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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Making a point

Some people like to beat around the bush when they talk. They will go round and round before they reach to the point that they want to make. If we are unlucky, these beaters around the bush would not even get to their point. Or worse still, they will forget what it was that they wanted to say in the first place.

There are others, meanwhile, who just go straight to the point. These straight talkers would just fire away what they wanted to say point blank, no holds barred and unplugged. No time wasted here and no one would be left waiting for the point to come, but more often than not, most would be left pondering as to why this straight shooter was so blunt.

Of course, the best is for us if we could balance between the two. Go straight to the point by all means, but butter it up a bit with some niceties and compliments. The trick, of course, is to be able to create a moderate approach to the two. Here, moderation is the key word.

A former colleague many many years ago made a remark that he found my way of putting points across as being too surgical. I asked him what he meant by that. He replied that I was too matter-of-factly in my approach.

I can't say that I disagree with his assessment. When it comes to things academic, I would prefer to be "surgical" as he so rightly said. But when it comes to things creative, I can be quite "theatrical" in my language with all the idioms, wordplays and what have you. I suppose it very much depends on the situation. On certain occasions, it helps to be theatrical in your approach. And there are times when you need to be surgical.

As for going straight to the point, another former colleague related to me an interesting story. Her daughter told her one day, "Mom, please tell daddy to quit smoking. I don't want him to die young." And the father was sitting in the living room puffing away. I wonder how he felt when he heard that?

Talk about being straightforward. Then again, most kids do speak their mind unabashed. It's a pity that this, more often than not, gets lost in that process called "growing up."

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