We all have our favorite sayings. I have a friend, Doug, who says: “Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn sometimes” when talking about someone who just got lucky. It wasn’t skill or ambition - just dumb luck. I have come to know this saying as a Doug’ism. I always quote him when I use it.
Good speakers and presenters will use little phrases (or “isms”) because the practice simplifies ideas, interjects some humor and makes the concept and the person more memorable. The goal is to help the listener understand the concept and make a connection back to the speaker.
I remember the first time I heard a head of IT comment that the website improvements we were discussing were akin to “putting lipstick on pig.” His point was the underlying service delivery needed more focus than the website. That was about 10 years ago, and that was a Charlie’ism. I have heard it many times since, but I still remember the first.
Ever heard of the guardrail strategy? That can happen when you have a very active, inpatient investor involved in your business. You rapidly make a plan, put the foot on the gas, only to come to a turn and hit the guardrail. You correct the strategy and mash on the gas again, only to find you have plowed into the opposing guardrail. You continue making steering corrections, while bouncing from guardrail to guardrail, never smoothly proceeding down the center of the road. That was a Jennifer’ism.
I have worked throughout the southern U.S. and found many fun sayings that really work nicely to make a point. For example, Render was a man who didn’t mince words. When he heard an idea that didn’t make sense, he would say: “That’s about as useful as a trap door on a canoe!” I still know that one as a Render’ism.
Yiddish terms are great for this. David, a global strategy leader, was quick to explain the term “kibbitz”. He explained it meant to offer comments which are often unwanted. A kibbitzer gives unasked for advice. He would use it when talking about improving the message of our sales and marketing organization. That was a great David’ism.
Find your own interesting colloquialisms and expressions that will add to your vocabulary and make you memorable, humorous and easy to understand.
After completing the Communicate to Win workshop, you will have the most compelling argument and the best ideas. With this complete package, you will gain the tools necessary to guarantee that you have the best ideas and that you can present them confidently so you will WIN. Read what participants say.
photo by Katrina Snaps. Used by permission.