Blab, Blab, Blab …


Language - Presenter Media

I have no trouble doing this …

Those who know me best know that I will seldom be accused of being too brief or not using enough words, unless I am coaching or counseling, where the 80/20 rule means my mouth is open no more than 20% of the time.

That said, I believe Caitlin has a very powerful point .   We tend to live our lives, especially in the business arena, by holding to the following:

Cut to the chase …

Just give me the bottom line …

Don’t worry about the details …

Our society tends to suffer from a non-medical version of Short Attention Span Syndrome, where quicker, shorter, and less is the norm and often accepted as better by most of us without any real thought.

Of course, we are probably not talking about just using more words, which values quantity.  I would imagine that the real point here is to enhance our communication by

Using more descriptive words …

Using a broader array of words …

Using words more correctly … 

The river was up” is a phrase used in the farmlands to indicate that rain has raised the level of the river, prompting a fear of flooding.  Taciturn farmers can utter this phrase and communicate quite a lot, but most of us are not taciturn farmers.

“The river was swollen with rain, overflowing it’s banks and covering the lowlands with an expanse of muddy, destructive, and uncontrolled liquid, which swept vegetation, buildings, and people from its chaotic path” is much more evocative, at least in my opinion.

… Or if you prefer a more useful example:

“Our new hire is not working out”  is clear, direct, and often heard in the workplace.  However, you are not getting much information to help avoid a similar situation in the future.

Our new hire is not working out.  They have the technical skills that the position requires, so our hiring process worked well to assure that fit.  However, the new hire exhibited relationships behaviors which conflicted with our corporate culture, such as insisting on operating from a “lone wolf” perspective, rather than the team approach we value.  Another example concerned their focus on increasing their personal earnings, which often led to issues with other employees and a “cut-throat” reputation, which further hindered their integration into the organization.  How can we assess the cultural part of fit better with future potential employees?”

Yes, it’s more wordy … but you have a much clearer picture of what went right and what did not, along with a nudge toward adjusting for a more positive future outcome.

Several summary points:

Shorter is not always better and concise is not always helpful.

Performance improvement depends on expanding the discussion, rather than shortening it.

This is not really about using more words per se, but about making your word more useful.

Feeling very thankful that shorter is not always the best choice in the Heartland  …

John

Image:  Presenter Media

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