I’ve spent most of my time recently not only helping clients engage the public in stuff, but also helping those clients just talk with the public. They routinely like to think that they’re communicating but they rarely are. Language is typically the culprit. It’s not a Swahili-to-English problem, but a jargon-to-human one.
This issue contains a handful of thoughts about words, and I hope that you’ll join me in this quest to stamp out arrogant obfuscation. Some of these stories are meaningful, some just for kicks. As Winston Churchill once allegedly wrote, “This is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.”
How to Use Words More Gooder
Ben Yagoda is a Professor of English and Journalism at the University of Delaware who writes extensively about language, phrases, and the rules of writing that are no longer necessarily rules. Popular culture and language evolve and change how we communicate:
Comma Comma Comma Comma Comma Chameleon
My professional friends and colleagues know that I’m comma challenged, I write like an ad guy — no rules. That’s why my buddy Marc edits this newsletter. But I’ve come to realize that a lot of people have comma issues:
Remember Tom Swifties?
Just for fun, I thought you’d enjoy looking at all of the trademarked names and terms that you may be using for generic reference. And, you’ll get extra-extra credit if you remember who Tom Swift was:
Three Words Clients Won’t Use
It’s incredibly difficult to convince clients to utter three very effective words in public meetings. These three words almost always give project owners and clients the credibility that they need, but it’s painfully tough for these folks to use them:
I was working in Boston last week. The hotels were jammed ’cause it’s graduation time. I thought I’d add some wicked-good past commencement words:
Help with Teens
If you have teenagers at home, then this one is just for you. Although it might not do a thing for you professionally, it still might help to explain all of those sounds that emanate from around your house.
Be sure to watch and listen to the related, embedded video in this story…
Stupidity at the Highest Level?
And now for my May rant: The resolution of conflict is a craft that we’re losing in my lifetime. This should make all of us sad and deeply concerned. Pop broadcast media is a caricature of journalism and gives everyone permission to act like buffoons in public and private. Consensus is an anemic and quaint notion. Beating the crap out of the other side is the goal ’cause it makes many feel tough and massages their egos. I blame Reagan:
Training and Coaching Workshops for 2013
Public anger, opposition and mistrust have changed the rules of engagement. The two-day Emotion, Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation workshop is hands-on, effective, and has never been more important.
The IAP2 Public Participation Certificate course is for people who want to do public involvement effectively. You’ll learn what works, what doesn’t, why and what to do about it. Please join us for one of these:
IAP2 Public Emotion and Outrage class:
- NEWLY ADDED July 1 & 2 in Denver/Longmont
- September 5/6 in Chicago
- October 10/11 in Calgary
IAP2 Certificate class:
- July 22 – 26 in Milwaukee
- October 28 – November 1 in Chicago
We also customize these workshops for your in-house group to give you the cultural change, strategy and tactics to move your project forward. Call me for details.
For existing U.S. class registrations click on:
For existing Canada class registrations click on:
For custom workshops call 602-266-5556
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