I Know Every Word

Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).

For those of you that have browsed my About page, you’ve seen this. The ability to string big words together comes naturally. It stems from a competitive sibling environment where puns reigned supreme and verbal Judo was the norm.

If I don’t know it, I can fake it with confidence. Most people will not admit their own ignorance and back down from a challenge. I know from experience that you can be the smartest person in the room by just a little bit, and that is enough. No one needs to know if the difference is measured in millimeters or kilometers. Being ahead by any distance is sufficient to win.

I’m not pompous, just brilliant. Observe:

Allow me to pontificate in erudite terminology to demonstrate my lexical superiority for those fortunate enough to be beneficiaries of my intellectual creations. This summary provides a glimpse into the cerebral prominence available to my audience.

Readers will benefit from the enormity of my ability to transform meager communications into radiant examples of obfuscation that frustrate lesser individuals from penetrating their true meaning. The conversion from clear language into elevated phrases only graspable by the scarce initiated provides a filter that inhibits scrutiny and creates collaborative barriers to the market space.

Meeting Whiplash

Curve Balls

When was the last time you were completely stumped by a question, a request, or a situation you found yourself in? How did you handle it?

“Now we’ll have the quarterly status report delivered by Tim.”

Tim sat there in a stupor. He wasn’t prepared to give a report at this meeting.

He was only there because his boss had called in sick. Tim had received the phone call only twenty minutes ago. Something about bad seafood and bodily fluids erupting uncontrollably. Worse than that, his boss hadn’t completed the report for this morning’s meeting.

Tim had searched the desk, computer, copier, and even trash cans to find enough information for a presentation. Here he sat with a sloppy stack of mismatched papers hastily assembled and surely incoherent.

He cleared his throat and stood up. His initial mumbles sparked a few murmurs until he restarted, louder this time.

“Quarterly metrics are improved by 4 percent over last quarter. Incidents are down. Compliance is up. Emerging initiatives appear to be developing growth synergies across business sectors…”

The jargon flowed freely. The terms meaningless to him. This was how his boss always spoke. Tim hadn’t realized how much he’d absorbed through daily interaction with him. The meeting attendees listened and nodded as the gobbledygook language rolled off his tongue. Like a politician, he filled the air with words, conveying nothing.

After twenty minutes he stopped and sat down. He had made no conclusion. He had simply reached his personal limit of babble and cut off his last sentence abruptly. No one seemed to notice.

“Thank you, Tim, for that insightful discourse. I’m sure we’ll be able to incorporate some of your ideas into the next paradigm.”