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  • Writer's pictureBarbara J. Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Is your communication CLEAR? Yes. When we practice these 5 principles.

CLEAR acronym is described

Clear communication is effective communication and can be achieved when you put all 5 principles represented by the five letters in CLEAR into practice:


C = Communicate clearly and simply.

L = Leverage visual aids.

E = Employ analogies and metaphors.

A = Actively listen.

R = Repeat and reinforce.


5 Principles of CLEAR Communication

CLEAR is an acronym standing for 5 principles of clear communication. This acronym was developed by Dr. Rene Roberts, MD, MS, FAAFP.  


When communicating, whether one-on-one such as in a counseling encounter, or when exchanging ideas and information with large or small audiences, putting the principles in the CLEAR acronym into practice promotes effective communication.


Principle 1                C = Communicate Clearly and Simply

Clear communication is essential for messages to be correctly received and interpreted by an audience in the way the communicator intended. Clear communication is easy to perceive, understand, and interpret. Create messages using words the audience understands. Connect new information to existing knowledge. Be concise yet conversational. Avoid jargon. Be simple and accurate.


Principle 2                L = Leverage Visual Aids 

To leverage visual aids is to maximize their impact. Choose visuals that add meaning to your message, illustrating information and ideas better than words alone. Keep visuals simple and uncluttered. Practice with props or demonstrations before using with an audience. YOU are the main visual aid so be expressive and purposeful to support your message.


Principle 3                E = Employ Analogies and Metaphors

Analogies and metaphors are literary devices that effectively explain a concept or idea by creating a vivid image, evoking emotion, and enhancing understanding and memory. An analogy compares a concept with a familiar item that seems quite different and describes how they are the same. A metaphor labels one thing as something else evoking imagery and feeling.


Principle 4                A = Actively Listen

Communicators who actively listen to their audience are more effective because listening well enables them to know the audience better and tailor communication to their needs. Listening improves the communication experience for both communicator and audience, encouraging full engagement with the message. Listening to feedback promotes ongoing improvement.


Principle 5                R = Repeat and Reinforce

Messages sent once are unlikely to be attended to, understood, remembered, or put into practice. Messages are more effective when they are repeated and reinforced. When an audience sees and hears a message multiple times, the message becomes familiar, understanding increases, and the message is remembered and more likely put into action.


Putting it all together…

When communicating, whether one-on-one such as in a counseling encounter, or when exchanging ideas and information with large or small audiences, putting the principles in the CLEAR acronym into practice promotes effective communication.


Is your communication CLEAR? Yes. When we...


“Communication works for those who work at it.” ~ John Powell


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