What am I, nine?
Do I get, like, a badge?
Interesting point made by Matthew Flinders, a politics professor at the University of Sheffield, in the wake of Boris Johnson’s disastrous CBI ‘Peppa Pig’ riff:
“He’s absolutely fantastic in terms of his performative skills and his ability to work a crowd. He uses speeches not to convey information but as a tool of entertainment, to ingratiate himself and develop himself as a character.”
I thought it a very telling illustration of the difference between any communication’s supposed/purported objective and its true goal, often all but totally divorced from the notional. It flags up for any communicator the crucial importance of being crystal clear not about what you’re trying to say, but what you’re trying to achieve.
Browsing around the whys & wherefores of social media t’other day, I stumbled across this:
Love that final sentence (in brackets). Simple, clear, immediate – and with a visual ‘tag’ – the paragraph itself – that means no-one who encounters it will ever again lack for a pretty good rule-of-thumb feel for how long a tweet can be.
Excellent communication! Ginger beers all round.
Getting well into my second rewatch of The West Wing, and came across a presidential soliloquy that echoes something I came across recently: Alexander Pope stressing the importance of words’ sounds, and the importance of having them tally with – more, reinforce – their meaning:
BARTLET: Words, when spoken out loud for the sake of performance, are music. They have rhythm, and pitch, and timbre, and volume. These are the properties of music, and music has the ability to find us and move us, and lift us up in ways that literal meanings can’t. Do you see?
ABBEY: You are an oratorical snob.
BARTLET: Yes, I am. And God loves me for it.
As do we all, Mr President, as do we all.
Further to recent ponderings over the continued centrality of engagement in the communications process, I stumbled across this clipping from a few years back, singing a very similar song…
“Emotional resonance”. How many companies – how many professional communicators – really understand it, or grasp its importance?
Came across a couple of crackers recently. First, the very-much-alive ‘dead as a doornail’, an expression which:
“… can be traced back to 1350, but could be even older. In the days before screws were commonly used in carpentry, nails secured one piece of wood to another. Unlike screws however, nails could often loosen over a period of time. To prevent this, it became common practice, particularly on large medieval doors, that when a nail was hammered through the wood it would be flattened or clinched on the inside. The process of flattening the nail would mean that the nail would be ‘dead’ as it couldn’t be used again.”
The other – “like cheese at fourpence” – which I hadn’t even come across, being a soft southerner, but which is apparently very much in everyday use in its homeland:
‘…the mill towns of Lancashire, where fourpence was considered expensive for cheese, so cheese at that price would not be bought.’ So, say, a woman whose date failed to show up: “He left me standing there like cheese at fourpence”.”
One hates to grumble but…
Amidst the slew of recent accusations levelled at Facebook over its (alleged) stoking of the fires of teen angst, I couldn’t help but grimace at
‘super tragic’? Please. With two daughters I am very much alert to the pressures of social media life, but won’t somebody please give a thought to the feelings of us gnarled old literary fellers?