Mid-Year Resolution: Quit using too many big words to articulate what can be said with much simpler and fewer…KICS – keep it concise stupid!

I have many bad habits.  My bad language habits are not related to profanity – although I do swear too much and needlessly.  The biggest are a tendency to repeat phrases and a tendency to over-complicate how I phrase things.  Not to discount the debilitating nature of Tourette’s syndrome, but I don’t think it’s completely out of the realm of possibility that I may have  mild form of it.  There I go again, using too many words….  F*ckPen#leEng&rgementL@biaSh$t

I'm nothing like this guy, but he too had a bad habit of trying to use too many words to sound smarter...

Partially this is a reflection on my tendency to speak without thinking, stream of consciousness… blah.  Many times in social and professional settings it’s from making fun of a phrase to the point that it becomes part of my vernacular.  “Sick” and “Bro” are both prime examples of this.

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If you’d like to check out a sick video I did with a bro about a bluebird day at Baker last winter, check it out HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I knew people in college that would describe something as “sick” (generally SoCal trash) and I started saying it so much in a mocking tone that it just stuck.  When I was running my website in San Francisco, many of our clients were promoters who had to combine in their own professional lives faux-closeness and professionalism.  As such, the term”bro” actually was traded in emails quite frequently.

In this instance, I'd probably just say, "Nice traps bro!"

Such as, “I don’t remember hiring you for a couple of these line items on this invoice.  What gives bro?”  -and- “We pay our invoices net 30 bro.”  We also had a photographer or 2 working for us that liked using bro in email correspondence, but it was generally more casual.  “There were so many hot girls bro!!!!!??”

If this guy had just dropped "bro" from his plea to stop being tased, he probably would have had more success.

In the 6 years I ran OvaHere, I heard bro from a lot of people I liked and mostly from people I didn’t.  Now, I say bro way too much as a way to mock.  Most people don’t get it.  Probably because I now sound like I’m serious when I use it. I need to stop bro.

Professionally, after we closed OvaHere, I was out in the job market for the first time, trying to figure out how to interview for professional jobs.   Bro was really not an appropriate thing to say when you’re interviewing at Google.  I’m pretty sure that interview started my bad habit of over-wording things as a strategy for suppressing my overwhelming desire to pepper my interview with bro.

The interview at Google was a little like this, except they make you take an SAT format (3 hour test) after you bomb the interview....

I’ve spent my professional life working in environments that I frankly didn’t know much about what I was trying.  The ethos of “fake it till you make it” is something I’ve really held true (I also like Woody Allen’s quote, “90% of life is just showing up”), and generally speaking it’s been effective.  However, when interviewing for a company that is trying to fill a very specific role, “fake it till you make it” – just doesn’t work.  They know.

With Google, I did actually know quite a bit about the Adwords business (from buying them with OvaHere) and research, and they were interested in my experience pitching and account management of online advertising for large brands (we worked with Miller Brewing Co. and Toyota, among others that I brought on).  Unfortunately, this was my first real interview that wasn’t for some menial college job, and in hindsight it really showed.  I was way too wordy.

Instead of taking a deep breath, asking questions back, and really spending the time to think about the best answers to the questions the interviewer was asking me – I filled dead air with a bunch of big, meaningless words.  I need to stop filling dead air and embrace it.

In my relationship, I’ve started saying “sorry” when I don’t really mean it.  Generally it’s from my sales experience, where I’ve learned you never say sorry, you say, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  This is not an effective or caring mediation technique when arguing with your wife.  These phrases are generally, “I’m sorry, but…” translation “I’m not sorry at all.”  Resolution, only say sorry when you truly mean it.

I have acquaintances that also have this bad tendency to over-word.  I actually took a class from one and he was the master of using too many and seemingly “big” words to articulate simple thoughts or teachings.  If a master of such things is possible or warranted.

I’m friends with him on Facebook (par for the course in a modern graduate program focusing on digital media) and think his latest post pretty much sums up his similar struggle with over-wordage:  “Can’t say that I have ever been publicly lauded before – still, Professor ______ ____’s words give me pause to ponder as I step from some deep hanging out in the ____ __ _____ to carry forward the work into some new diachronic adventures in the _____ ______ ______ _______ program.”  What does that even mean?   Couldn’t he just say, “It’s been a great ride, thanks for the compliment, and I look forward to my new endeavor?”

Oh well, it’s not his mid-year resolution.

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One thought on “Mid-Year Resolution: Quit using too many big words to articulate what can be said with much simpler and fewer…KICS – keep it concise stupid!

  1. James September 9, 2010 at 6:07 pm Reply

    I think I should change this from KICS (keep it concise stupid) to KIRSASACS (keep it really short and sweet and concise stupid)

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