I was thrilled (because I am a word geek) to learn also the following:
- tricolon – sentences or things in groups of three are linguistically impactful (think “good, bad, and ugly“). I have often wondered why catchphrases, mottos, and business methods and abbreviations are typically in threes. I do it all the time myself (my team motto is “science, timeliness, and respect” and my communication framework is “clear, concise, complete“), and it works, but I’ve never known why until now: they are tricolons.
- diacope – close repetition of a word in a sentence. Think “Bond, James Bond.” That’s much more memorable and impactful than “I’m James Bond”.
- synaesthesia - using words that describe one sense (sight or sound) when describing another, or another feeling. One of my favourites is: "a voice that is dark like tinted glass". (John McCrea, Short Skirt Long Jacket lyrics © Stamen Music).
- syllepsis – clever positioning of words to be efficient with verbs. “I was out of coffee and patience.”
I LOVE these little tricks in language, and so loved this book (another syllepsis). There are 51 elements of rhetoric covered here, each with a clear explanation and relevant examples. The purpose is to enable one to recognize these tricks to be able to appreciate the cleverness of the writer, and also to try to consider them (obliquely or deliberately) in one’s own writing or speech. As a singer, these are very useful, as they are everywhere in music and poetry; they help in looking for meaning and phrasing in lyrics, both to understand how/why they work and to be able to sing with meaning.
So, what does this all have to do with project management? (hypophora - a type of rhetorical question.) Good question. (scesis onomaton - a sentence with no main verb.) What is communication? (anacoenosis.) Words, words, words. (epizuxis.)
Knowing and understanding how to use words and phrases for emphasis enhance communication by making important words and phrases memorable. These rhetorical turns of phrase can make the ordinary extraordinary; with just a bit of extra care, our use of language can make our communication clearer (as in more memorable). One has to be careful - be too clever and no one will know what you're talking about - but since of of the best memorable phrases, like the tricolons above, use these various approaches, learning to recognize and then apply them can enhance communication.
The book is thorough, funny, not at all difficult, entirely pedantic, and a great read and resource. When alone, I often read parts out loud, to enjoy hearing the language lilt delightfully (alliteration). If you love words and phrases, check out this book. You might like it; I did. (zeugma.)