How do you express yourself? Recently, I was asked what my boss would say about me. Since I just asked for a recommendation letter, I had a quick answer. Then I started thinking, if it could be reduced to one word. Do you remember the famous line from Wall Street, when Gordon Gecko refers to greed? Doesn’t that one word describe the whole movie?
Twitter only allows 140 characters! We are required to be brief. Texting and instant messaging also requires us to be brief. Isn’t it harder to express ourselves in just a few words? Emails in business should be short and to the point. Most of us read way too much extraneous information. I took a reading class one summer in high school to help me increase my reading speed and comprehension. By the end of the course, I could read 2,000 words per minute with 80-90% comprehension.
Although I can and do read a great deal every day, I would rather read less. Do schools prepare us to write less? My teachers and professors always assigned papers with a minimum number of words or pages. Do you remember your professor or teacher asking you to write a 500 word theme or a 10-15 page paper? I know I do! A short essay can be two pages. The typical structure of introduction, main body and a conclusion requires nearly two pages anyway.
Learning to write clearly, succinctly and directly is rarely taught in school! This will be a very important skill in the world of Facebook, Twitter, emails, and instant messaging! Since everything is going mobile, it will be very important to communicate in just a few words. One of my previous articles “Can You Tell A Story or a Joke” shows how communication is important. Describing it succinctly is even more important! better start practicing because we are here! Just a few years ago, we sat in front of 19 inch monitors to read emails, do research and write our responses. Today we use 15 inch laptops, notebooks and now tablets instead.
More recently, smart phones and tablets are replacing desktop computers for many people. We are a mobile society, no longer reading newspapers or watching standard TV. We now have a steady diet of downloading movies, music, television programs, videos, online casino games, books, magazines and news on our mobile devices. Why don’t we have time to watch, read, enjoy or relax with this media at home? Guess what, we do it everywhere!
We are in the information age! We can access so much more information than previous generations, but do we have the time? What is the conclusion? We cram everything into less and less time. We now keep up our friendships, meet people, socialize, find our mates, shop, find jobs, and do almost everything electronically! I know this may be trendy and even easier than before, but is it too much?
When I ride my bicycle, I see people on their phone. In the car, store, bathroom and elevator, I am inundated with other people’s conversations and telephone calls. Do you really have so much to say? I see people texting, in the car, walking, in the classroom, restaurants and probably everywhere else. If you could write less and communicate better, would you have time to do something else or just do more of the same?
Is this just a rant? Am I longing for the good old days when communication meant a simple phone call or a written note? No, not at all, but maybe we could be more effective or efficient! Learn to say less, but say it effectively. Take the time for a conversation, you know the face to face kind or read a print book. Don’t cram so much in a 24 hour day! Have some down time and smell the roses before time slips by. At least learn to express yourself in fewer words. How do you express yourself?