Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Don't Get Me Wrong"

How many times have you heard this phrase spoken? How often have you used the phrase yourself?

Explain! Contend! Argue! Convict!

And then: "But don't get me wrong..."

It's like a set of Cosmo magazines in the middle of a theological bookshelf. Like ads popping up during a climactic battle scene. Like driving towards a Sausage Deli with one eye on the Health Club membership card.

If a speaker has to use the phrase this usually means:

1. He's overdone his presentation OR

2. He's volunteering a reason to be less than fully convinced of his points OR

3. He's responding to anticipated objections or issues to his ideas

No. 1 is inexcusable.

No. 2 is tactically foolish (why are you doing your opponent's job for him? or bumping your listener's momentum?)

No. 3, apart from incorporating some of No.2's weaknesses, is plain weak. A good debater or presenter shouldn't have his delivery sound like an apology.

It should, instead, feel like a blow to the solar plexus. Or a sumptuous meal. Or a marathon. There is no pulling of punches, no reversal, no hesitation.

No comments: