The Bristol Press – FRIDAY FICKS: Don’t transmogrify handy fruit
“Lawyer Ficks has turned the facts around,” my opponent said in closing argument. ” What did he do ? replied the referee.
“He transformed the facts.” The puzzled referee then asked, “what does that mean?”
“Well,” the attorney said, “he twisted the facts to fit his case.”
The referee’s response? “So why didn’t you just say that?”
Exactly. Why didn’t you just say that? When I first heard the word I thought it was entirely made up. About a month later, I came across the word in a New York Times article. Then, and only then, did I believe it was real.
For kicks, I later used the word in a settlement letter submitted to a judge/mediator. When the lawyers gathered in the judge’s chambers for the mediation session, he asked me what the word “transmogrification” meant. After happily explaining it (with my newfound knowledge), the judge pointedly told me to “never” use that word again. Lesson learned.
A recent UK survey revealed some of the most irritating business jargon. “Fruits at your fingertips”, “thinking outside the box”, “touching the base” and “staying one step ahead”, were in the top 10 list. “Game changer”, “drill down”, “ballpark figure” and “playing hardball” were in the middle of the no-fly list, along with “ride the wave” and “level the playing field”. And the not-so-surprising, but most validating takeaway? 90% of respondents think people use such jargon to hide the fact that they just don’t understand what they are talking about.
Aside from this isolated misstep with the judge/mediator, I’m not a big fan of speaking or writing in jargon. Nor am I trying to hide anything. With that in mind, I’d like to share a few jargon-free thoughts that have served me well over time, ones that I seem to lean more on in these tumultuous times.
Live what you teach and love what you preach. Give more, expect less, while reluctantly forgiving more and less. Humiliate more, smooth less. Love and listen more, hate and talk less. Include more, exclude less, while believing more and doubting less. Read more, scroll less, while viewing more and checking less. Smile and dream more, frown and fear less. And for your physical and mental health, move more and sit less
Transmog? Ripe fruit? I do not think so. Just plain language that may work for you. I invite you to be curious.
Carl Ficks helps busy professionals and their teams get back in shape to reduce stress and increase productivity. He practiced law in New Britain for many years and is a proud member of the Generale Ameglio Society. He’s run and cycled thousands of miles and competed in dozens of races, so when you’re ready to get back in the game, email him at [email protected]