This is one of the Maxims that really needs very little in the way of explanation. Instead, this is one that we need to heed more in everyday life as we tend to beat around the bush when we have to say something that is possibly not pleasant. I have a friend who often complains that one of her faults is that she tends to speak bluntly at all times. Yet this Maxim would teach us that this would not be as much of a fault as she tends to think.
If we speak plainly, there is a much smaller chance that we will be misunderstood than if we use flowery words. If we speak plainly, we do not have to rely on people catching ‘hints’ and then getting upset when those hints are not picked up on. And, most importantly, if we speak plainly we can often avoid hurt feelings by making things clear from the beginning of a conversation.
This Maxim does not contradict the one that tells us to “Speak well of everyone” as we can be both plain and courteous at the same time. It is a measure of us when we see how well we can balance the two. Both are needed – especially for us today.