Saturday, January 16, 2016

Should You Ever Talk Turkey?

According to ex-"cast members," a terminated Disney employee is never told, "You're fired." 

The employee is told instead to "find your happiness elsewhere."

Certain subjects—tough ones like death, poverty, addiction, insanity, intolerance, financial risk and job loss—are magnets for euphemisms.

Grammarian Jane Strauss detests them.

"A euphemism is a lullaby, a sedative, a velvet glove enfolding reality’s iron fist," she says.

But euphemisms don't merely function as kindly cop-outs, Strauss says.

"A euphemism can transform a narcissist into a temperamental perfectionist, a bigot into a traditionalist, or an unhinged demagogue into a passionate idealist."

Ain't it the truth, ladies and gentlemen.

So should business communicators ever talk turkey?

To my way of thinking, 99% of the time.

Audiences prefer candor to cant. Even the targets prefer it.

And you need not be ruthless to be straightforward.

Harry Truman was once accused of giving his political foes hell.

"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."

PS: In case you're wondering, Native Americans coined the phrase "talking turkey."
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