Monday, September 05, 2016

TM Speech: How NOT to Say it (No Running Content)

Dearest Readers,



I have recently given some speeches in connection with my Toastmasters International membership. Some are related to running, and some are not. When possible, I will publish the speeches. This is one of them.

How NOT to Say it

According to the Competent Communicator guide, the theme is supposed to be, “How to Say it”. But the title of my speech is, “How NOT to Say it.” Note the subtle difference. I will provide several examples of how NOT to say things clearly and understandably. I sincerely hope that my evaluator, and everyone else in the audience, will be able to tell whether I’m how to saying it correctly and how not to saying it.

I am supposed to select the right words and sentence structure. I am supposed to use rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas. And I am supposed to eliminate jargon and unnecessary words and use correct grammar. I will do my best to violate these objectives as much as I can.  I’ll also provide some of favorite quotes that manage to have some fun with the English Language. In the process, I hope we can all have some fun.

My friends and family have only vague ideas about what I do here at Progressive. But as I explained to my wife the other day, it’s really pretty simple. I’m a PPA in the ICOE, which is part of EPMO. Of course the EPMO is in IT. My PPA role within ICOE is that of an EA. I could have been a PA, but EA suits me better. All the EA’s use QSM Slim’s toolset for parametric analysis. We even include analogous estimation displayed on logarithmic charts based on benchmarked project history.

Did you catch the jargon and unnecessary words?

Besides explaining all of this to my wife, who was not very impressed but kept asking further questions even though she wasn’t interested in the least at that moment, I am also fond of explaining the project estimation procedure to those whom I am providing estimates to.

Notice the run-on sentence and incorrect grammar? The last time I did launch into such a description in real life, I was asked by someone with a straight face, about the flux-capacitor. The flux-capacitor is the power supply for the time-machine Delorean car in Back to the Future. Some of you may remember some of the lines where the character named Doc says, “the Flux Capacitor needs 1.21 gigawats. Great Scott Marty, where am I going to get 1.21 gigawats?”

Staying with the Science Fiction theme a little more, I used to enjoy the Star Trek television show and movies. In the Next Generation series especially, the characters made great use of technobabble. Technobabble is defined as technical jargon that is purposely incomprehensible. 

  • Fortunately, I was able to create a chronoton-infused serum that brought you back into temporal alignment.
  • Equalize the temporal subspace frame with the argine transducers and multisynaptic alpha-wave.
  • Chaotic space intersects ours at the eighteenth dimensional gradient. Voyager entered through A trimetric fracture. 


One of the objectives is to use rhetorical devices. But these can go wrong at times as well. Here I have some actual examples of bad metaphors used by students and submitted by their teachers.

  • His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  • He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
  • Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  • He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.


I will wrap up my speech with a few other quotes. You may have heard some of these before.

  • One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know. – Groucho Marx
  • Rumors Of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. – Mark Twain
  • Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful... It's the transition that's troublesome. -Isaac Asimov
  • You can observe a lot by watching. - Yogi Berra
  • Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical. - Yogi Berra
  • If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. - Yogi Berra
  • There was a man who entered a local paper's pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.


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