JerryBrownPR
303.594.8016

Archive for January 2015

Writing tip: Get rid of euphemisms

 

Writing tip: Get rid of euphemisms

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Writing tip: Get rid of euphemismsPutting euphemisms in your writing is like dragging the cutting edge of a knife across a rough surface. Both dull the sharp edges.

A knife with a dull blade doesn’t cut as well as a sharp one. And writing full of euphemisms doesn’t have the impact of just saying what you mean.

I’m old. But you can’t call me that, apparently. I’m a senior citizen. Or “older.” Isn’t “older” older than “old” — as in old, older, oldest? Not in the world of euphemisms and political correctness. And it’s not even polite, apparently, to notice that someone’s old enough to be called a senior citizen. Or old enough to be eligible for a senior discount. Being old isn’t something to be ashamed of. Unless you’re also old, I got here by living longer than you have so far. I hope you make it to where I am now and beyond. You’ll be old, too, if you do.

I’m old. And I’ll be old until I die. Then I’ll be dead. There are no value judgments in any of those words.

In the world of euphemisms, people don’t die. They pass away. Or just pass. And they’re not dead. They’ve left us.

People who can’t see are blind. Calling them visually impaired doesn’t improve their eyesight. People who can’t hear are deaf. Calling them hearing impaired doesn’t improve their hearing.

Used cars are now previously owned vehicles. Why?

Some companies refer to employees as associates or partners or team members. And some of them consider the word “employee” to be an insult. Really? What’s insulting about being an employee?

You get the idea, I hope. Maybe I’ve offended some of you. I hope not. I haven’t used any foul or derogatory language.

I’m not suggesting you go around insulting people by using derogatory labels to describe them. But I am suggesting you skip the euphemisms and just say what you mean. You’re writing (or speaking) will have more impact.

And, if you’re a fan of George Carlin, here’s a funny monologue about euphemisms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuEQixrBKCc.

We all have stories to tell. Do you need help telling yours?

————-

Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist who helps clients get their stories heard, understood and remembered. Need help telling your story? You can reach Jerry at 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Storytelling Tip: Getting Down to One Idea

 

Storytelling Tip: Getting Down to One Idea

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Consultant
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Storytelling Tip: Getting Down to One IdeaWhat’s the one thing you want your audience to hear, understand and remember?

If you’re like me, getting down to a single message can be hard.  You’re not sure which one your audience will find most interesting. So, you want to throw in a few others for good measure.

The problem is that throwing too many messages at your audience is confusing. They don’t know what you’re trying to tell them. You’ll be helping them understand what you want them to hear if you choose just one. And one message is easier to understand and remember than several.

The NFL playoffs are in full swing. They offer a good model for choosing your one message.

As I write this, eight teams are entering the weekend as playoff contenders. Only four will be left when the weekend is over. Only two of the four will be left after next weekend. And only one will emerge as the Super Bowl champion.

You can do the same thing.

List all the messages you’d like to consider for your story.

Then eliminate half of them. Pick the ones you’re willing to let go of first. Then keep going.

Once you’ve cut the list in half, do it again. And keep doing it until you’re down to one.

That’s your winner. That’s your one message for your story.

That doesn’t mean the other messages are gone forever. It just means they didn’t make the cut for the story you’re telling today.

And if you’re rooting for a team in the playoffs, I hope it wins — unless, of course, you’re rooting against my team.

We all have stories to tell. Do you need help telling yours?

————-

Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist who helps clients get their stories heard, understood and remembered. Need help telling your story? You can reach Jerry at 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Denver PR Firm, APR Credentials
JerryBrownPR member of South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce

Contact Jerry

Jerry@JerryBrownPR.com | 303.594.8016