Sunday, March 21, 2021

Cut To The Chase (MY Eng #8)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer' and 'apples and oranges'.

Time is precious. Even patience has limits. Now more than ever, especially in this modern fast-paced era, our attention span tends to dwindle in a matter of seconds.

So without further ado, let's 'cut to the chase'.

* * *

Get straight to the point. Don't go around in circles. Speak your mind. Don't beat around the bush (another idiom!).

This rules generally applies to whoever you're talking to. Mom and Dad can sense you're evading and hiding something. Your boss is too busy to indulge in your sob stories. Your examiner grades your exam/assignment answer based on its accuracy, not the word count.

Sure, there are certain occasions where small talk and slow buid-up is necessary. Social courtesy. Cultural norms. Ceremonial protocol. Still, formalistic niceties aside, the rule kicks in once you get into the heart of your message.

* * *

It's important to say what you mean, mean what you say.

Communication should be instantenous and precise to be effective. Misunderstanding is bound to arise when your key message is buried in a thicket of text. And above all, people appreciate honesty and frankness. Especially when you're asking for permission or a favour.

After all, no one likes feeling being duped or misled. You may get away by being sneaky the first time. But word gets around the streest fast, and you'll have a harder time getting people on your feed in future.

In short, follow the KISS rule - keep it short and simple.

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