Be Specific


A major problem in today’s society is that we are not specific enough. Unfortunately, this may lead to misunderstandings, misconceptions, and misleading conversations. Humans are made of words, therefore we feed on description to understand and communicate to one another. However, when we do not provide all the information required, disaster strikes.

Take a look at this State Farm commercial:

Poor Jake, but as you can see, his wife believes that he is talking to another woman due to the context of the conversation. Jake is seen talking on the phone at 2 AM in the morning in a quiet but excited voice, lights off, with a person that his wife doesn’t know. Who can blame her for thinking that he was cheating on her. However this is why description is important.

Which of the two examples paints a clearer, sharper, and more focused view of the setting?

Looking at the walls and smell of the doctor’s office, John rethought about his doctor’s appointment.

The dirty, vomit yellow walls of the doctor’s office and the smell of rubbing alcohol mixed with latex caused John to rethink his doctor’s appointment.

The first example brings many questions to the reader: What color is the wall? Blue? Orange? Green? What did the office smell like? Blood? Medicine? However, the second example answer these questions. What color is the wall? A dirty, vomit yellow. What did the office smell like? Rubbing alcohol mixed with latex (Yuck). Being specific is a trait that all humans look for in conversation. If you can apply this to your everyday life, expect to find yourself to be enriched with details.

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