Are people using too many words? Let my neighbor help.

by guest blogger Kim, my neighbor

Hi there, everybody. Jen asked me to write a guest post today all about my consulting service, so here goes!

Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with a loved one, friend, or stranger, and suddenly you feel as if you’re totally lost? Like they are about 5 topics ahead of you and you’re struggling to keep up, and they hate you? Well, stop worrying – it’s not your fault. Well, it probably is your fault, but you shouldn’t let your shortcomings hold you back.

I can help you help other people talk on YOUR level. My qualifications? I have years of training as an editor, and a husband who likes to stump me with brainteasers every single day. Shout out to my honey!

I know I’m digressing, but… I have to brag about my better half’s delightful sense of humor. I’m truly #blessed! Why just yesterday I asked him if the living room seemed darker than usual, and he was like “if this senile behavior continues to manifest itself, I will have no choice but to pursue legal guardianship.” Hah! What a goofball!

Seriously, though, next time someone asks you a “simple” question that’s really not, try this: Write down the person’s complete question, then cross out all the extraneous words with a red pen and hand the paper to him or her. Or better yet, put it in the mail so it arrives a few days later. People really appreciate this type of indirect feedback!

Here are a couple of practice rounds to get you started.

Exercise 1: A simple question

“Can you pass me the remote, or am I not allowed to have it today?”

See how much simpler that is? Now you can respond with a simple “sure, here you go” or “get it yourself.” A good rule of thumb is that if a question can only be answered with another question, such as “whaaa?”, the asker probably needs to prune some extra words. In the next exercise, we flip to the other side and look at a too-wordy response to a simple question.

Exercise 2: A simple answer

“Do you know where the grocery club card is?”

<sigh>It’s on the desk next to the computer. I mean, we just had this conversation a week ago. You forgot, didn’t you. Again.

See that? You just saved them 15 words and one noisy exhalation! Way to reduce your carbon footprint! Of course, in an ideal world you would keep better track of rewards cards, seeing as how they are more precious than life itself. You only have 47 of them, so it shouldn’t be that difficult.

So, do you have excess words polluting the air around you? Put them in the comments and I’ll see what I can do to help! Oops, gotta go – sounds like I put the wrong grade of plastic in the recycling bin again. I know, I’m the worst!


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