The Power of Words Part II

Written by on August 9, 2010 in News with 0 Comments

Who Writes Product Manuals?  In the last post, entitled “The Power of Words, Part I,” I talked about the Power of Words, suggesting that sometimes we don’t even know the power of our words.  Perhaps, sometimes, we don’t know the power of  the lack of words.  And doesn’t it seem that people have very short attention spans today?  Twitter (which I am not yet on) is limited to 140 characters.  That’s not much space, but it serves its intended purpose of being a headline.  We live in a world of headlines and sound bites, and seem happy to avoid anything that is going to take any investment of time to speak or write, or to listen or read.  Doesn’t this have the makings for disaster in the future?  Isn’t this especially so in a world where our scientists are discovering more and more about distant universes, or the properties of life deep under the oceans, or advances in medicine?   If life becomes a matter of simple one or two word commands or explanations for most of us, can we begin to understand more complex ideas or propositions or explanations?  What happens to reasoning, thinking, analyzing?  Most things are just not that simple! And what of those who spend the time trying to learn, to research, to investigate, to experiment?  Are they going to want to spend time trying to explain things to those of us who can’t be bothered to listen or to read or think about anything that will require our time and energy?  Maybe they will stop trying to learn.  Then where will we be?    We all must be thinkers and learners and researchers and readers and listeners!  It makes for a better and more interesting world!

I spent three hours yesterday trying to install a light on our garage.  The instructions came in multiple languages, with pictures, but which made little sense in actual application.  It should not have been very hard, and of course there were warnings all over the place about the dangers of electricity, but the writer could not communicate how to properly do the installation.  The “writer” tried to be concise, to the point that it was impossible to understand how to do the installation.  And most of my time was spent trying to compare the instructions and pictures with what I was seeing in the electrical box and in the parts of the light to be installed.  Not enough words!  More words and better pictures could have saved me hours of time, not to mention aggravation!  Ultimately, the instructions were almost worthless.  While brevity is a quality to be admired in speaking and writing, it should not be a substitute for intelligent and effective communication.  Mark Twain once wrote to someone: “I was going to write you a short letter, but I didn’t have the time.”  Mark Twain, one of the greatest writers in American history, understood that it takes time to be brief, to take a complex idea and reduce it to as few words as possible.  I doubt very much that those who prize brevity over content are writing with the talent of Mark Twain, and those who refuse to read anything that does not seem brief to them are probably not the most thoughtful of readers.  Some things demand longer explanations because they are complex things!  If a doctor told you that you had a “boo boo” instead of telling you that you had a torn rotator cuff or kidney stone, would you feel comfortable that he or she knew what they were talking about?  It’s a succinct answer, but it’s not effective.  Don’t be too busy to listen or learn! Don’t be too busy to effectively communicate!

Above is a poem entitled “A Thousand Dreams.”  This is one of my favorite  love poems.  It’s short, and won’t require that much thinking.  The key here is the beauty of the thought, and the words are used to convey that thought.  Here’s a way to show your love for your favorite person.  This is a wedding poem that also works as a love poem or as an engagement poem.    You can see both the longer version and the shorter version in our Store.  If you are in love, or if you are getting engaged, or if you are getting married, this is a great way to show your love!  It can be read in your ceremony if you want.  We have some great wedding or love or engagement poems, and with your photograph, it makes a great gift!    Go to Store, click on Special Occasions, and click on Weddings/Engagements.   (copyright  Daniel Mark Extrom, 2009-2010)

PS  I would love to hear some comments on the picture poems!  Do you like them?  Any ideas for new ones?  Any ideas for different presentations?  Don’t be shy!

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About the Author

About the Author: Husband. Father. Friend. Writer. Lawyer. Businessman. Gift maker. Poet. Lover of learning. This site is a labor of love, a mid-life crisis come to life. I love words and I love making gifts that I know people love! They please the eyes and touch the heart! (I hope!) .

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