Simple tips for useful and sweet communication


Useful is good. Enjoyable is good. But both is the perfect style for your communication. In this short piece, Communication Coach Jon Torrens gives a few simple tips.

Jon Torrens presents his popular 'Confident communication' course with Cambridge Network's Learning Collaboration on Monday July 9th - find out more and sign up here.

Jon writes:

My communication philosophy is based on a latin phrase ‘utile dulci’*. Literally: ‘useful and enjoyable’. Here’s how you can do it.

Make What You’re Saying Useful

This can be tricky; you just have to do a bit of homework:

  1. Find out the pain point of your audience. You can do this beforehand and state it at the start of your piece, or just ask them at the start.
  2. Show your ingenious solution. Give useful advice and tips in a simple, practical form that can be applied immediately. It may be ‘let’s discuss this further’.

If it’s not useful then why are you saying it? “What’s the use?” is usually a phrase signalling that we’re admitting defeat, but you can use it to find the applicable purpose of your communication.

Make it Enjoyable

This can be even trickier; you just need the right strategy:

  1. Interact.
  2. Adapt.
  3. Lose your ego.

A useful – and enjoyable – way to approach this is to put yourself into your audience’s shoes again and consider what would make this particular communication a little sweeter. A different environment, perhaps? If it’s sunny (and it’s very sunny here in Cambridgeshire at the moment) then go outside, make the interaction more fulfilling. Or bring biscuits. Or do the meeting in the pub. Or make your presentation with no slides, but props instead. Think outside the box. Then realise that the box is unnecessary packaging and you’re trying to cut down on that sort of thing. Metaphorically.

There’s also a third, secret stage: keep it simple. This helps the useful stuff stand out, and makes it more enjoyable by keeping the time used to a minimum. Bingo.

* etymology: ‘utile’ – utility, ‘dulci’ – sweet.



Some people seem to be able to do one or the other of these, and some seem to be able to do neither. However, if you can do both, you’ll hit a magic combination which means that your audience won’t be able to get enough of what you’re saying! They’ll remember not only the information, but also that you made it interesting. Lovely stuff.



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By reducing stress and fear, I make giving talks enjoyable.

Using my experience as an introvert, stand-up comic and video games designer, I deliver short, fun but effective training to create successful, confident speakers. I work with both companies and individuals.

All my training is currently online. I can use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype.

Jon Torrens