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The Right Word…

Posted by on March 12th, 2013 with 0 Comments

Ever told a girl she was cute and had her get angry at you?
“Cute?” She says, “Is that how you see me? Cute?”

Now you embark on a word search, digging for a descriptor that’s better – or at least more agreeable – than ‘cute’.
Beautiful. Pretty. Sexy. Alluring. Gorgeous. Or the appallingly generic ‘attractive’.

The difference between a word and the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug
– Mark Twain

Specificity is the god of alignment.
Specificity creates alignment. And vice-versa.

Ask your spouse to grab a shirt for you and they are likely to ask for specificity, “Which shirt?”
Ask your spouse to grab your Metallica tee shirt, and they are likely to be aligned. And then ask you to reconsider your choice.

When Mark Twain wanted the image in a reader’s mind to match the image in his mind, he was very deliberate about his choice of words. So deliberate, in fact, that many generations later his words still summon those images perfectly in our minds.

The same principle applies at home, at school, or at work.

  • Can you picture the behavior that you would like your children to exhibit?
  • Do you know exactly what the output you want your students to produce should look like?
  • Do you have a vision in your mind of the product you want an employee or teammate to create?

If the answer is no, then you need to sort it out in your own mind and get specific, or give them the freedom to do whatever they think is best.

If the answer is yes, then you need to share your vision – specifically.

As far as which word to describe your girlfriend?
I’m not getting involved… because staying out of couple’s arguments is SMART as Hell!

SMART as Hell Exercise

  1. List: 3 goals or actions you’ve been asked to own.
  2. Identify: Any vague or general words in those goals. Could these words lead to a disagreement on whether the goal or action was completed successfully?
  3. Align: around specific words that will create alignment of goals and actions. 

Share your questions, thoughts, and comments below.

 

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