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Are You Fluent In ‘Clean Communication’?

First of all, let’s look at a definition of Clean Communication from Dr. Christine McDougall

Clean Communication has no “negative charge” to it. There is no component of it that has any form of attack, shame, blame, upset, anger, manipulation, ridicule, disdain, lies or otherwise.


Have you experienced a conversation where you believe there is hidden meaning? I think we have all been guilty of this at some time or another;

‘How are you feeling?’  ‘FINE!!!!’

We know full well when words do not match the intonation or intention: it happens all the time.  

We do not say what we want for all sorts of reasons. Whether we are being too polite, or simply keeping a lid on it, we are all guilty of not saying what we mean.

“Does my bum look big in this?”  You could argue there is no good answer for that one!

We learn and we choose for ourselves what is acceptable and what is not.  Whether through our schooling, parents or peer groups, we are influenced with signals that tell us it is ok to speak the truth, or not to allow ourselves to say what we truly believe.  

  • How much misinformation is being fed to us every day?
  • Who can we trust to tell us the truth and indeed are we ready to hear it? 
  • How people communicate has fascinated me for years and I know that the large percentage of communication is visual and non-verbal. 

What you say, if not congruent with your true beliefs, will have a habit of showing up in your body language.  
Politicians provide examples again and again of poor communication and would do well to consider how they could create clean communication for their constituents.

A caller to the Jeremy Vine show recently acknowledged that the interview with Jeremy Corbyn showed he would probably never make PM because he wasn’t following the politician code:  he was actually answering the questions!!!

We might well laugh at this as it is accepted that politicians are taught how to avoid answering certain questions, even though we are entitled to clean communication from the people who we vote to represent us.

We have allowed this subterfuge to continue and mistrust of politicians is rampant.

No wonder we are confused about who to vote for.

They are breaking the system because they have broken the trust.

If we are practiced in clean communication, then we will be more aware when we are being subjected to misinformation.

Words are a powerful medium but so often their meaning is distorted.

‘I literally fell off my chair laughing’  is an acceptable exaggeration, when, obviously, no falling took place.    
‘I have literally spoken to thousands of people in researching this article’,  begs the question “Does this make the article more valid, or highly unlikely?” 
How subtle it is; one word can influence our thinking.

So where does Fake News fit in?

Propaganda has been around for hundreds of years but it is only this century that a fake news story can travel the globe in a matter of minutes and create chaos in its wake.

Doesn’t it make you feel that trust is falling away from great institutions we used to happily accept as providing us with honest reporting, factual journalism?

Alternative Facts - coined by KellyAnn Conway a senior White House aide when scrabbling to explain the small numbers supporting Trump at his inauguration in January – is simply another admission of spin that we appear to have accepted as ok.

I am struggling to understand on what planet this is deemed to be valid and allowable. My understanding from this madness is that we must acknowledge that it is our responsibility to check all facts and not blindly believe what we see on every medium.

If we take on the responsibility of practicing clean communication with each other, working to use words that clearly reflect our thoughts and feelings, then we will find it is easier to spot people who are trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Whether politicians, business gurus, teachers or friends we need to question the meaning behind the words and don’t settle for what you think they might be saying.

Instead, dig deep to really find out what they mean.

One outcome of taking this on will be better relationships, greater insights and more authentic communication: if you can truly be yourself and clearly define who you are and what you want to achieve then you can expect that from others.

Practicing clean communication will bring you closer to spotting when others are unable to be clear with you.


You will develop an understanding of who you can trust and people will quickly learn that they can trust you.

So, start today, tell someone you love them: it’s your truth and a great place to begin.

Gill Tiney

Gill Tiney

Speaker | Author | Connector


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