Monday, September 26, 2016

Vocabulary Expansion Words: New Edition of “Words of the Month”

Have you checked out the latest edition (July/August 2016) of “Words of the Month,” my free vocabulary enrichment feature, which has been online since this past weekend? Here are the six featured words, all of which lie within the conversational vocabulary of America’s most articulate (as is the case with all of the words featured in my book, The Articulate Professional-3rdEdition”):

1. totemic
2. searing
3. protracted
4. atrophied
5. grandiloquent
6. dragoon

I believe you will absolutely love the word “totemic,” my new favorite word!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Video of a Perfect Handshake; Yes, it’s “Three Pumps” Regardless of Gender!

As emphasized in my previous post on the subject, which featured a clip of Brian Williams shaking hands with the wife of then Republican nominee Mitt Romney, yes, it’s three pumps regardless of gender. 

In my seminars on how to create a highly favorable first impression, how to enhance your executive presence, and other related topics, invariably some participants express incredulity when I tell them that the perfect handshake constitutes three pumps even when it’s a guy shaking hands with a woman. The video clip below shows Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren doing a three-pump handshake with a store employee. (Some may quibble, saying that his is approximately three and a half pumps!) 

© Copyright 2016  V. J. Singal


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

“As if Some Flying Saucer Had Landed on Top of That Tower”; “It Was the Web Equivalent of a 100-Year Flood”--Visual, Evocative Expression to Emphasize Something

Here are some recent examples of highly effective communicators using a vivid, evocative expression while emphasizing something and thus making their assertion indelible--examples which, I hope, will inspire the rest of us into similarly imaginative use of the language, especially when we are trying to break through the clutter.
  • At a memorial service held on August 1 to mark the 50th anniversary of the shooting massacre at UT Austin’s Clock Tower, Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett (who was a student on campus on the day of the shooting) saying: “This massacre, we need to remember, occurred before terms like gun violence, mass shootings, or SWAT teams were even a part of our regular vocabulary. This campus attack was was as unexpected for us in the university community and for our police dept. as if some flying saucer had landed up there on top of that tower.” 
  • Earlier this month, while presenting his “Brief but Spectacular” view of The New Yorker to PBS “NewsHour,” the magazine’s editor David Remnick saying: “...Everybody does his or her job in a moment in time. My moment in time is not only to make the magazine as great as it possibly can be but help us cross this technological and even financial roaring river of change. The Internet is at the center of everybody’s attention... and I have to leave a New Yorker that’s got its soul as well as its technological act together.”
  • (this one from my 2013 archives) Describing the events of Sept. 11, 2001--also known as 9/11--journalist and author Molly Knight Raskin telling PBS “NewsHour”:  “Websites were being swamped and overwhelmed by people desperate to get information on their loved ones...there was a crush of requests; it was the web equivalent of a 100-year flood! In fact, and other well-known news websites crashed that morning.”
© Copyright 2016  V. J. Singal

Monday, August 29, 2016

My Answer to Yesterday’s Quick Quiz

To make sense of this post, you need to first read the previous one, which lays out the context in which NBC reporter Katy Tur mistakenly used vociferously when she meant a similar sounding but completely different word.
There is no question that the word she had in mind was voraciously. And one of the definitions for voracious: exceedingly eager or avid; insatiable. [This sense is from the second edition (1995) of my book “The Articulate® Professional.” Voracious is not featured in the book’s latest edition.]
By substituting voraciously for vociferously, her sentence “You know Donald Trump watches the news and reads headlines about himself voraciously, so it’s no surprise he is going to come out and push back...” makes perfect sense. 
© Copyright 2016  V. J. Singal

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Quick Quiz: Which Word Did NBC Reporter Katy Tur Have in Mind When She Misspoke and Uttered “Vociferously” While Talking About Donald Trump? Another Case of “Synaptic Malfunction”

At the outset, let me state categorically that this post has absolutely no ideological underpinnings. In other words, this “quick quiz” is purely to test your command of the language and it has nothing to do with politics.  

Now to the video clip below. After Katy Tur starts speaking (at about the 13-second mark), you will hear her use the word “vociferously” which is clearly inapplicable in the context. [If you’d like to review the definition of vociferous and a few examples illustrating its use, click here.] 

Can you guess which similar sounding word Tur had in mind? [Hint: the first two characters are “vo”] Tune in to this blog tomorrow--Monday--for the answer 

[Here is a transcript of what you’ll hear from Katy Tur in that August 3, 2016, excerpt: “You know Donald Trump watches the news and reads headlines about himself vociferously, so it’s no surprise he is going to come out and push back...”] 

Incidentally, the above is a case of what I call “synaptic misfire,” just as happened to Senator Cruz a month ago (click here for that quick quiz) and to President Obama during a “60 Minutes” interview about five years ago, when he mistakenly uttered denigrate in place of a similar sounding word. [See the “Quick Quiz” post of May 15,2011.]
© Copyright 2016  V. J. Singal