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Beating Around The Bush

November 16, 2008 :: Admissionado Team

Major trend we see all the time, TALKING AROUND A POINT. Check out the following examples.

EXAMPLE 1 – My neighbor had a tree on his property that grew to an unwieldy size and started to encroach on my front yard. I politely asked him to at least trim the tree; that way he could keep what was rightfully his without infringing on my comfort. He refused my verbal request point blank and I was forced to…

EXAMPLE 2 – A guy who lives in a neighboring territory had an organic, arboreal growth that created an unfavorable situation. I sprung to action and made a request that endeavored to solve the crisis. This person didn’t respond agreeably and the situation became…

In example 1, we get it. Not particularly fancy or even “compelling” writing, but at the very least, it’s fairly clear. Example 2 describes the EXACT SAME SITUATION. But can you see the difference? Example 2 doesn’t say anything concretely. This is an example of “talking around the point.””Neighboring territory?” What the hell does that mean? “Arboreal growth” … really? Why on Earth describe it like that? “I sprung to action” is vague compared to “I politely asked him.” We can PICTURE politely asking someone a question… what does springing to action mean?

Notice, however, that the “truth” value in each is exactly the same. As you read through your own work (and while you’re writing) always check to see if you’re writing something as straightforwardly as you possibly can. Vagueness is sloppy. And can say a lot about how you think and act. The clearer you are as a writer, the easier it is to picture you being “clear” in real life. As a thinker, as a leader, as a doer, you name it. Might not seem obvious, that there’s this annoying spectrum of possibility in saying something: CRYSTAL CLEAR on the one hand allllll the way to NEBULOUS AND CONFUSING on the other. The spectrum exists though, and it’s up to you to challenge yourself and not be indirect. Say what you mean.