to settle disputes outside of court, whether through collaborative law, mediation, or other other out-of-court processes, by using interest-based negotiation techniques to resolve conflict.See the problem? What the heck is interest-based negotiation? I have over-lawyered the description of my own job without even realizing it!
So here is my new description trying to keep it simple:
There are many situations where people find themselves in a fight. That fight could be about their work or their home life, but either way it makes their life worse. Many people need help to end the fight. In my work, I help people explain what they are fighting about, by learning what they want and why they want it. When they can understand the other person's "why" we can usually end the fight with both people getting "what" they need.
I do this using five important steps:
Step 1: Decide on how to talk (and with how many people helping).
Step 2: Share what each side knows.
Step 3: Share what each side wants and why.
Step 4: Come up with many ideas
Step 5: Decide on the best idea for both people.
If even one step is missed, the fight usually continues, but when people think through all of these steps they are usually happy with the end of the fight.Can you explain what you do using only the 1,000 most common words? I dare you to try it here, and post your answer in the comments section!