Forgive me. I can’t help it. But those darn words and the
misuse of so many of them. It just gets to me. As I said, I just can’t help
myself. What is going on with health care reform? Yeah, yeah, there are some
nasty rumors circulating and it’s really, really confusing (and complicated),
but really, did President Obama’s communications director for health reform
have to used the word “fishy”? Apparently, she was responding to the notion
that people (the ones showing up at President Obama’s town hall meetings) are
taking words and sentences out of context and basically misleading the
administration’s plans for health care reform.
know, I learned a long, long time ago that if people are having a hard time
understanding something I or a client has said, the first place I’m going to
look is not at the audience necessarily but at the language we’re using. If you
give a colleague some text to review and she says, “Maybe it’s me, but I’m not
sure about the phrase right here . . . “ Yes, of course it’s her. It’s her
interpretation and it should count for everything. We can’t will
readers/listeners/viewers to understand what we’re saying if the language we’re
using is vague or confusing. This is why editing is so important. A lot of
people hate to do it, but honestly, not only can it be fun (yes, I said fun) cutting,
changing, clarifying and otherwise MAKING BETTER something you’ve written or
said is a good thing.
back to Linda Douglass’s comment about Americans who aren’t happy about what
they know and don’t know about health care reform—it’s bad enough to toss out
language and information that confuses and it’s another, quite patronizing I
might add, to imply that someone’s anger is fishy. This so smacks of arrogance
to me and I’m a supporter! If you’re in the world of communicating with people,
it is essential that you examine everything that comes out of your mouth and
not only question it, but be willing to know when you’ve said something that
simply doesn’t move people’s understand further along.
nothing wrong with being human. We all misspeak. We often wish we’d written one
more draft before sending something to the client or out into the world to our
media contacts. So two things: be clear on your message and if you blow it,
admit it, at least to yourself.