Any PR professional worth their salt will tell you that one of the most important traits of success is good communication. But how good is good, and what does good actually mean?

Look at the global issues plaguing us today: ISIS’s uprising in the Middle East, the Hong Kong demonstrations against Beijing, Ebola in the US, and perhaps a little closer to home, Tony Abbott’s recent burka snafu. These issues were all birthed from sheer miscommunication.

On a fundamental level, people misunderstand each other a lot.

Bad communication fractures relationships between friends, family, colleagues, authorities, and countries. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is a deeply undervalued skill that has long been neglected in favour of other supposedly important skill sets. The solution is simple.

Take care of your communication and master it completely. Speak, write, and think clearly.

There are two steps to achieve this.

7th Grade Communication

This is one of the most important things you can do for your communication. Learn to communicate at the 7th grade level. If you can explain your message to a 13 year old, you can explain it to anyone.

By communicating at this level, you are distilling the essence of your message in a concise manner. Being able to illustrate complex ideas simply is an art. Even Google co-founder Sergey Brin thinks so.

Contextual Vocabulary

Whatever field you are in, learn its vocabulary as soon as you can. You will increase the speed of your understanding, and be understood quicker in turn. Your responses will be much more consistent; they will be on point.

Every field, profession, and industry has their own unique vocabulary. If you can internalize this vocabulary quickly, the road to success will be paved that much easier.

Take basketball, for example. If you are interested in basketball, learn all the terms that commentators and professionals frequently use. When you understand these meanings, use it when you talk to your friends during basketball. This will create a noticeable effect in your game, and you will be able to appreciate the sport better.

This is the same in your professional career. The sooner you understand contextual vocabulary, the quicker you will progress. But don’t mistake this for mere technique – use this to upgrade your overall vocabulary and consequently, your knowledge of the world. It will do wonders for you.