Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Single Word That Can Markedly Impact a Discussion; Paraphrasing Joan Miro’s famous utterance “I Want To Assassinate Painting”

First, a Very Happy New Year to my readers.

Second, greatly inspired by the Spanish painter Joan Miro’s famous proclamation in 1927 that he was going to “assassinate painting,” (something I learned about only a couple of months ago, while watching a previously recorded CBS “Sunday Morning” segment presented by Rita Braver), I am today launching a new series of posts featuring single words or phrases that can help inject force or vigor into your important statements or arguments during a meeting.

Now, note that in uttering the above statement, Miro meant that he wanted to radically change art and go about it in a militant manner. So, the moment I heard this highly unconventional usage of the verb assassinate, i.e., assassinating a thing instead of a person, it occurred to me that this common word lent itself to forceful speaking during meetings because of its evocativeness and inherent power.

An example of how you could use it: Supposing you are a marketing exec or manager and determined to make wholesale changes in the (dumb?) current strategy / merchandising methods that were implemented before you came on the scene. Well, you could begin your announcement with a smile, saying “To paraphrase the great Spanish painter Joan Miro [pronounced zhoo-AHN mee-ROH], we need to assassinate the current strategy” (or “assassinate the way our products are being merchandised….”).

Indeed, in the six to eight weeks since watching that CBS segment, I have excitedly suggested this usage of assassinate to several of my clients and audiences, and the idea has resonated wildly. Many have reported back triumphantly, saying that they’ve employed it to good effect… that the term has turned heads and been subsequently mouthed by other meeting participants.

Example of its use by an executive at Subsea 7: Here is how this powerful action word was used by one of my clients, Jeremiah Gilbreath--General Manager of Subsea 7’s i-Tech unit, who is constantly trying out fresh verbal expression to make his points penetrating (and also keep the discussion lively when things are getting soporific or droopy)--during a recent meeting to vehemently decry a current practice or mentality and urge change: “We need to assassinate (pregnant pause) the temptation (or assassinate the knee-jerk response) of leaving it to the project managers to sort out...”

Note Jeremiah’s laudable use of the pregnant pause to give emphasis to the word assassinate, thus ensuring that it did not escape anyone’s attention.
© Copyright 2013  V. J. Singal

1 comment:

  1. Prior to public speaking engagements, I review various tips and topics on the Articulate Professional/Verbal Energy website. V.J. Singal's insights are much appreciated!
    Larry Geroge
    Univenture, Inc.