In praise of words

“As contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.” 

President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 2011

This was my favorite phrase in last night’s State of the Union. Why? Because the words are so great. For one thing, they’re plain old garden variety anyone with a seventh grade education can understand them words. For another thing; they’re accurate. Certainly when speaking to a room full of public servants. (OK, that moniker may not seem so accurate to you, but I digress.)

I absolutely LOVE words like “messy” in a speech. Messy says something, it’s wonderfully descriptive. We ALL know from messy, whether we are messy or not. The word “messy” is not a word typically associated with the pomp and circumstance with our Congress, or the building in which its work is done. Yet when people with strongly held opposing views try and hammer out policies and laws, messy is probably all over the place.

Here’s my point: if our president can use a word like “messy” in his most high profile presentation, why can’t we? Ditch the five syllable super smarty pants words for your next presentation. Use juicy, real, descriptive ones instead. You’ll have the audience eating out of your hand. And you’ll be heard.


Share this post