Danger: Boring Words Equal Boring Stories
Aug 2015

Danger: Boring Words Equal Boring Stories

The quality of your conversation relies upon your ability to describe “things” – your environment, yourself, other people, abstract concepts, etc. All of your amazing thoughts and insightful opinions are limited by the words stored in your personal lexicon.

One of the most commonly shared experiences for a new parent is changing dirty diapers. But even something as mundane and unpleasant as changing a dirty diaper can contain moments of levity and fun if you play with your descriptions. There is an entire range of experiences, from the easy-clean-up to the total nuclear disaster; the more extreme, the more options are available for colorful descriptions. You could say little Rowan let loose a torrential flood of toxic waste. 100% liquid. Flammable liquid. Napalm. Have fun with your words.

Some words are simply more inherently interesting than others. Saying “his breath smelled bad” isn’t nearly as funny as saying “his breath smelled like beef stroganoff.” Regardless of the meaning, the name “beef stroganoff” just sounds funny by itself. You could substitute “beef stroganoff” with “gorgonzola cheese” and it would probably still work. Pay attention to what your circle of friends think is funny and sprinkle those words into your vernacular.

Have you ever wondered why someone else can say the same basic thing you did earlier, but receive a much better reaction? Sometimes, one or two words can make or break a phrase, joke, or story. Your conversation simply cannot be very interesting if your words are boring. You may think this is obvious, but poor conversationalists often underestimate the power of words.

Focus on making your comments more descriptive and your stories will benefit.

Consider these three ways to describe a good-looking person:

“He was good-looking.”

“He was definitely a runway model.”

“He was like Brad Pitt-level good looking.”

If I told you about a recent event I attended, which of the following statements is the least interesting?

“There were a lot of people there.”

“It was jammed from wall to wall with people.”

“I could barely move. It was like a mob scene.”

It was like Woodstock all over again, with less drugs and mud.

They all express essentially the same point, but the latter three express the concept more colorfully than the first option. Saying “There were a lot” is boring. Always remember, aim for words with potential to trigger emotional responses. The words “mob” or “Woodstock” inherently possess more meaning to people.


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