This principle is related to another principle, known as the principle of adaptation—of filling the symbols to specific receivers. The emphasis being given to the fact that effective communication adapts to the receiver's filter.
Adapting is not an easy task. The communicator has to clearly visualize the receiver. He should form a mental picture of who are the receivers, how much they know about the subject, what their educational levels are and how they think. Then keeping the receivers' image in mind, the communicator should select the symbols that will communicate to them.
In many business situations, adapting to the receivers will mean communicating at a level lower than that of the communicator. If the communicator has to communicate with people who are below his educational level or level of understanding, he will need to simplify his message, that is he will need to communicate in the simple words and concepts the receivers will understand. If, for example, you are to notify an urgent matter to a group of illiterate workers, you will need to communicate in their every day words.
The task of adaptation is relatively simple when you write to someone who is about as educated and informed on your subject as you are You need only write or speak to a person like yourself, using language that is easy for you to understand.
Adaptation becomes easy when you are communicating to a single receiver or a homogenous group. But when the number of receivers are many with diverse qualification (ranging from university graduates to people with almost no formal education) the task of adaptation becomes difficult. You have to aim at the lowest level of the group. If you write (or speak) at a higher level, you will likely communicate with those at the lower levels.
As a matter of fact, adaptation is basic to communication and that can be achieved to a great extent by giving stress to simplicity—using simple words, short sentences, and brief paragraphs. You will need to think of simplicity in terms of adaptation.